When you bake cookies, everyone wants to be on your team

Special to Lowcountry LifeAugust 29, 2012 

Participating in physical activities isn't just about staying in shape -- it's also about teamwork.

It was in the late 1960s when members of the faculty of Robert Smalls Junior and Senior high schools began to bowl together.

The Ribaut Lanes, which was segregated, had just opened to the public. Cherly Lopakta, a teacher at Robert Smalls Junior High, thought bowling would be a good way for staff members to work together and demonstrate teamwork for students.

For many, this began their lives as bowlers.

My husband, a teacher at Robert Smalls, began with the Monday league. He did well and thought this would be an ideal sport for me, as well.

Robert Lee Washington, a former student of my husband's and a bowler, was recruited to be my tutor. He taught me well, and I began to bowl, complete with my own shoes and ball.

This was an enjoyable night out for us. Sometimes I could not be found when it was my turn. I seemed to enjoy the people more than the sport. Then, it got in the way of chores and our children, so I became a dropout. My husband stayed in the sport, traveling and winning state and national trophies. He has bowled for more than four decades.

One year around Christmastime while I was baking, my husband asked whether he could give some cookies to the members of the teams with whom he bowled. Thus began our tradition of sharing cookies from the Faulkner household with bowlers on my husband's teams.

Each year, there were different cookies. Sometimes I would receive calls of thanks. But the one message that really stands out was from a bowler on another team. He wanted to know where his cookies were. I am told that the following year, he was sure to sign up on a team that meant he would be in line for my cookies.

It was a sad day for area bowlers when Ribaut Lanes closed. It was about more than just throwing the ball down the lane, hoping and wishing for a strike. It was about the smiling faces of friends, sharing good times ... and cookies.

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl.

Cream together the butter and the sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, and beat well with the mixer on low speed.

Stir in the chocolate chips and half of the hazelnuts.

Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto greased baking sheets to form -inch mounds. Flatten each cookie lightly with a wet fork. Sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts on top of the cookies and press lightly into the surface.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden.

Coconut Macaroons

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups dried coconut

2/3 cup condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with waxed paper, and grease the paper. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Stir in the coconut. Pour in the condensed milk. Add the vanilla extract, and stir together from the center. Continue stirring until a very thick batter is formed.

Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Granola Cookies

Makes: 18 cookies

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 egg

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

2 cups granola

1/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. Put the butter or margarine in a bowl. With an electric mixer, cream the butter or margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the peanut butter. Beat in the egg.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt over the peanut butter mixture, and stir to blend.

Stir in the granola, raisins and walnuts. Taste the mixture to see whether it needs more sugar.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Press gently with the back of a spoon to spread each mound into a circle.

Bake for about 15 minutes.

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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