52 Weeks of Cookies How One Mom Refused to Be Beaten by Her Son’s Deployment Written by: Bobbie Kitto Edited by: Linda Kissam Included in this review, two cookie recipes: Banana Nut Dream Cookies (page 127) & Cranberry-Macadamia Nut Oatmeal Cookies (page 267) At first glance it is hard to reconcile the title, 52 weeks of Cookies, with the actual book. It is not just a cookbook full of cookie recipes, but also one mother’s survival guide through her son’s two deployments to Iraq. Author Maggie McCreath shares all the good and bad times she and her family endured while her son was on deployment. Her unique sense of humor and writing could help others who are going through the same trying times. Maggie has been a baker since childhood even though her day job for over thirty years was in the computer science field. (She graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Computer Science.) Maggie was so in love with baking that it was her go to activity whether she was happy or stressed. She turned this talent into a strong connection between home and her son while he was in Iraq. When he was deployed she developed 52 new and sturdy cookies that could survive the military postal service. (Doesn’t do much good to ship cookies that look like a 500 piece jig saw puzzle when they finally get to recipient). Maggie even gives ideas how to pack and ship these masterpieces with better odds of looking like cookies not puzzle pieces. The book is divided up into Pre-Cookie Weeks (wrestling with the knowledge that your child is going to be deployed), Cookie Weeks, (while you loved one is gone), and Post-Cookie Weeks. Each section is full of great recipes and stories. Two of the recipes that Maggie makes are shown on her video on Melissa’s Produce YouTube I highly suggest that you watch this video since I learned more about cookie making and baking tips in this short video than most of the books I have read over the years. While demonstrating her Banana Nut Dreams (page 127) and her Cranberry-Macadamia Nut Oatmeal cookie (page 267) I learned that in the front of my oven’s door there are letters indicating the placement of my oven racks and how to know when I didn’t measure my brown sugar correctly before the recipe is ruined. Maggie’s true passion for baking makes itself known when she explains that baking is an art form. She encourages the reader to color outside the lines, and if measurements are a little off, go with it. She puts the fun back into baking a batch of cookies. Although this book was given to me free of charge to review, my review was not affected. This is a 5 star book because you get a lot more from this book then 52 new cookie recipes. The writer shares her life experiences so that the reader can see that they have things they can do to help themselves and others through the tough times of separation due to deployment. This book would be a welcomed gift for any mother or new bride faced with a long separation from their loved one. Banana Nut Dream Cookies (page 127) Banana Nut Dream Cookies 1/3 cup shortening 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/3 cup margarine 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 egg 2 1/3 cups flour 1/4 cup buttermilk 1 cup chopped walnuts 1 ripe banana Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together shortening, margarine, brown sugar, granulated. sugar, vanilla, and egg with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add buttermilk and banana. Continue to beat with electric mixer. until well blended. Add baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Continue. to beat with electric mixer for about a minute. With a spoon, mix in flour until well blended. Stir in walnuts. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes. Cranberry-Macadamia Nut Oatmeal Cookies (page 267) Cranberry-Macadamia Nut Oatmeal Cookies 1/2 cup shortening 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup margarine 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 3/4 cup flour 1 teaspoon butternut flavoring 1 cup old-fashioned oats 1 egg 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts 1/2 cup dried cranberries Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together shortening, margarine, brown sugar, granulated. sugar, butternut flavoring, and egg with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Continue. to beat with electric mixer for about a minute. With a spoon, mix in flour until well blended. Stir in macadamia nuts. and dried cranberries. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets. Bake for 12 minutes. # # # Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article, but she did receive a copy of the book to review . Her opinions are her own. To make the best of each recipe, use quality ingredients! I highly recommend products from Melissa’s Produce, available at many markets. 52 Weeks of Cookies $15.89 349 pages.