Last weekend on Saint Patrick's Day, I took a leap of faith and drove over the mountain (with my dog in tow and survival food) to attend a book signing.

The roads were icy, cars were moving at a snail's pace, and a couple of times I mumbled, "I'm turning back."

Knowing I was stocked up on granola bars, salt and vinegar potato chips, bottled water, and canine chow seemed a bit calming for a snow day raining on my parade.

While there were a few close skidding out of control moments, no "Misery" car crash for this food book series author. On the way home, I wondered, "Why didn't I bake chewy cookies and bring tea?"

Back home I brewed a fresh cup of hot chamomile (two cups, actually), and cuddled with my action-oriented Aussie. After a day of adventure, cravings for coconut macaroons were still on my mind. After all, it's still winter-like weather in the Sierra and a cookie with a hot beverage is comforting.

This recipe is inspired by my tea book, tearooms I visited in and out of the country during research.

Snowflake Cookies

5 tablespoons whole wheat flour (good for high altitude so cookies don't spread in the oven)

¼ cup granulated white sugar

6 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1 capful each almond extract and pure vanilla extract

7-8 ounces (approximately 2 ½ cups) sweetened coconut, premium

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon lemon or orange rind (optional)

Confectioners' sugar (for dusting) (optional)

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, milk, extracts and coconut. Set aside. In a mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff. Fold in coconut mixture.

Add orange rind. Use 1/3 cup ice cream scoop or 1 teaspoon (shaped like a Hershey's chocolate drop), and place cookie dough on a cookie sheet (parchment paper is nice to use to avoid sticking).

Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes or 'til bottoms are golden and cookies are firm. Remove immediately. Dust cookies with confectioners' sugar.

Makes about 10-12 cookies, depending on size. Store in airtight container and put in fridge or freezer.

(Tip: I cut the recipe in half because these cookies do contain sugar and fat. If you love chocolate, melt white or dark chocolate chips in the microwave for about 30 seconds, stir, 30 more seconds till melted. Dip on one side of the cookie or on the bottom.)

While the drive in a post-snowstorm wasn't as horrific as I had thought it could be, the chips were super stress reducers, but tea and cookies would have been more soothing.

Next time around during a drive in the snow or rain, I'll pack a thermos of hot tea and snowflake cookies.

Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is