Sunday, March 25, 2012

Browned butter cinnamon cookies

I'm obsessed with cartoons.   Snoopy, Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and even Tom and Jerry were formidable influences upon my emotional and psychic development.  However, Little Archie comics always left me cold. I remember going to a birthday party as a prepubescent with a Little Archie theme, and all of the prizes were Archie comics, and I just didn't 'get' them.  I think it's because of the Betty versus Veronica problem.

You see, according to stereotypical cultural dictates, all women are supposed to be 'Bettys' or 'Veronicas.'  Betty is the all-American girl.  Blonde, wholesome, clean-cut.  As American and pleasing as apple pie.  Veronica is complex.  Wealthy, remote, difficult to please. Spoiled, difficult to stomach, yet intoxicating as a glass of expensive wine.

I'm a brunette and there is no one with hair or a complexion less suited for blonde highlights, much less a platinum coiffure. I like the theater and movies with subtitles. I'll tell you what I think rather than what you want to hear. And I'm standoffish, a loner by nature.  Happily single.

On the other hand, I'm always the girl with the stain on her shirt, who doesn't understand the point of wearing makeup to work out, and who is more adept at quoting Blackadder and discussing NCAA bracketology than keeping track of how short hemlines should be this season.

My inability to fit into either stereotypical category is supported by how I straddle the line with other commonly paired feminine ideals.

In Chicago, Velma is a cool, distant, tall drink-of water.  A murderous flapper with a heart of ice and a voice of pure smoke.  Roxie is scrappy, scrambling for fame and attention. A trashy, sexy blonde.  Now, I have been told that I create the impression of being classy, but fundamentally I am no Velma because even if I were rich, I'd just be wearing more expensive jeans that made my butt look better.  And I have freakishly short legs and arms.  Porpoise arms.

I guess in the 'Ginger versus Mary Ann' debate, I am more of a Mary Ann, based upon my name, brown hair, and my allergy to false eyelashes and rollers. But that's really because when I watched Gilligan's Island when I was a preschooler, I had a crush on the Professor, who loved Mary Ann.  An intellectual man with no practical skills.  Clearly, that trash 70s TV series ruined me for life in terms of picking a future mate....

I've always felt that even on a crass and stereotypical level there needs to be a middle ground between Betty and Veronica, but I guess the fact that most women (perhaps most people) are a bit of both is why the stereotype is so powerful.  One or two people seem to slip into the Betty/Veronica roles quite easily (I've met one or two women who have said, quite directly: "I am so Betty," or "I am Veronica) but most people secretly feel that there is some lack of harmony between the complete nature of their character and the cartoon-like cultural ideals...

I'm not sure there is a similar dichotomies of male romantic ideals.  Perhaps Richie and Fonzie (the nice boy versus the cool, bad boy)? Or Shelley versus Byron? 

Shelley--intellectual, spiritual, vegetarian, effete. A serial monogamist.  Killed when a gust of wind blew over his boat.  Byron--angry, passionate, inclined to have sex with anything that moved (male or female), swam the Hellespont. Chronic over-eater, over-drinker and dieter.  Killed fighting for Greek independence.

Anyway, in most ways, these cookies are totally Bettys. They make use of cinnamon, which is a very wholesome spice.  The browned butter adds a little sophistication but overall, although these aren't traditional chocolate chip cookies or Snickerdoodles, they would totally not be out of place at a bake sale at Riverdale High School, taste-wise. They're mainly Betty, with a little bit of Veronica thrown in, which is what I suspect that most of us are, deep down inside...male or female...


Browned Butter Cinnamon Cookies

-yields approximately 36 cookies-


1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
Milk (if needed)

Powdered sugar for rolling
1. 'Brown the butter' by heating the butter in a saucepan at low-to-medium heat, until the butter begins to bubble and foam.  Cool for at least a half an hour, or until the butter has re-solidified.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Cream the butter and the sugar.  Fold in the yolk. Sift the cinnamon and the flour together, then spoon the dry mixture into the wet. If the dough is sandy, you can add a tablespoon of water or milk until it has a cookie dough consistency.
3.  Scoop dough into rounded balls on a cookie sheet. Chill for 15 minutes or slightly longer if you needed to add liquid to make the dough come together.

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies look puffy and 'cracked.'  Cool for 1-2 minutes, then sprinkle powdered sugar on the surface.


  1. I don't think I ever considered which of the Betty/Veronica or Ginger/Mary Ann images was closest to my own. Though if we're talking Mary/Rhoda, I know that I'm much closer to being a Rhoda. I have Mary's non-confrontational nature, but Rhoda's everything else. More often than not, it's an inconvenient combination of traits.

  2. @flurrious--after I posted, I remembered the 'Mary/Rhoda' thing, which is also often touted as a female 'personality test.' I have to say, though, since I really liked Mary and identified with her as a kid (her love of journalism, her name, and her independence) I didn't see her necessarily as the antithesis to Rhoda (who I also liked, especially her scarf). I can be confrontational, but usually only in situations where it doesn't help me much.

    @The Blonde Duck--you are a TOTAL Betty!

  3. Okay, I'm putting these on the list.

  4. @Anna--I am so honored! (Trembles with unworthiness before the Great Cookie Madness).

  5. Appreciate your tips on brushing the teeth for Chihuahuas....they told us we were just SOL....

  6. @Blonde Duck--yes, they are a surprisingly hearty breed, though, other than the teeth 'thing'...other breeds are afflicted with many more health problems...