Fox Valley Cooks: Aurora baker shares oven’s bounty
By Judy Buchenot email@example.com August 22, 2012 3:40PM
Gladie Brummel, 78, of Aurora prepares cookies to take to friends and shut-ins. | Judy Buchenot~For The Beacon-News
Drop Kolochy Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 pound butter
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
12-ounce can pastry and cake filling
Cream sugar and butter together. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Blend in flour. Drop by small balls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make a small well in the middle with your thumb and fill with pastry filling. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar over cookies while still hot. Makes 60 cookies.
Updated: September 12, 2012 4:03PM
Gladie Brummel stood at her kitchen table carefully dividing batches of cookies onto paper plates. Each plate held several varieties of cookies from a thick shortbread spread with chocolate sprinkled with nuts to tiny round butter puffs topped with fruit filling.
At least twice a month, Brummel pulls out the cookie sheets to make multiple batches of cookies that she gives away to widows, elderly friends and nursing home residents.
“It isn’t anything hard to do,” says the 78-year-old longtime Aurora resident, referring to the uniformly shaped cookies that have been baked, frosted and decorated with precision. “It’s just something I do because I love to bake, and my friends love to get cookies.”
On days she doesn’t make cookies, Brummel enjoys baking other goodies, including her moist banana bread that requires 10 bananas or her coconut cream pie that is often a gift for her hairdresser. Her baking is truly a labor of love since she gives away most everything she bakes. Many of the recipients of her goodies are friends she has made through her 62 years of involvement with the Catholic Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit insurance society whose members perform charitable acts.
“The Foresters is my life,” Brummel says. “I used to make lunches for the meetings but now I just bake for people.”
Although she calls her work “just baking,” Brummel is accomplished in the kitchen. One of her secrets is using “good quality butter” in her cookie recipes. To keep cookies a uniform size, she uses a mini ice-cream scooper. Keeping the cookies the same size allows them to all finish baking at the same time. Timers are also part of her baking routine, so that nothing is left unattended in the oven. Brummel prefers to use cake and pastry filling instead of jam in her filled cookies.
“Jams and jellies are too runny when they heat up,” she says.
She also likes to vary her recipes by adding ingredients. For example, her oatmeal cookies might include coconut, macadamia nuts or chocolate candies depending on her mood and what is in the pantry.
“You shouldn’t be afraid to try adding something new to a recipe,” she notes.
Since she likes to make just a few batches a day, Brummel freezes cookies to keep them fresh. She layers cookies into plastic containers with sheets of nonstick foil between them before placing the cookies in the freezer. When she has several batches finished, she thaws the cookies to give away. She says the only hard part is controlling the urge to eat them.
“It ain’t easy,” she admits. “When I see a cookie, I want to eat it. But I have become pretty good at limiting myself.”
At Christmas time, Brummel heats up her kitchen making dozens of carefully decorated sugar cookies using 100-year-old cookie cutters that have been handed down to her.
“They love my sugar cookies,” she says referring to her two daughters, their husbands and her four grandchildren. “When my granddaughter got married, she asked me to make sugar cookies. I made 300 cookies, and they were gone before the wedding cake.”
Brummel shares one of her favorite cookie recipes. She says the Drop Kolochy Cookies are a favorite among her friends and are easy to make.
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