Friday, April 2, 2010

Sorghum Cookies and Family Traditions

I look forward to October for several reasons. The first is that, of course, my birthday happens to land in this wonderfully comfortable month, so I might be ever-so biased. Secondly, October represents the beginning of Georgia's yearly cooling-off period. The leaves begin to turn and the nights begin to cool down to a bearable pattern where you can take a deep breath without being drowned by Georgia's famous humidity. The third, which also leads to the tastiest reason, is my weekend getaway with some of my favorite women in my life. My mother, sister, and I make our annual trip to Whitwell, Tennessee, home to the most wonderful arts and crafts festivals around, a.k.a. the Ketner's Mill Fair. Getting to have girl time is a pretty rare thing for me, being surrounded by boys all the time, so I cherish every moment.

I love fall festivals in general, but this one has all the rest beat, at least in my opinion. I can't go to this fair without purchasing tasty treats and jarred perfection. When we leave, my loot generally includes a huge jar of Sorghum (or two), some actually prepared on site (mules and all), a few different types of honey (gotta love the local honey), several types of preserves and jellies, and a few other trinkets and treasures I just couldn't live without. I figure since this is a once-a-year kind of thing, I've got to stock up while I can.

I also love the time I get to spend with my mother and my sister. My niece generally tags along as well, but since she's a girl and all, we don't mind. All other children are left with the men in our lives, to get the most out of our girl's weekend. This year I"m hoping there will be a new addition to our 'Crew'. My sister and her husband have finally been given the joy of helping raise my brother-in-law's first daughter, who is eleven years old. She will make a great addition to our little gathering of women. To think of it, she's the next generation, so hopefully she will help carry on this wonderful family tradition.

The highlights of the fair are of course the jars of exquisiteness I purchase (which have to last me a whole year), but also the apple fritters, the spiral-cut potatoes, the blue-grass music, and the general atmosphere. On the way home (if we hadn't done so before we arrive), we generally stop at several year-end yard sales collecting other people's unloved items that will become treasures to us. This just so happens to be my favorite gathering of the year and one of the events I look forward to all year long.

With all that said, I've decided to share the most wonderful outcome of the Ketner's Mill Fair (other than my ever-growing relationship with the women in my life); my sorghum cookies! Without said festival I would have never thought to make such yumminness, and I wouldn't be able to share them with you.

With every scrumptious batch I make I think of my mother, my sister, my niece, and all the great times we've had going to the fair and enjoying each others' company. They remind me of fall and its ability to cool down and overheated South and they remind me of the goodness that comes from hard work and perfections. (Sorghum has got to be one of the nectars of the gods, honey of course landing in spot number one). I hope you enjoy my cookies as much as my family and I do, and I seriously think that my husband and son would complain more about our annual girl's trip if I didn't bring home the goodness to make these awesome cookies! I make up my weekend-absence with warm, soft sweetness.

Yummy Sorghum Cookies:

-Preheat oven to 350, grease cookie sheets, (position rack in upper third of oven)

Whisk together thoroughly:
3 3/4 cp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves (if I don't have any ground cloves, I grind whole ones in the coffee grinder)
1/4 tsp salt

Beat on Medium: (until fluffy and well-blended)
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 2/3 cup sugar

Add: (beat until well-combined)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sorghum
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp finely-grated lemon zest

Stir flour mixture into sorghum mixture, until blended and smooth. Pull off pieces of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Roll cookies in a cinnamon/sugar mixture. Space cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Press each cookie down slightly with a fork (I do two ways for a criss-cross look). Bake 10-13 minutes (rotate cookie sheet halfway through cooking for even cooking). Once cookies are baked remove cookie sheet from oven and let sit for a bit before transferring the cookies to a cookie rack. (this allows the cookies to harden a bit.)

*I've decided to post this recipe now because I plan on making this wonderful recipe for the easter-egg hunt/picnic on Saturday. I can't wait to share these wonderful cookies with my church family! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do :)