The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, March 21st 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman
A recipe for Margaret, in memory…
My dear friend Margaret Fowler passed away recently just a couple of months shy of her 98th Birthday. Her and her family really became my family over the years. There are so many good memories I can look back and remember with Margaret. I first met Margaret when Grandma Barbra was at Glen Oaks several years ago and I noticed her sitting in the dining room, eating little packets of sugar that Glen Oaks had out in their coffee service. I thought to myself – now there is somebody I would like to be friends with. Ha! I started taking Margaret some of my baked goods and that is how our friendship started. She loved my baked goods – especially my peanut butter cookies, snickerdoodles and my brownies. We would always have “teatime” together with my Mom, Darla and Grandma Deloris. She would most usually have a glass of Coke, a cup of coffee and a piece of fried chicken and a honeybun. We would walk around the hallways together and sit and talk and laugh for hours. I’ll never forget one day she looked at me and said, “You know, I just think I’ll claim you as my boyfriend!” She was so shocked when I brought in a huge diamond paperweight for her “ring”. She wore it around her neck on a necklace for weeks. She absolutely loved it. If she didn’t have the ring, I bought her with her, she would always carry our picture I had framed, to show off to people. One of the CNA’s at Glen Oaks told me that she would sit it up in front of her at almost every meal – like she wanted to be sure I would “join her” at every meal. I always thought that was so sweet.
I was fortunate enough to write about her and dedicate a couple of recipes to her in this very column. She was always so thrilled to see herself in the newspaper. Her mouth would drop open when I would show her, and she would say “Oh my… that’s me!” Margaret and her family helped me through a lot of hard times. When Grandma Deloris found out she was getting a roommate at Glen Oaks, we weren’t sure what to think! During the meeting they said it would be Margaret Fowler. I nearly fell out of my chair! I said – I know her! Margaret and her family really helped my Grandma Deloris in transitioning into a full-time life at Glen Oaks. We will never be able to repay them for their kindness and friendship. Margaret was such a wise woman. I loved hearing the stories from her life that she shared with me over coffee and candy. She would talk about working in the garden when she was younger and some of life’s storms she had battled through. She was always there to listen and offer a wise word for me. Don’t worry about things – she would say – worrying doesn’t change a thing. She knew I worried a lot. She would also always tell me life is what you make it and she would talk about how God is and will always be in control of the situation – no matter when and no matter where. She loved her family so much. Even on her roughest days – you could see behind her eyes that she deep down loved her family and knew how much they loved her. I’ll miss her laugh and her smile. Thank you, Margaret, for touching my life – and the lives of my family. Thank you to Margaret’s family. You all mean so much to my family and I. Thank you for including us into your family and thank you for taking in our love and friendship. She loved each one of you so very much. It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of your lives. Rest in Peace Margaret, you’ll be missed.
Margaret’s Cinnamon Peanut Butter Cookies
This dough is best made and baked the same day. If you are not a fan of ground cinnamon, simply leave out the cinnamon from the cookie dough and roll the cookie dough simply in white granulated sugar before baking. Keep any leftover cookies in a sealed container, at room temperature, for up to three days.
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup white granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup smooth peanut butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¾ cup white all-purpose flour
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the vegetable shortening, white granulated sugar, light brown sugar and smooth peanut butter until combined and creamy.
Next, add in the large egg, whole milk, pure vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Stir to combine.
Finally, stir in the salt, baking soda and white all-purpose flour.
In a separate bowl combine ¼ cup white granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.
Roll the dough into rough tablespoon size balls, and roll them into the cinnamon sugar mixture, before placing them on the parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for exactly 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet before removing.
Ask and Answer: Several people reached out wondering more about the caramel frosting recipe that I shared in my previous column from Grandpa Jr. You can change the flavor a little if you would like of the frosting. Grandpa Jr said that if you would like to experiment with the frosting in his recipe, add a little maple flavoring or maple extract in place of the vanilla extract. The maple flavoring will give the caramel frosting a richer and deeper overall flavor. People also wondered if you could cook the frosting a little longer for a “harder cracked” frosting. Yes, just be sure to watch the caramel and make sure that it doesn’t burn or start to crystalize.