Monday, July 25, 2011

Charlotte's Zucchini Cookies

Few memories are as ingrained in my childhood as strongly as my neighbor, Charlotte. Or perhaps more appropriately her famous zucchini cookies.

Right after my parents split up we moved in with the man who would eventually become my stepdad. It wasn’t long before we got to know all of the neighbors in the cul-de-sac. Well, all but one, but that’s because they were, well, crotchety stuck up snobs who thought they were better than everyone else. They also lived right next door to Charlotte, who was anything but and also our first sitter from the neighborhood.

Charlotte was one of those people who always had an ear to lend, a hug to give, and a knack for teaching people how to play Parcheesi. And it seemed like summer and fall would bring what I thought was an endless supply of her zucchini cookies. I distinctly remember initially being put off by the thought of zucchini in cookies, but the word cookie took greater priority as a kid and so I tried them anyway. Soft, chewy and muffin-like, they were delicious.

While I’m sure Charlotte is no longer with us, and I’m sure her recipe for zucchini cookies may be as well, I still think you should try to make a batch yourself. Especially with all that zucchini growing in the garden this time of year!

Cory’s Zucchini Cookies (Inspired by Charlotte)

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 small or 1 medium zucchini, grated
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, mix in the egg followed by the zucchini (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups.) In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. If using salted butter, you can either omit or leave the salt in. Personally, I leave it in. Stir in the flour mixture once the zucchini is incorporated into the butter mixture. Cover bowl and refrigerate for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a two tablespoon ice cream scoop or two spoons, drop cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. It may be a minute or two longer or shorter on either side depending on your oven. Basically bake until you see the edges of the cookies start to brown. The tops may not look done, but they will continue to cook. Let rest on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool, which fortunately only takes about ten minutes.

You can add all sorts of things to these cookies, from raisins and walnuts to chocolate chips, but personally I like them without. However, like all recipes, experiment, have fun, and make it your own!

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