Sugar is worse than illegal drugs. It is today what LSD was in the 1970’s. I know this because:
1) I was a Director at Psych and Chemical Dependency Hospital; and
2) I am a Foodie who bakes. A lot.
I believe that some people are able to kick their chemical dependencies more easily than their sugar cravings. People wishing to kick their chemical addictions can check themselves into rehab, forcing themselves into a chemical free environment, surrounded by the support of others trying to get clean. They are assigned to therapists and social workers. They get to take advantage of intensive outpatient therapy once they are released from in-patient treatment. There are legal drugs available to curb the physical craving for the chemical of abuse. The addict’s families and friends that love them will be vigilant for signs of relapse. They will attempt to keep them from being in situations where temptation may arise.
Trying to eliminate sugar from your system is much harder. First of all, there aren’t in-patient sugar rehab programs available. The sugar addict cannot place herself into an environment where there is no possible access to sugar. It is sitting on every table at every restaurant. It is consumed openly, and without fear of prosecution by her friends. Deals and exchanges are made in the schoolyard, playgrounds, and slumber parties in every neighborhood in America. Children trade their lollipops for M&M’s in a shameless, defiant disregard for the sugar problem facing society. Worse yet, the support system for a sugar addict in recovery is virtually non-existent. Outside of her circle of fellow dieters, there is no help. Her family and friends offer her sugar for her coffee, and a pecan pie chaser. “Just one slice won’t kill you”, says Aunt Sally. “It’s just one sugar packet”, urges the childhood friend. Pushers and enablers!
I tell you this from personal experience. My name is TexanasKitchen, and I am a bakaholic. Yep, my home is a den full of hopped-up, wild-eyed, sofa-jumping sugar junkies. Children of impressionable age, growing up in a sugar rich environment. They are both junkies and enablers.
Oh yes, I have tried to break us free from these chains. To eliminate the sugary drinks and sweets from the home, but it is impossible. Only milk, tea, and water are made available. I don’t buy softdrinks—I think they are kin to poison, but I keep finding them stashed about the house. In the back of the sock drawer. Behind the washing machine. Like closet alcoholics hiding their stash for later. If I found broccoli stashed away, I would know that it was there to avoid being eaten, not being saved for future use. And it would really, really stink.
This is the time of year when production of sugary goods in my house is at its highest. Plates of fudge, brittle, cookies, cakes being produced daily for the many recipients on my Christmas list. I wish I could say that I don’t touch my own product, but that would be a lie. A cook must test for quality, afterall……Sort of like a recovered alcoholic taking a job as a wine taster.
And forget about saving a plate of cookies for Santa and The Elves. They LIVE here. They eat them almost as fast as I can make them. Sometimes they eat them before I can even get them in the oven, plucking balls of cookie dough from the baking sheets. I usually make twice what I actually need, so that I end up with enough.
This weekend will be a baking frenzy. Ginormous Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Wafers, Snow Balls/Russian Tea Cakes, Sugar Cookies……If the Sugar Police find out, they will lock me away for a long, long time. It’s okay, it’ll be worth it….
Some of my favorites……
Snow Balls Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen
These are rich, buttery, crumbly, melt in your mouth…A very fine crumb. My favorite part is how the double coating of powdered sugar pulls butter out from the still warm cookies, creating a fantastic coating on the exterior.
- 2 cups butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups powdered sugar for coating
Preheat oven to 350*
Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Beat in the vanilla. Mix the ¾ cup powdered sugar, salt and flour together, and then mix into the butter until well combined.
Roll walnut sized pieces of dough into balls, and place them one inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden around the bottoms. Remove and allow to cool for 3 minutes. Place 3 cups powdered sugar into a large bowl. Roll the cookies in powdered sugar and set aside. When completely cool, roll again in powdered sugar. Store in airtight container for a week.
Ginormous Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes 2 dozen 6 inch cookies
- 6 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups softened butter
- 2 egg
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups milk chocolate chunks (because chips are too small for this big cookie)
- 3 oz grated semi sweet chocolate
Pre-Heat oven to 350*
Line baking pans with parchment
Mix flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
Beat butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, until just mixed. Fold in chocolate chunks and grated chocolate. Using a standard ice cream scoop, drop 6 mounds of dough on baking sheet, spaced evenly apart (should be at least 3”). Using your hand, or the buttered bottom of a large glass, flatten the dough to about ½” thick (will be about 3” in diameter). Bake in middle of oven for 12-14 minutes, until they are golden around the edges, and just set in the middle. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks. Repeat with remaining dough.
Grammy’s Chocolate Cookies—adapted from Martha Stewart
These are my very favorite cookies EVER!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder (this is a must)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted, butter room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups sanding sugar or coarse sugar for dipping
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, 2 cups sugar, and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix to combine. Gradually add dry ingredients, and combine with mixer on low-speed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill until dough is firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dip top of each ball into sanding sugar. Place sugar side up on prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until set, about 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve all cookies with big glasses of cold milk.