HumankindNESS-Howard’s Cookies

By Jennifer Richardson
I was blessed to spend my childhood years in Tuscola, Illinois. We had several awesome kids on our block and great grownups too. I had no idea at the time, but I would grow to be very thankful for the lovely people in our neighborhood.

These were the days before cell phones, the internet, and 24 hour a day entertainment options, so there were generally kids available and we often played outside together. Games of tag, hide and seek, and smugglers and coast guards were common, as well as hanging out in tree houses and backyards.

We were running around in a group one afternoon when our neighbor, Mr. Howard Eskridge (my friend Kendra’s dad,) came out and gave us all cookies he had just baked for us.

Surprised and thrilled, we all gathered to receive this unexpected treat. We polished off the cookies in short order and were soon back to playing. The cookies were butterscotch, and delicious. I remember loving them—but I mostly remember how kind and cool that was that he made cookies for us as we played.

We didn’t ask him for anything, he simply took his own time and resources to provide kindness to the neighborhood kids. Fabulous. Over the years this event has inspired me to bake butterscotch cookies several times and I have fiddled with several recipes, hoping to make them taste something like my memory from that day. Each time I bake butterscotch cookies, I remember Howard.

Howard passed away a few years ago, and he and my old friend Kendra have been on my heart. In a tiny tribute to him, I made the cookies again for my granddaughter, and I rewrote and officially named the recipe card, “Howard’s Cookies.”

In remembrance of Howard, I am sharing one of my butterscotch cookie recipes. I hope in some small way I can honor him, and remind us of the lesson he taught me; the ordinary moments of kindness are what really connect us all.

Howard’s Cookies:
1 cup room temp butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 and 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 package butterscotch chips
Beat butter and sugars until soft and creamy (3 min) add eggs one at a time, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt, and gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add butterscotch chips and mix until just incorporated. Bake 9 to 11 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown. 

I hope you try the recipe, and I hope you take the opportunity to share your efforts with others. Like our neighbor Howard, you may create a sweet memory that is cherished for many years to come.

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