I'm in the habit of making new friends, and tend to do so quickly each time we move. I may come across as overly forward, but I'm OK with that. People can take it or leave it, and they do. I may live in a big city but I happen to like simple human interaction, so I go about building community however I can. That's where these cookies come in.
We live above a bar. We're lucky that the owners and clientele are a nice bunch of people, very courteous (they'll take our packages for us since we don't have a doorman) and eager to greet us as we come and go from the building. So recently when I got to baking these cookies, I brought down a plate and was told they disappeared like "hotcakes." Exactly what I like to hear, since I can't be expected to finish off a big batch of rich, buttery cookies on my own. A plate of cookies now and then doesn't cost me much, but the pay back is large. Back in Rome I had built up a series of friends around the community, like my butchers. I fully intend on building a similar lot here in New York. People I can exchange a few words, laughs, or smiles with on a weekly basis. It's the familiar faces that make a big city seem like a small town.
I'm not sure what spoke to me about these nut thins or why I chose them as a starting point. Many of Ruth's recipes are not very detailed. She hadn't specified what kind of nuts to use so I decided on both walnuts and pecans. Some of her recipes lack thorough instructions, which tells me that she was a skilled cook and baker who had method down and could probably bake a batch of rugelach blindfolded. Like a good Jewish grandmother, I suppose.
I've always been fascinated with Ruth's box of recipes and have treated it like an heirloom. I'd like to think that two generations from now when the internet and computers as we know them become obsolete, I may have a granddaughter who loves to cook. Perhaps she'll peruse my blog, reading my stories, trying my recipes and maybe getting a glimpse of what life was like in "the old days."
I followed the recipe as written by Ruth, but couldn't resist adding 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds, even though I'm pretty sure no one had ever heard of Omega 3 fatty acids in Ruth's day. Trust me, you would never know they are in there. Make these larger for chewier cookies, or smaller if you prefer, but I warn you that you may end up eating more that way.