Thirteen years ago, my husband asked me to marry him. It was a sweats and T-shirt kind of night, at home, baking eggnog cookies for the first time. We opened a few gifts. I thought from the size of the box that I was getting a sewing machine. I didn't. Instead I got a suitcase with an offer for a lifetime journey, fully equipped with a traveling partner who would require my complete trust. I was taken by surprise. We had never discussed marriage, and for once in my romantic life, I was actually happy enough that I didn't care whether we made it official. It took me a little while to absorb the shock, but I said yes. It didn't occur to me to say anything else.
We've weathered many storms together in this journey, some of our own making, others not. And yet, I have never once thought "this will be the storm that separates us." There is a certain comfort in that knowledge and I have a deep respect for the resilience that love brings. In so many ways, my husband brought me to life. It's hard now to imagine a life that he wasn't a part of.
Every time I make these cookies it's more than just a memory, more than just a cookie. It's a way of saying "yes" over and over again, reaching across any divide and taking his hand once more. "Yes, I will go with you". I make these cookies to remind us, to give us a fleeting glimpse of who we were, to bring us fully into the present where we see each other now, as we are, as we've become.
These are my husband's favorite cookies and he looks forward to them every year. As for myself, I can't imagine not making them for decades to come, just as I can't imagine never having accepted this journey, this partner, this particular love.
(makes 18 large or 36 small cookies)
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned in cup, then leveled off)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets with vegetable oil cooking spray or solid shortening.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and the nutmeg in a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer at high speed until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add the butter, rum extract, and cream. Mix at low speed until thoroughly blended. Increase the speed to high and mix for 15 seconds more. Add the flour mixture, beating just to incorporate.
Drop by the tablespoonful onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until light golden and firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and transfer to wire racks. While cookies are still warm, frost them with Brandy Frosting and grate fresh nutmeg over the top.
In a bowl, soften 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature with an electric mixer at low speed. Sift in 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brandy (I use E&J, which is inexpensive and usually available in small bottles), and beat until smooth.