Cookies for Kids: Cherry Winks
Holidays in our house were always heralded with a batch of Cherry Winks, cookies that somehow combined elements that were “good for us” (raisins, dates, walnuts, and even our breakfast corn flakes) into cool cookies for kids, delicately sweet, chewy, and topped with a big fat maraschino cherry. They were a favorite of my sister, Diane, and our mom, Dorothy, who’d found the healthy-cookie recipe on the back of a cereal box, and who never forgot to make them, especially for Diane. And Dot never neglected to invite us into the kitchen to help, with the promise that we’d get to sample the sweet dough along the way. (We’re still eating raw dough, and not making any excuses for it.)
Mom never “taught” us kids to bake; she just gave us parts of the recipe to work on—crushing the corn flakes, beating the eggs and milk together (sure, every once in a while we’d pull the beaters out of the bowl just to watch the splatter; Dot always gave us a second chance). And she’d usually take part of the dough and shape up some special cookie or two that had extra cherries or dates (whichever element we loved best) that were made just for each of us. Baking, for us, became something that spoke individually to the people we loved.
Dot died four years ago, and we miss her more than we can say. But Diane has kept the Cherry Winks baking at her house, when her own kids were growing up, and now baking with her grandchildren, Zack and Katy, standing by her side, crushing the flakes, and stirring up the dough, splattering the batter and by turns cracking up at the mess they’ve made and proud that they’ve somehow put something together that’s turned into an actual cookie. (And I’m still angling for the raw dough, and to “clean” the mixing bowls.)
As we gathered around our Christmas Eve buffet this year, as we always do, among the laughter and the stories told, as each person reached for a Cherry Wink it provoked a memory of the first time they’d tasted them, the first time they’d baked them, and of the mother and grandmother who shared the love and encouraged us to pass it on. Thanks, Dot.
Try this classic Cherry Winks recipe!
Read Kellie Strickland’s posts on creating fun kids’ snacks meals!