Last week there was a delightful article and video in the Winnipeg Free Press Online Edition concerning "nothings," which are light, airy cookies similar to puff pastry. At one time in Winnipeg's vibrant Jewish community, production of these cookies was a competitive sport among Moms. Doughy, leaden, burned or collapsed nothings marked their mortified bakers as failures. The article and video concern a belated attempt to learn how to make this traditional Winnipeg favourite by a daughter whose Mom is a champion baker of nothings.
Nothings are unique, temperamental, perhaps even a bit magical, according to this daughter:
They have only four ingredients -- flour, oil, sugar, and eggs -- and you could whip up a batch of them in 10 minutes, or at least my mother could. They have no leavening agent -- no baking powder, no baking soda, no yeast -- and yet they'd blow up in the oven like golden beach balls. And they are the only dessert I've ever seen that you bake by putting in the oven and turning it off. Then you leave them to cool "until tomorrow," according to my mother, who at 86 still makes them every week.
The article and video illustrate the daughter's frustrating struggle with nothings. The video is absolutely hilarious and very Winnipeg in its sense of humour. Check them both out here.