The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Katya's Cookies

By Virginia L. Kroll © 1987

Issue: October, 1987

Katyas Cookie PatternKatyas Cookie PatternOn the evening of October 6th, Katya was entrusted with the responsibility of making a special treat for Aunt Pam's birthday party the following evening. Since Aunt Pam would be in Germany at Christmas, Katya's family had decided to surprise her early with her favorite cutout cookies.

Katya would use the "fall leaf" cookie cutters that her mother had had since Katya could remember. Decorating them would be fun; Katya always loved that part!

As the oven preheated, Katya arranged the cutouts neatly on the cookie sheets. It was getting hot in the kitchen, so she opened a window for some fresh air. Today had been warm and golden, the kind of day to treasure before the winter chill set in.

Katya set the timer and faithfully checked the cookies. About two minutes remained. They looked wonderful and smelled even more delicious.

Suddenly, Katya heard a strange noise. She cocked her head. The noise was coming from outside. Katya went to the window to listen more closely. The sound grew more intense. At first, Katya thought it was cats meowing, then dogs barking. Whatever it was, it was coming closer. Katya tore off her apron and ran out the door. She heard a neighbor shout excitedly, "Here they come!" Katya didn't know what "they" were, but her ears followed their sound until her eyes found their location.

From the Northeast it came, the honking of migrating Canada Geese. Silhouetted against the moonlit sky, they flocked by the hundreds, streaming gracefully like black ribbons across the horizon, changing patterns, but always staying in line.

Katya was spellbound. She had never seen a sight so thrilling. She joined several neighbors who had heard the honking too, and had rushed out to view the magnificent migration.

She longed to learn more about the beautiful birds. Mr. Fitzgerald went in and got his bird guide. He read about the geese and showed Katya pictures of them. She thanked him and started home. She hoped her family would hurry back from Hannah's Open House at school. She couldn't wait to tell them about the grand event she had just witnessed.

When Katya opened the door, she heard the timer buzzing. "Oh no!", she screamed, rushing to the oven. She opened the door. Smoke spewed out. She removed the baking sheets and scraped the cookies onto a plate. They crumbled into a mass of black cinders.

"What happened?" Hannah's voice startled Katya from behind.

Katya told her family about the Canada Geese.

"Oh, it's all right," said Katya's mother, noticing the sadness in her daughter's face. "The cookies would have been nice, but we have other gifts for Aunt Pam."

Katya wasn't satisfied. She mixed a fresh batch of dough before bed so it could chill overnight. The next day, she rushed home after school to cut them out. This time, however, the cookies would be an original, special creation. She finished just in time to clean the kitchen and make herself presentable for the party.

At gift–opening time, she handed Aunt Pam a foil–wrapped box. At that very moment, several guests began rushing out the door, beckoning everyone to follow. Katya's ears recognized the reason, and she raced to join the crowd outside. They gazed breathtakingly at the awesome sight of more honking, traveling Canada Geese.

When things finally calmed down, Katya's heart continued pounding with excitement, for Aunt Pam was opening her most appropriate present.

"Canada Geese cookies!" Aunt Pam shouted ecstatically. "How perfect! Where did you ever find the pattern?"

"I made it," Katya answered proudly, telling Aunt Pam about the night before.

"They're almost too pretty to eat," said Aunt Pam. "Because of this, I'll always remember that the geese migrate on my birthday, and I'll be thinking especially of you. What a meaningful gift!"

As everyone exclaimed over Katya's cookies, Katya kept thinking about how the glorious geese had ruined one batch of cookies and made the second batch a terrific success.

How to Make Katya's Cookies

If you want to make Katya's cookies, use your own basic recipe for cutout cookies, or use the one that Katya uses, below:

1/2 cup shortening or margarine
1 cup white or brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream shortening and sugar together well. Add egg and blend. Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture alternately with milk and vanilla. Chill dough for several hours. Roll out about 1/8" thick on flat floured surface. Cut shapes. Bake on greased cookie sheets at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes.

To make Katya's cookie cutter, trace Goose pattern on cardboard. Cut out carefully. Place pattern on rolled dough and hold down gently. Cut out with tip of knife.


For head, beak, and tail; chocolate frosting works best. However, you can use confectioners' sugar and water. Add food coloring, following directions on back of box to mix proper color.

For white body and cheek, use confectioners' sugar. Stir in just enough water for desired thickness, mixing to get lumps smooth. Spread over surface with knife or spatula. Leave wings unfrosted.