Recreating Rituals as a Vegan Mortician 2: Bereavement Cookies

Day One:

It’s 11PM and I’m getting ready for my Viewing tomorrow in a unique and hopefully memorable way. In my last blog I wrote about the vegan Funeral Biscuits I made for one of my families as a way to start new traditions in a time of loss. I’m not sure if they thought it was sweet or just altogether odd, but I think it makes for a nice gesture anyhow. I’m not sure how many morticians spend the night before the funeral baking for their families. At least not in Los Angeles. So I feel like that’s got to count for something right?

Tonight I’m breaking out the baking goodies again but this time I’ve chosen a different cookie. These Bereavement Cookies are from a site called Cupcake Project. I like this recipe because it’s fairly simple. So even if you aren’t going to win a baking contest anytime soon, I’m fairly sure you can master this. I also like it because it contains pretty basic ingredients, meaning that there will be no late night store run for some funky additions like almonds or rum, which I need for another recipe I want to make, but will now cost me more because I have no rum in the house. Bleck. I hates that stuff.

Also, just as a heads up. This recipe requires you to refrigerate the dough for 4 hours before you bake it. So if your funeral is tomorrow and you get the bright idea to start these at 10PM-like I just did-you either have a long night ahead of you or you are going to need to get up early. Whoops….. (to be continued)

Day Two:

I rolled out of bed around 10AM. Not an ungodly early time but I keep odd hours and often don’t sleep until 3AM, so anything before noon feels like torture. Pouring myself some coffee and grabbing the now well chilled dough from the fridge, I got to it. Baking the cookies is technically the easy part so it allowed me to still get dressed and multi-task without too much stress of being late. I pulled out a cutting board and just tossed a wee bit of flour down and then rolled and cut the dough with a Mason lid. As a note, this dough does not change shape as it bakes. Meaning whatever shape it starts in, it finishes in. My first cookies definitely came out looking like big biscuits, but after biting into one they still seemed legit. I added this so that when you make yours you understand that you should roll them down pretty thin. Don’t be lazy like me and think, “eh. That looks fine.” I quickly baked the rest, threw on a dress, downed my coffee and then set-off for my crematory.

Now, you may be wondering why there is no story about the actual viewing and funeral. I feel I have an ethical duty to keep the privacy of my families which is why I am careful not to write anything too specific or personal. You wouldn’t want to use me if you thought I’d divulge all your most intimate moments, so I hope that you will forgive and understand how these pieces are written. I will say that I like to wait until everything is ending and my family is leaving before I present them. I chose to give them to the mother as a female to female kind of gift. Side note, I’m actually really awful with hugs and intimacy so I like to make things to show that I do feel and care and have sadness for you. As I handed the cookies over I sheepishly said ” I made these for you. If they taste funny. It’s because they are vegan and not because I’m terrible at baking. But honestly I may be terrible at baking too.” This made her laugh and smile a little which I think is always an added bonus during a sad time. The next day at the funeral they let me know they enjoyed the cookies very much, which made me feel really happy that they were appreciated.

It’s hard to explain why I place value on baking things. Maybe it really just is tradition. Maybe it’s the love and care and thought. But I like doing this for my families and I feel that it has already woven itself into tradition for me. So I hope that maybe one day it can be for you as well.

If you want to read more about the history of funeral cookies you can visit my first blog here.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Earth Balance butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in the egg.
  • Mix in the vanilla, salt, and flour until well-combined.
  • Cover and chill the dough for about four hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Roll out the cold dough on a lightly floured counter to about 1/4″ thick (no need to break out your ruler) and cut with cookie cutters or the rim of a glass.
  • Transfer cookies to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpats.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to brown.
  • Cool and eat!

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