Snowball Cookies

I love National Parks. For years I hoped someone would cast David Tennant as John Muir in a sweeping biopic that amounted to little more than digital postcards of Yosemite and the giant sequoias. But Muir was racist and his pristine, untouched vision for the great outdoors erased indigenous people from the landscape. I value preserving the natural wonders of our country. I feel like a fourth grader again whenever I explore National Parks—wonder, excitement, accomplishment (making it through a hike without quitting is a big deal over here). But I also worry about and struggle with what was stolen and lost because for too long the only people who had rights in this country were wealthy, white men. I worry what narratives we perpetuate wittingly or unwittingly when we visit National Parks to marvel and we ignore the postcard-unworthy history behind them. But even with my complicated feelings, I still love National Parks.

That was an unexpected tangent to what I came here to blog about: cookies. I love cookies, and unlike NPs, my love for them isn’t complicated at all.

It was Spring Break last week in the Trent home, and we found a screaming sale on flights to Nashville. We’d never been and noticed that Mammoth Cave National Park was only a 90 minute drive north. We bought tickets, booked cave tours, and decided to figure out the rest when we got there.

We had a really great time in Nashville. Did you know they have live musicians at the BNA airport? We found three on our way to our gate. Music is everywhere in Nashville, and me and mine are into it. The Bluebird Café was a highlight. To think we rolled up on a Tuesday night and enjoyed a concert AND cookies was something I am still smiling over. The host joked with me about how my review would start, “The cookies were amazing, and the music was good too.”

Mammoth Cave NP was wonderful. I highly recommend the Historic Tour. It was after this cave tour and while we were enjoying lunch at the café, that I saw this recipe, framed and hanging on the wall.

Framing recipes in this post-farmhouse-décor-world isn’t all that remarkable, but this was a recipe for “snowball cookies.” I started asking questions. What is the story behind the cookies? Do you make them here? Can I buy one now?

The servers at the café didn’t know. “I think they used to make them. We might make them again. You should ask the rangers.”

Cell reception was nonexistent and I struggle with signing into the Wi-Fi on a good day, so to the rangers I did go.

“That’s a brand new building and brand new café. We haven’t even been inside,” the rangers said.

“But snowball cookies.” Cookies are important to me. “Where do I find more about snowball cookies?” I persisted.

“Well, there is Snowball Dining Room,” one ranger explained. “It’s a cavern where we used to serve guests back in the day. Maybe those cookies were served down there, and that’s how they got their name.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Trent, who always signs into the Wi-Fi was Googling. He showed me pictures of snowball dining room and a pictures of snowball cookies on the National Park website. But, here is the twist, it was a different recipe: chocolate drop cookies rolled in powdered sugar. No mention of cornflakes.

So when we got back home, I made the website snowball cookies.

Delicious. And now I made the café snowball cookies.

The dough is delicious, but altitude is not my friend with these cookies. This happens criminally often with some of my cookie recipes. They go flat and running. Maybe too much sugar. Maybe not enough flour. I don’t yet know. Rest assured I will be tweaking and fiddling and experimenting because my cookies, like National Parks, make me happy.

What makes you happy?

what do you think?

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