Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Squarkie's Love Bugs/ Frosting For The Cause
Frosting For the Cause is a website that changes every day. Baking bloggers like me volunteer to post one day and write a little something about how cancer has touched our lives. The posts are inspirational, sad and truly heartfelt. I did my original post on May 25 focusing on breast cancer and my sister's battle. I was happy to do my post back in May, and offered Paula a pinch hit post. I am a sugar cookie baker with an ever growing cookie cutter collection, and when I found the VW Bug cookie cutter I thought of Squarkie, and her battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Squarkie is my mom’s youngest sister and she was diagnosed at the young age of 52. She lost her battle after 4 years.
Squarkie, whose real name was Helen, was the “cool” aunt. Back in the 70’s we spent our summers at the lake, and Squarkie had the coolest VW bug. My cousins and I were barely teenagers, and she was single and so hip to all of us. I can still see her in her bell bottom jeans, her big glasses and that VW driving to the soundtrack of my childhood.
Pancreatic cancer struck around 43,000 people in 2010, and nearly 37,000 died of the disease. It is one cancer that shows no significant decline in detection or mortality over the years. It is often not diagnosed until the disease has advanced. Pancreatic Cancer is a nasty disease, and Squarkie braved her treatments for years. I still have a letter I wrote her the day before she died. It was addressed and ready to mail. I don’t suppose I’ll ever let go of it. As I edge closer to my fifties, the reality of her diagnosis becomes quite real. She was so young.
In Squarkie’s honor, I made these VW Bugs in the hot colors of the 70’s. Squarkie’s bug was white, but her personality was full of color. Sugar cookie and royal icing didn't seem exciting enough to share, you can find them on my blog under recipes. The recipe I am sharing is for Czechoslovakian Cookies. When I got married, I asked my Aunts for a treasured recipe. Squarkie passed this one on to me. Part of the beauty of a recipe box is the handwritten cards of people we love and miss. This is the recipe exactly as written. She had very specific instructions once they were baked!
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups sifted flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup strawberry or apricot preserves ( I use SaraBeth strawberry rhubarb)
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add yolk and blend thoroughly. Add flour and nuts and mix until blended. Spread half of the mixture with fingers in 8X8X2 pan. Cover with preserves to ¼” of the edge. Carefully cover with remaining half of mixture with fingers. Bake at 325° for 1 hour. Cut into small squares while warm. Make coffee and invite Squarkie over.