Remembrance Day Cookies
On this day a year ago, we lost our best friend and first road dog, Butter. It's been a strange year without her-- all of us adapting in ways to compensate for the gap in our family circle. Just a couple weeks ago, on October 20th, we celebrated what would have been Butter's 9th birthday. We took a long morning hike and remembered what it was like to have two dogs to trip over, and delighted in Puddle's unabashed happiness at being off leash in the cool weather.
I deliberated whether I wanted to mark her Death Day-- it seems less morbid to keep her birthday sacred. But what the heart wants to forget, the brain seems to persist remembering. So, we decided to let the memories flood us, mark the time, and eat some cookies to take the edge off.
If you've seen Pixar's Coco, we probably don't need to tell you much about The Day of the Dead-- or in Wiccan tradition, Samhain, or Remembrance Day. Latin American countries and pagans aren't the only ones who celebrate this October 31st/November 1st holiday-- a holiday that marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the coldest time of year. Some folks choose to spend Dia de los Muertos lighting candles and cooking their loved ones' favorite dish. Some choose to spend it alone. Some gather together and share memories.
Since Butter loved eating dog food and peanut butter and her own poop, we thought we would omit the "eat-what-they-loved" tradition in favor of a modern recipe Mallory found in one of her magazines (thanks, Bust!). We've adapted it to be vegan and gluten free. Traditionally, you would cut the batch in half, leaving half out on October 31st til the morning of November 1st for your dead, and keep the other half for yourself. We chose, instead, to make half in the dog bone shape that Butter loved and the other half in circles. And we also chose to eat them all (and share them). Because if there's one thing that Butter hated, it was wasting food. Though we did leave one beside a tealight for the duration of its burning-- just in case Butter needed a little help smelling the love wafting up to her.
Rosemary is an herb that is used to aid memory, or to conjure memory. The rosemary in this recipe was a gift from our good friend, Bryan, who picked it for us last summer from his garden. We dried it, and could not think of a more special source for these remembrance cookies. We baked them together-- even Puddle-- in some friends' warm kitchen with some cool November air coming through the window. This was Butter's favorite weather, and some of her favorite places to run in the country. We were lucky to have her for the time we did, and we are lucky to be the ones remembering her, too.
Remembrance Day Cookies
1 - 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c coconut oil (or vegan butter), scant
1 flax egg (1 TBSP flax meal + 3 TBSP water, soaked 5 minutes)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
1 - 1/2 TBSP chopped rosemary
2 - 1/2 c gluten free flour blend (Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 if preferable)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
1. Think of the loved one you want to remember. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat together sugar, oil, egg, extracts, and rosemary until creamy.
3. Sift together remaining dry ingredients. Slowly fold dry ingredients into sugar mixture, half a cup at a time. Dough should not be sticky, and easy to handle.
4. Roll out dough on flat surface, about 1/4-1/2" thick. Dough shouldn't stick, but if it does, sprinkle a bit of flour or put down a piece of parchment paper to roll on to.
5. With a small cup, mason jar, or round cookie cutter, press into the dough to form cookies, placing on an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart from each other. You may experiment with different shapes that remind you of the one you are remembering (we chose a dog bone for Butter).
6. Bake for 8 minutes. Cookies will fluff up, but not brown. Remove and let cool 10 minutes before plating.
7. Place some out for the dead, and some for the living. Or, eat them all together to remember that we are not so far apart.