Sunday, 25 November 2012

Over the Moon for Mun Bagel (aka Moon Cookies / Poppyseed Cookies)



He's here!  He's here! ...  He's gone.

It took me too long to write this post, and in a blink of an eye, my Uncle Jim's brief visit is over...

Who, you might ask is Uncle Jim...he's Mom's brother.  Although we are in touch regularly, I hadn't seen him since April 2011 (he lives on the west coast), and he finally made it back for a visit!

Mom and Jim (1947)
Growing up, we visited Regina regularly.  Mom was very close with her family, and my parents made sure we spent as much time as we could with them.  Visits to Regina were always fun...Bubbie and Mom would cook up so many delicious treats, laughing and chatting the whole time.  There were trips to the cottage at Sandy Beach, and best of all, I could spend time with my good friend Kathryn who lived down the street, hanging out in her basement, playing billiards and listening to 45's (records for those of you too young to remember).  

Mom and Jim (1948 or 1949)

And then there was Uncle Jim.  He was no ordinary uncle...he was so patient, and kind and relatable...he would talk to us and take the time to rediscover us as people, finding out what are latest interests, likes and dislikes were.  Above all else, he loved us and we knew it.  Other than our parents and grandparents, he was the only adult in our lives that we knew would do anything for us, would always protect us, and put us first.

And he did, and still does.  I do not want to turn this into a sad post, but suffice it to say, in our darkest hours  of Mom's Alzheimer's, and Dad's emergency bypass, and all the other challenges life has brought us, Jim is always there, providing support and encouragement, an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on, even hopping on a plane on a moment's notice, just to be with us when we needed a rock during Dad's emergency surgery and Mom's crisis placement in long-term care (all on the same weekend).  He doesn't let us "go it alone".  He is more than an uncle, he is family.

Mom and Jim (1960s) - doesn't she
bear a strong resemblance to my Sara?!

We had a family dinner the (Saturday) night of Jimmy's arrival.  Dad, Davie, Lena and Abby came over, and Carlo and the kids had a good chuckle (at my expense, of course) as we reminisced about yesteryear - the people and the food, and some of the more unusual dishes that would be consumed in Bubbie's house.  She was not always a gourmet cook - some meals were as "mangia cake" as you can get!  I wish I took a picture of their faces when they heard that Bubbie Lou and Mom actually fed us canned spaghetti on toast.  I'd totally forgotten about that until Jimmy mentioned it.  I don't know what mia familia were more horrified by - the fact that we ate spaghetti on toast, or the fact that it was canned - come on, what do they think alphaghettis are?!?!  Then Davie and I both recalled the most "delicious" canned macaroni & cheese (hey, give us a break, we were kids, what did we know?!).  There was Zaida's cheese (Velveeta) and lest we forget the home-made specials - stewed figs and red river cereal for breakfast.

I had the best of intentions to make some of Bubbie's special dishes for Jimmy to taste again, and luckily had a couple on hand...he seemed to really enjoy the tuna antipasto and dill pickles.  Unfortunately, it was a whirlwind weekend and I never actually baked the mun bagel cookies - the dough is chilled in my fridge, but that's as far as I got.

Mun Bagel, otherwise known as "moon cookies", are little round bagel-shaped twisted cookies with poppy-seeds.  They are a dense and crunchy cookie that go well with tea, and that is exactly how I remember us eating them in my younger days, sitting around Bubbie and Zaida's dinner table.  They were not very sweet, and did not boast a sticky or gooey icing, but after a few bites, they became addictive - you couldn't just eat one.
This is the photo originally posted on Facebook
So, this weekend we had friends coming for dinner and I decided to serve an array of cookies for dessert, mun bagel being one of the assortment.  On Friday evening I made 100 cookies (they are small) and posted the photo to Facebook.  Imagine my shock and delight when my cousin Jessica (Jim's daughter) commented on the photo just minutes after it went up:
 Now those bring back memories. I could probably eat that whole pan. I probably could have when I was 5, nevermind now.

Then another comment, this time from my cousin Erin (my uncle Van's daughter):
Oh my goodness!! My favorite. I think I need to learn to make these just so I can dip them in my tea.

Now I was on cloud 9.  I didn't think anyone other than Davie or me would hold memories about these cookies.  I was a happy camper.

Fast forward to dinner last night.  I was trying to make kid-friendly sweets - so I whipped up some mandelbroyt and Bubbie Lou brownies in addition to the mun bagel...image my surprise when I turned to the counter where my dessert tray was sitting and discovered that the kids kept coming in to grab a handful of mun bagel!  Seriously, I had to refill the plate and they finished every last one I had made!   My kids loved them!!!!    I guess I know what I am doing after Hebrew school today - baking more mun bagel.

And when they are done, I will take that first bite with my "glaizl tea" (glass of tea), I will think of my Mom, Bubbie Lou and the matriarchs before her. Y

PS - I guess I will have to overnight courier the cookies to Jim!

So from my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this cookie as much as we do.  Until next time, I wish you a wonderful day filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Bubbie Lou's Handwritten Recipe
Another recipe card (I believe it's also Bubbie's,
otherwise it belongs to Mom - their handwriting is so similar)
Mun Bagel (Moon Bagel/cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾C white granulated sugar
  • ¾C Mazola oil (or other oil you prefer - I use Canola)
  • ½C poppy seeds
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3C flour
  • ¼ tsp salt


Method:
Preheat oven to 300˚. Mix eggs and sugar. Add oil.  Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Slowly add dry ingredients and poppy seeds to mixture.  (I actually toss my seeds into the flour mixture).  Chill the dough if making round cookies, leave at room temperature if making mun bagels.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.  

How to roll mun bagel:

Dough should be at room temperature  Roll into 6" to 8" rope

Fold in half 
Gently pinch together

Gently holding 1 end down, use other end to twist



Bring ends together to form a circle and pinch to secure