Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Cookies for Christmas!

Last week, I smelled my mother’s perfume every single day. I think she was dropping in from her heavenly home. I kept getting the feeling that she was telling me to clean house and bake cookies!

When the term “God wink” became popular, I started calling those coincidental happenings “Mama winks” and “Daddy winks”! My Mama winks were very strong last week.

Needless to say, I didn’t clean house because I always avoid that. I did spend the day with my daughter and granddaughter, and we baked cookies. Lots of cookies.

Baking cookies is a big part of my Christmas food traditions. I cannot attribute that to my mother’s cookie baking skills, but I do have a wonderful story to share.

I was the last of five children. When I came along, Mother decided that she had time to be a ‘room mother’ for my kindergarten class. One of her childhood friends joined her and together, they planned some very special events. Mother saved her pennies and purchased a Mirro Cookie Press. It was a very popular thing in the 1950s and 60s … my favorite Vintage period! She bought it specifically to bake beautiful little cookies in special shapes for our school parties. The party I remember most was for Christmas. The cookie I remember most is the perfect little green Christmas Trees, covered with colorful sprinkles. I also vividly remember Mother making those cookies. Using that old Mirro press (which I inherited and still have) was not easy! The dough had to be perfect and the temperature of the kitchen and the baking sheet had to be perfect. I don’t think Mama used that contraption again … after her room mother duties! She was an expert pie baker. Cookies were not her specialty! 

My dad loved cookies and long after I left home, I would bake and take! In the fall, we always bought apples and a can of sorghum from one of the local orchards and delivered them to Daddy. One year, I baked a big batch of soft sorghum cookies. I’d never made them before, but when Daddy took a bite, he said, “Oh, those are just like my mama used to make.” My dad’s mother died when he was just 13, so that was truly a childhood memory for him. I continued to bake those cookies for him year after year!

The Christmas Cookie bakers of my childhood were really my Aunt Evelyn and her husband, Earl. She was my dad’s baby sister. He called her “Sissy” and so did we. Sissy and Earl lived in a two-story house with a kitchen upstairs and another kitchen downstairs.

One year, she and her friends decided they were going to bake cut-out cookies for people they called ‘shut-ins’. Sissy said we were going to have an assembly line cooking baking process every single day after school until we finished the baking … and decorating! I went to Sissy’s house every day after school for almost two weeks. We would congregate around the kitchen table in the basement kitchen. She would come down the stairs carrying a big, speckled granite roaster that was filled with cookies! Then the decorating began. Oh, my goodness! There were snowmen, Christmas trees, sleighs, round ornaments, gingerbread shapes of men and women, reindeer, Santa … and stars. I was partial to the stars because we got to use the glittery sprinkles on them! When I say that we decorated 500 cookies, I’m not exaggerating. I’m also not exaggerating when I say I probably ate a half dozen cookies each day! When we were all finished, we wrapped and packaged, and I got to help deliver cookies to old folks all over our little hometown. I was 11 years old that year. I have baked cut out Christmas cookies every year since. That, friends, is a lot of cookies!  That was a lesson of love that I learned at just the right age!

I’m happy to share my soft molasses cookie recipe today. I use sorghum and if you don’t have a good local farm market where you can buy it, I would recommend the Brer Rabbit brand.

Daddy’s Favorite Sorghum Molasses Cookies 

Whip these ingredients together until light and creamy:

1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 egg
1/2 cup sorghum molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together and add to the creamed mixture:

2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Cream the dough until well blended. These cookies bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. You’ll need another half cup of granulated sugar to roll each cookie in. Roll balls of cookie dough (about the size of a walnut). Completely coat each ball in the sugar and place two inches apart on cookie sheets. As the cookies bake, they will spread out and crinkle. Let the cookies cool a couple minutes before removing from the baking sheets.

I borrowed this picture from!

My Favorite Spritz Cookie! 

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
8 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

I’ve made these cookies by the hundreds and I know that the best way to make the dough is to put all the ingredients in a food processer and blend it. No creaming ... no adding.  Put everything in at the same time and spin it!  It will form a ball in the processer.

This is my basic recipe, but I always drop a little green food coloring in for the Christmas trees and I love to use peppermint extract. A little drop of that will be enough!

Another tip – don’t spray your cookie sheet and make sure it is at room temperature … not hot from the oven. You want the ‘squirted’ cookies to stick to the cookie sheet or you won’t be able to lift the cookie shooter away from the cookie!   I don't usually have to refrigerate this dough, but if you think it is too soft, stick it in the freezer for a few minutes.

Follow the instructions that came with your cookie shooter. Bake these cookies for 12 – 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Watch the first batch closely and remove them when they are barely turning brown on the edges. Then you’ll know how long to bake the next batches!

We love to decorate our cookies will colorful sprinkles! Sprinkle the cookies before baking … or drizzle the baked cookies with a powdered sugar glaze and sprinkle over the wet glaze.

This post is a part of my 2020 Vintage Vegetable project! I’ll post with a couple blog parties, so make sure you check the list on my sidebar! Merry Christmas!

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