Memorial Day meant going to my grandparents for a picnic...that was their day since 4th of July was my mother's. My grandfather built a brick barbeque under the sycamore tree and set up a long table to fit our big family nearby. He also built a wonderful swing/glider that I could just sit on for what seemed like eternity sometimes. Meanwhile, my grandmother (and mother) would be making all the side dishes and desserts and we couldn't wait to sit down and hear stories my grandparents would tell about family.
As much as Memorial Day was about remembering those that served in the military, for us, it was also remembering our ancestors and getting to know them through their stories. I never got to meet my great-grandmothers, my paternal great-grandfather, or countless other family members that passed before I was born, so these stories became an important part of my life.
The cookies I created today symbolizes the colors of our flag and the strengths that as Americans we muster, in spite of tragedy and loss. And, we will remember, cherish, and honor all those loved ones we've lost.
Red ~ White & Blue Cookies
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
- 16 oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained, chopped and patted dry ~ 1/2 tsp. Cherry flavoring & 4-5 drops of red food coloring
- 1 cup dried blueberries, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained ~ 1/2 tsp. Blackberry flavoring and 4-5 drops of blue food coloring
- 1 cup chopped white chocolate
- 3/4 cup sweetened coconut
Transfer dough to a pastry board, covered with parchment paper and form into a roll to easily divide.
- Start with the chopped white chocolate and coconut into 1/3 of the dough and mix in the stand mixer, remove dough.
- Next, add another 1/3 piece and the drained blueberries, food coloring and flavoring (optional) and mix on low. Add and additional 1 tablespoon of flour and stir into the dough. Remove from the mixing bowl and clean both the bowl and paddle to keep from mixing colors when you add the next third.
- Finally, add the drained, chopped cherries, flavoring and food coloring and mix. Add 1 tablespoon of flour to this dough also.
Divide each of the balls of dough in half to form the "logs."
Set halves aside and cover the board with a sheet of plastic wrap. Start with the Cherry layer and form a log, then, flatten with you finger tips.
Form the White Chocolate/Coconut layer on the board (it's firmer than the other two layers) and lay on top of the Cherry layer. Repeat with the Blueberry layer on top of the white.
Wrap the plastic wrap tightly and use a bench knife to smooth the sides to form a rectangular roll. Repeat layering for a second log.
Refrigerate several hours or overnight to chill and set the layers. Preheat oven to 350F-degrees and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and use a serrated knife to cut 1/4"-slices.
Bake 12 to 13 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to set 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a rack to cool completely.
Not only are these cookies flavorful, but very patriotic. I know my family would eat them by "sections" enjoying every flavor on its own. Enjoy!
One of my favorite songs by Sarah McLaughlin sets the theme of what Memorial Day means to me. In loving memory of the all the victims and their families of the Boston bombings and Oklahoma tornado--you won't be forgotten, XOXO