Each year my aunt 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. I looked forward to that tin all year long.
After she passed away several years ago, I was given her cookbook collection. I've shared them with my daughters and daughter-in-law, but I kept the red half-size looseleaf notebook that holds my aunt's cookie recipes.
The pages of this notebook contain 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." (That makes me wonder whether she added too much rum once and what the consequences were.)
Some of the recipes came from "J.C.'s mother" in 1974, and from "Debbie" in 1969, from "CandH 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 could just photocopy the recipes I want and 3-hole punch the pages, 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.
Don't worry, I won't tease you about cookies and then not give you a recipe from her collection. I've made these in the past and I usually sent most of them to work with hubby. His co-workers loved them. So did I, but this way I didn't have to eat them all myself. (Yes, they contain white sugar. Substitute with something else if you prefer.)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder (I used Rumford aluminum-free baking powder)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 1-ounce squares of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup confectioners sugar for rolling
I didn't have to chop the chocolate; it was all broken when I opened the bar.
The recipe calls for "two squares" of chocolate, or two ounces. Fortunately I noticed this on the wrapper, and added the eight pieces needed to make two ounces.
Sift together the flour and baking powder - I stirred them together - and set aside.
Stir the chocolate into the melted butter until melted and smooth. It didn't take long for the chocolate to melt.
Mix the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add this to the chocolate mixture and mix well, then gradually add the flour/baking powder mixture a little at a time.
Add the chocolate chips and stir well.
Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least two hours, or preferably overnight. I opted for the two hours.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. I used greased aluminum foil since I didn't have parchment paper on hand.
Roll the dough into balls of about one inch diameter, and roll the balls in confectioners sugar. The finished cookies are prettier if you coat them rather thickly with the sugar.
Place cookies two inches apart on the cookie sheets.
Bake 9-12 minutes, until the tops crack. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.
What is your favorite cookie recipe? Does it have "history"?
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