As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found the memories that stand out strongest in my mind and that evoke the most emotion from me are ones that are also tied to the sense of smell. The smell of a rainy day…the smell of the lobby at the Polynesian hotel in Disney World…the ocean. Each of those unique smells is tied to its own unique and powerful memory for me.
But perhaps my strongest smell-based memory is of the independent, small-town bakery where my mom and I used to stop for all kinds of freshly baked goodies. Maybe it’s because bakeries like that one seem to be becoming a thing of the past, or maybe it’s because those breads, cakes and cookies really were that good, but nothing can set off an emotional memory for me like that smell of freshly-baked bakery goods.
One of my favorite things about this particular bakery was that I also got to choose a free cookie. There were so many choices! They were just normal-sized cookies, not the pound and half ones you’re most likely to find today, but what a treat they were. My favorite was always the Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies. The sweet crunch on the outside paired with a soft chewy center was just too good to pass up.
Feeling slightly nostalgic the other day, I decided to see if I could re-create those cookies to share with my kiddos (after hiding a few just for myself). I’m glad I didn’t put that idea aside in favor of leaving the memory untouched. The cookies were heavenly and the scent while they baked was heavenly. It didn’t quite match the one in my memory, but if I closed my eyes really hard, I could feel like a 6 year old holding my mom’s hand while I selected my favorite cookie at our bakery. And that’s really the best part!
Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 t. almond extract
- 1 3/4 c. flour
- 3/4 t. salt
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1 3 oz. jar rainbow sprinkles
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and extracts and beat for 2-3 minutes, until combined and smooth.
2. In a small bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the mixing bowl and beat just until completely combined.
3. Pour the rainbow sprinkles into a bowl or on a plate. Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball then roll through the sprinkles. Place on a cookie sheet and repeat until done.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
I was able to get 2 dozen cookies and I began running low on the sprinkles for the last few cookies. If you like lots of sprinkles, you may want to have a second jar on hand just in case!