| From My Table |

Family Table: Cream Cheese Cookies

Recently, my son went to a fairly large get-together at a friend’s house. The mother, a friend of mine, sent me a text when it was over. “You get ten parenting points because your son came over to thank me.”

My reaction: I smiled, I thought it was very sweet, but I didn’t think it earned me any parenting points; it was just programming. Baruch Hashem, my son is a super kid and I’m very proud of him, but I don’t think this is testimony of that!

Then I thought it over and realized that my initial reaction was wrong. A thank-you or something similarly small may be
tokenistic, but a symbol, by definition, means that it’s linked to something larger. There’s a lot more significance being hinted at with a symbol that’s universally agreed upon. A thank-you isn’t necessarily much, but it can be. It indicates that someone had the presence of mind to not be consumed with themselves and warmly extend appreciation.

Many of the things we do here in Family Table are tokenistic in that we’re creating recipes and other food content for the sake of something much larger. The food is almost irrelevant; it’s just the agreed-upon term used to convey a message. Most of the time, we’re trying to give something importance — like family, for example, or a Yom Tov.

Shavuos is a symbol of the relationship we have with Hashem and the Torah. It’s a celebration of our connection. We know it’s there, we know it’s everlasting; it’s there before and after Shavuos. Shavuos, and all the beautiful things we do to make it special in our homes, locks it in for us.

Wishing you an uplifting and enjoyable Yom Tov,

Food Editor, Family Table
Editor in Chief, Kosher.com 


Cake-Mix Cream Cheese Cookies

I used to have a long wish list of dairy baked goods to make for Shavuos, but then I realized that I have to cook actual meals too. I came up with this idea this year, and I’m crazy about it! Next to no mess, little kids can roll the cookies, and the change from classic pareve baked goods is the real treat here.

  • 1 8-oz (225-g) brick cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened, or ⅓ cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 15-oz (425-g) box cake mix of your choice (we tried brownie, red velvet, and white cake)
  • confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the cream cheese and butter with a handheld mixer until creamy. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until incorporated. Add the cake mix and mix well.

Scoop tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheet. Bake for 9–11 minutes. They will continue to set a bit after they come out of the oven. Allow to cool, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 897)

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