Everything Old is New Again

Sunday, January 18, 2015
We spent a couple of days with our friends, the Jay family, at their cottage over the Christmas holidays. Unlike last summer, this visit didn't involve an unusually early wake-up call. (Perhaps I was the only one nostalgic for that 5:30 am visit.) But it did involve stone soup made by nine chefs, and our annual trip to the toboggan hill near their place.

In all the years we've been friends, we've never had a photo of all nine of us. But this time, we ran into one of their neighbours while tobogganing, and he offered to take our picture. Our girls, now between 14 and 20, have grown up together despite living most of their lives in different countries. We're grateful that we see as much of them as we do.


I've written before about the traditions we share with the Jays. One more tradition is that we always bring a wedge of Chateau de Bourgogne, a triple cream Brie that, they tell us, is as good as anything they buy in Switzerland. And I always take baking, usually cookies.

I hadn't made these cookies in years. I remember taking them in when I was still working at the bank (over fifteen years ago), and being asked for the recipe. Then inexplicably, the recipe went missing. I searched through my cookbooks, I searched online. Even though I got it from Bon Appetit, it wasn't on their website. For many years, I had nothing but the memory of these cookies.

Over the holidays I found a stash of old magazines in my basement. And near the bottom of the pile was the November 1992 issue that introduced me to this recipe. It was like I was destined to bake them and bring them to the Jays'. I cut back on the butter, but otherwise didn't change this delicious recipe. Fifteen years later, the cookies were as good as I remembered. And I couldn't have been happier sharing them with our friends before they headed back to Switzerland!

Natchez Cookies
(adapted from Bon Appetit, November 1992)

Ingredients:

15 whole graham crackers (about half a package)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat a cookie sheet with parchment paper, leaving a little overlap at the sides. Arrange graham crackers on the pan side by side.

Stir butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Mix in vanilla extract; increase heat and boil for 1 minute. Pour caramel mixture over the graham crackers. Sprinkle pecans on top.

Bake until topping is bubbling and turns deep brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Allow cookies to cool in pan. Separate cookies along cracker edges before serving. (This may be easier if you chill them first.)

27 comments:

Barbara said...

Wonderful you were able to have a photo taken with everyone. It so rarely happens and then half the time the photos don't turn out well. This one is great!
Yummy bar, Beth. Love finding long lost recipes!

Joanne said...

So nice how you all keep in touch and make the commitment to keep getting together! I'm sure you have a ton of great memories. These cookies are the perfect easy snacks!

Natalie Aguirre said...

These cookies look fantastic. And I'm baking more. I must make them. Thanks.

Kayte said...

Such a great photo and fun to hear about the traditions. The cookies sound interesting and easy....think I will give those a shot today and send them back to college with Matt, sounds like just the sort of thing he and his roommates would enjoy.

Laura Dembowski said...

These cookies look great and sound so easy to make!

Valerie Gamine said...

Ooo, these cookies look lethally addictive! Thank you for finding the recipe; it's been bumped to the top of my to-try list.

Lovely, happy photo, too!! :)

Angie Schneider said...

What a beautiful photo!
These cookies look fantastic, Beth.

Marcela said...

Oh! I love these cookies, Beth! I can bet that they are highly addictive!

btw. It would be so great if you join my chocolate contest :)

Justine Levine said...

What a wonderful picture! I love when moments like that can be captured on film, and it's so rare that everyone is in the photo. :)

The cookies look like perfect comfort food, too.

We Are Not Martha said...

These cookies look so perfect!! And what a great photo of friends :)

Sues

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

What chocolatey and delicious cookies :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Dear Beth, what a lovely post - how nice that you got to meet your Swiss friends again, spent time and fun with them and share some delicious food - these cookies must have gotten raving reviews,as they look utterly delicious (how fun that you found the recipe again).
Have a great week,
Andrea

nancy at good food matters said...

as I am currently downsizing, going through drawers and closets and boxes of saved things (and getting rid of most of it!) I can relate to the joy of coming across something that you thought was lost forever! ( I found an old notebook with some recipes used in catering.) How nice that you found your recipe in time to share with the Jays.

grace said...

i've definitely come to appreciate the traditions in my family and my boyfriend and i have taken to starting several of our own! they're so important! LOVE these cookies--what a terrific use for graham crackers. :)

Pam said...

I love that you have fun traditions with your friends. I am also glad you found that recipe because those cookies look and sound amazing!

Pam said...

Great photo and visit with your friends. I have made these cookies many times but have no idea where the recipe came from, so it must be BA since I had a subscription way back when. Thanks, they're great! Glad you found your old recipe!

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Hi Beth, it is so nice that you have long time friends that have children that your children have grown up with. Sounds like you have created some wonderful traditions and memories along the way.

Liz Berg said...

SO terrific that you finally got a photo of all 9 of you! And that you found this winner of a recipe. I'm making a copy to try (I've made something similar with matzoh---but like the graham crackers even better!).

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Oh, how wonderful that you got the picture of all of you! You will treasure that always. =) And those cookies look SO wonderful - I'm sure they were an amazing crowd-pleaser.

Tricia Buice said...

That photo is so cool and the story even better. The cookies sound pretty great too! I think I've had these a long time ago - but would eat them again - thanks!

Juliana Levine said...

This photo is really to be treasured...nice to have everyone in it...the cookies sound and look great...
Enjoy your week Beth :)

Katerina said...

Such a beautiful picture and friendship! The cookies look exquisite!

Kitchen Riffs said...

I lose -- or forget! -- about recipes often (it's one of the reasons I started my blog -- to corral them!). They're always so sweet (literally, in this case) when you find and make them again, aren't they? Fun post -- thanks.

Claudia said...

I love how everything came together - the family - the photo - the cookies. Food does cement the experience. What a celebratory posting!

Monica said...

How sweet! And these cookies surely were meant to be. What a great story!

Julie said...

Love the photo! How wonderful you found that recipe!! Pinning these to try!

I Wilkerson said...

What a great tradition! And isn't it fun the way foods play a part. I remember my mom baking tons of cookies for our Thanksgiving trips to my aunt's (who my grandparents lived near) and how much fun it was to haul out the tins when we arrived after driving the whole day! Thanks for sharing!

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