Sweets are a traditional part of Easter and Passover, and since those holidays fall a little later on the calendar this year, those of us with an active sweet tooth are ready for the arrival of springtime’s signature treats.

San Leon cookie baker extraordinaire Cynthia Rodriguez welcomes spring by giving her sugar cookies a seasonal makeover, turning out colorful followers and butterflies.

“My daughters help me, because we all enjoy decorating them,” she said. “The more icing I put on, the better the cookies taste.”

While the sugar cookies may be the prettiest, Rodriguez makes a variety of other cookies as well. “Sand tarts and ojarascas are my favorites,” she said. Ojarascas, also called hojarascas, are Mexican shortbread cookies dusted with cinnamon and sugar. Their name comes from the sound of dry leaves, because they share the same crackly sound.

“I love to bake and really started doing it in a big way when my son, Victor, started doing a lemonade stand,” Rodriguez explained. “I wanted him to offer more than just lemonade, so I made cookies. Not only were the cookies popular, but through the lemonade stand, a lady gave me her great-great-grandmother‘s peanut butter cookie recipe, and now I make those sometimes, too.”

Rodriguez is donating big batches of her cookies to the Sunshine Center Spring Fling, an annual fundraiser scheduled for April 13 at Galveston’s Knights of Columbus Hall. This year’s event features a sweet shop of take-home desserts for Easter, Passover and every other day.

“Bivens Baking has donated cake for dessert, so cake is part of the meal for all dinner guests, but this year they’ll also have the option of purchasing extra sweets as another way to raise funds for the programs at the Sunshine Center,” event chair Laura Tacquard said. The Sunshine Center, located in Galveston, serves Galveston County adults with disabilities, offering supportive employment, day habilitation, case management, and community involvement to almost 40 clients.

The Spring Fling dinner features a pasta dinner prepared by Mario’s Italian Ristorante and Chopin Mon Ami, and is part of a full evening of music, live raffles and a silent auction. “We have some terrific auction items,” Taquard said. “Del Papa Distributing donated a big Bud Light crawfish boiler and a Bud Light tamale steamer, and we’ve assembled some great gift baskets, like a “Pirate’s Loot” basket full of rum and a pirate flag, and a wheelbarrow loaded with gardening supplies and things to drink.” Gift certificates to local restaurants and attractions will also be on the auction tables.

Cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, homemade marshmallows and other sweets will be featured at the Spring Fling sweet shop, which will run throughout the event, which is scheduled from 6 until 10 p.m. inside the Knights of Columbus hall at 1912 Winnie Street. Tickets are available by calling the Sunshine Center at (409) 763-5029.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com.

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