03 January 2017

Introducing Elder Bartles: a Proud Mama Moment (plus recipe: GF Giant Sugar Cookies)

Yesterday, my son flew to Brazil to serve a 2-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. After his training (learning all of the things he'll need to know to serve effectively ... like how to speak Portuguese!) at the Sao Paulo Missionary Training Center, he'll be serving in the Brazil Salvador South mission for the next two years. (If you'd like to write to him, his missionary email address is benjamin.bartles@myldsmail.net - He will be checking his email once a week, and I'm sure he'd love to hear from you!)
 It's crazy to think he's already old enough to go off on his own (though he will have a companion with him at all times, so I guess he won't really be "on his own" ...) But he already looks the part - so much that three different people stopped us at the airport (before we even got to the security checkpoint) to ask if he was flying out to serve a mission!
 I know it will hit me like a ton of bricks before long, and I fully expect that I will probably have a day or two in the very near future when "he's really gone for two years" finally sinks in. When that happens, I reserve the right to put my life on hold while I sniffle and cry and miss my baby boy. But for now, I'm just so proud and excited for Elder Bartles that (for now, at least) I can't be sad. The people of Salvador, Brazil will be lucky to have him, and I can't wait to hear about the people he meets and the opportunities he'll have to serve them!
I was going to share my son's favorite cookie recipe with this post, but I realized as I started writing that his favorite cookie recipe is linked to several people who have influenced his life as he's grown to be the missionary he is today. So I'm going to wait to share it. And over the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing stories of these missionaries and friends who served as role models for my son as he prepared for this milestone in his life (including the recipes that they inspired). Because life is sweet, and so are cookies. ;)
Confession: Even though my smile was too big to allow for tears at the airport, I did come home and indulge in copious amounts of junk food while watching the progress of his journey on my flight tracker app until I was too tired to keep my eyes open. And I may have eaten more than one of these
Giant (Gluten Free) Sugar Cookies
You will need:
1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs 
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp almond extract
3/4 c. cornstarch*
3 c. Gluten-Free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 all-purpose GF flour)

Cream butter and sugar together. 

Add eggs, baking powder, salt, almond extract, and cornstarch, and beat until light and fluffy.

Stir in GF flour.

Using a large ice cream scoop, portion dough into 2 1/4-inch balls. Dip in colored sugar and flatten slightly. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Chill for 2-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Bake chilled cookie dough on parchment-lined cookie sheets (leaving at least 2 1/2 inches of space between cookies to allow for spreading) for 15-17 minutes, until bottoms are just slightly browned. 

*If you need gluten-free recipes for allergy-related reasons, make sure to check the label! I've recently discovered (when I had a negative reaction to something I thought was safe) that not all cornstarch is actually gluten-free!