Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day & Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our Memorial Day picnics were always held at my maternal grandparent's home, more specifically, their backyard.  My grandfather had built a brick barbeque just so he could cook the hot dogs and hamburgers, while my mother and grandmother made all the side dishes and desserts.  These picnics were the first place I ever had (and probably allowed) soda and my choice was Cream Soda, although they made sure there was an assortment.  The food was delicious, as usual and I loved to listen to the stories from my dad and grandfather about the military.  One of my favorites, is that during WWII, my grandfather was asked to come back to the Marines and be the Pay Master (he fought in WWI) stationed in Washington, D.C.  He told of evenings, playing poker with Vice President Harry S. Truman at the White House--they were both from Missouri and apparently both liked poker:-D

As much as we looked forward to these picnics, we never forgot it was a day to remember All the men and women who served in the military.  In my family, this includes my great-grandfather, who was assigned to the U.S.S. Constitution (and received a medal that has been passed down to the "first son"), to both my grandfathers--one in the Navy, the other in the Marines, my Dad, my uncles, three of my brothers, and two nephews who have felt it was their duty and honor to serve our country.  And, for that, I thankful and blessed.
Seaman William Joseph Tierney Jr.

Me and My Day in Millington, Tennessee
 Now, I don't remember making chocolate chip cookies, much less shortbread, for the picnic, but there were plenty of pies and cakes.  I came up with this recipe when I was in California (about 30 years ago) for a cookie that I could ship to my Dad in the care packages I sent him.  I continued with care packages to my daughters in college and a few years ago, discovered they stayed just as fresh when I shipped them to a friend who was serving in Afghanistan.  The recipe makes about 5 dozen and made him very popular in his unit when the cookies arrived!  I'm making these today and sharing the recipe because one of my dear friends and colleague's son is being deployed in about 8 days to Afghanistan and I will make sure, once he's settled, I will send him some as well--freshly made;-D.  (Eileen Hull is a talented, licensed artist with Ellison and you've seen her dies that I've used with the projects I've shared on my blog.)
Chris and his daughter--Photo shared from Eileen's Facebook entry 

Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract + 2 Vanilla Beans, split and scraped
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
4 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 12oz pkg. Mini Chocolate Chips
Additional confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat oven 350F-degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter thoroughly.  Scrape down the sides and add the confectioners' sugar on low don't want to be wearing it.

Add the Vanilla extract and seeds and the salt and beat once more.  Add the flour, half at a time, on low speed again.  When all the flour has been combined, add the chocolate chips.

Measure about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball.  Use a fork to make criss-cross marks and flatten the dough slightly.  

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.  

Let cool a few minutes, then transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.  Dust with confectioners' sugar to finish them.  Makes 5 dozen 2-inch cookies.

On this Memorial Day weekend, while you're enjoying your picnics, set some time aside to remember all the men and women who have served, especially those who have given their lives, and all of their families--it is why we enjoy the freedoms we hold so dear. Enjoy!


  1. Sounds like a yummy recipe - great photos!

  2. I wish I had this recipe while my brother was in Iraq. It sounds great. I never thought about shortbread staying fresh. Bless you heart for sending them over. Thank you for sharing about your family's service to our country.

  3. Hello Susan...Thank you for your sharing your story today. I plan on getting up early Saturday morning to visit a cemetery in a small community called Dubina. They should have the flags up by the time I arrive. If all goes well, I will post my photos for Memorial Day in honor of our military. So, your grandfather played poker with Vice President Truman....I would loved to have been a fly on that wall! He was one of my favorite presidents.

  4. Meggie, Just between you and me, he "borrowed" a couple of sandwich plates that never got returned after the poker games! My mother gave each one of my girls one as a keepsake. As the rest of the story goes, he wanted to make my grandfather Postmaster General when he became President, but all my grandfather wanted to do was work their farm--President Truman understood:-D

    1. What an amazing heritage Susan! As my Mother used to say -"You are from good stock." Thank you for another lovely look at your life!
      I salute and remember all the men and women who have served our great country!
      Martha Ellen

  5. Lovely memories and stories - all woven in and around your Memorial Day celebrations. I had to chuckle when I read the story of the sandwich plates! I love it. Memorial Day, honouring the military - very emotional and so important. I feel a lump in my throat as I type.

    On a lighter note, next week we will be marking our Queen's Jubilee with picnics and celebrations. Our village is holding a 'big' (we are a tiny village) picnic on our under-used village green. These cookies are going to be part of the food I will take along to share, I think they will be very popular. Thank you.x

  6. Thank you Susan for another lovely look at your life! As my Mama used to say--"You are from good stock."
    I'm remembering all the men and women who have so unselfishly served our country!
    Martha Ellen

  7. Susan you are so kind to offer to bake cookies for Chris- he will be the most popular guy in the unit! This recipe looks delicious- might have to try that one- good to know they last well. I so appreciate your kind thoughts for Chris and our family during this time!

  8. Love these stories of military folks...My dad is retired Army so the men and women who serve hold a special place in my heart. And, as I'm ALL out of cookies in the freezer, I think it's time to restock and these looks soooo good and soooo right for summer. Much love, me

  9. I can personally attest - these are fantastic...amazing and wonderful!

    YOU ROCK! And man - these look so easy to make....