May 18, 2011

Family Treasures, the Cookbooks

Sometime ago, my brother gave me the cookbooks that had belonged to my aunt and my grandma. I want to go through each one; the number of them is quite staggering so it's a project that will take awhile.

The first one I opened, a half-size red looseleaf notebook, turned out to be a collection of my aunt's cookie recipes.

Each year she spent the weeks before Christmas making cookies to give as gifts to family and friends. The tins were filled with a wide variety of goodies from rum balls to seven-layer bars.

The pages of this notebook contained recipes cut from magazines and copied from various sources. She'd typed most on an old manual typewriter, complete with typos that made me smile. "Giner Bookies" surely must mean Ginger Cookies! It's Mrs. George Bush's recipe, published in House Beautiful in December 1984.

A very few pages are handwritten.

The first section is labeled "Stand-Bys". The top of the pages have the source of the recipe; some also have "molded" "bar" "candy" "drop" or other notes. Some have handwritten notes: "cut salt to 1/4 tsp".

The Glazed Apple Gems from Bon Appetite include a note that they are "very good!" and a date 12/05 when she made them. She noted several changes in oven temperature, baking time, and that she should double the amount of the glaze.

A note on the Rum Balls recipe says "do not add more rum! Thin with water if necessary."

Some of the recipes came from "J.C.'s mother" in 1974, and from "Debbie" in 1969, from "C&H Sugar", "Gold Medal Flour" and a "Molasses booklet". Others are from "Mama", my grandma.

There are a few pages in the notebook that are copies from somewhere, cut out and glued in with rubber cement that has turned brown with age and shows through the paper. One is a table of candy stages and temperatures.

Since I keep my favorite recipes in a full-size notebook, I can just photocopy the recipes I want and 3-hole punch the page, but this notebook is truly a treasure in its complete and original form. It's a snapshot of my aunt's life and a taste of her giving nature, and a collection of some of the treats my grandma made for my father, his brother and little sister when they were children. Because my father was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was quite young, this is a side of my grandma that I never saw.

Here is the recipe for the Glazed Apple Gems, with my aunt's changes added in parentheses. (Remember that I have not made this recipe, so although it's one of my aunt's Tried And True stand-bys, I can't vouch for the results. If you try the recipe, let me know what you think of it!)

GLAZED APPLE GEMS, from Bon Appetite

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 cup raisins, finely chopped
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat to 375 (350). Grease baking sheets. (use parchment paper)

Cream butter with sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, apple, raisins, nuts, apple juice and lemon peel.

Blend in flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well. (gooey)

Drop onto sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. (5-7 minutes)

GLAZE (double the amounts given)

1 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3 Tbsp apple or lemon juice
1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Blend in food processor.

Cool cookies then dip each in glaze, swirling to cover. Drain on rack and cool completely. (Makes about 5 dozen)


1 comment:

  1. Wonderful, beautiful recipe. And all the little beauties in the cookbook. I love things that show the past of a person. May you be blessed! Lord Willing, when I try the cookies, I'll be sure to let you know how they come out :) Much love!


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