Get ready –
Get set – Bake…

This, my first column of the last month of this year, is actually going to be in the paper on the 81st anniversary of one of the worst days of infamy our country has known, and like the day of airplanes being flown into the twin towers, it will never be forgotten. This day, of course is December 7, 1941, when Japanese bombers began strafing Pearl Harbor and destroying so many of our war ships and the base where these planes were stationed. It also took an almost uncountable number of lives. The battleship Arizona is one of the most awesome places that I have ever visited. When I went to Hawaii several years ago, each time we went off or onto the Island we passed that museum. We did a tour of it one afternoon and I still get chills when I think of the horror of what went on at that time.
It is time to start thinking about making cookies for Christmas. If you have the time, it is really fun to make cookies with your children and grandchildren! The simplest way to do that, I have found is to make up the dough one day and then have them over the next to cut out and bake cookies. Most of these recipes can be rolled into balls the size of unshelled walnuts before putting them on the cookie sheets; they then will come out pretty much all the same size. When I want to make cookies, I usually will make up three or four batches of dough on one evening and then bake cookies the next evening. This seems to work really well, at least for me. In fact, you can then bake as many or as few as you want, you don’t have to bake up the entire batch of each dough, and then, you have fresh baked cookies when you have company coming over for coffee!
My son and daughters remember very well when my grandmother would come over and “spend” with us a few days, especially at Christmas. She would help me make ‘anise’ cookies and we would always have a very good time!
Applesauce Spice Cookies
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3½ cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup thick, unsweetened applesauce
1 or more cups of mixed candied fruit
¼ cup flour
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cream shortening and sugar together. Beat egg, add to creamed mixture and blend well. Sift flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together and add alternately with the applesauce to creamed mixture, with flour being added first and last. Dredge the candied fruit in the ¼ cup flour and stir into the dough. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto well greased cookie sheets. Bake 375ºF for 12 to 15 minutes.
This recipe goes by many names, including Ranger Cookies and a couple of other ones as well. They are always delicious, and this recipe is from my Mother’s aunt. It is written out just as she had it in a small cookbook that a group put together for one of our family reunions.
Good Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups crisp rice cereal (i.e. Rice Crispies)
1 cup coconut
Preheat oven to325ºF. Cream shortening and sugar very well, add eggs, salt and vanilla. Beat well until blended. Add flour sifted with soda and baking powder. Fold in oatmeal Rice Crispies and coconut. Make a ball about the size of a large marble. Place on greased cookie sheet and flatten with glass dipped in sugar*. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. *Lightly spray glass with nonstick spray or rub a light coat of cooking oil on it, then dip in sugar, flatten a couple of cookies, dip in sugar, repeat until all cookies on baking sheet are flattened.
Delicious Oatmeal Cookies
¾ cup butter or margarine
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2½ cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup pecans
1 cup coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Cream butter and sugars thoroughly; add eggs and vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients and stir in until well mixed. Add the oatmeal, pecans and coconut (if used). Drop dough by spoonfuls on lightly greased or sprayed baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool thoroughly, store in tightly covered container.
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Mix together and set aside
2 cups shortening (I use 1 cup shortening and 1 cup margarine)
.3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
5½ cups flour
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Thoroughly cream together the shortening, sugar and eggs. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix into the shortening mixture. Mix well and chill dough overnight. Shape into walnut sized balls; roll each one in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place 2-inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350ºF until lightly browned, but still soft. They will puff up and then flatten out.
The following sugar cookie recipe is really great as it does not have to be refrigerated before cutting and baking. To decorate, use the cookie paint recipe and paint the cut out cookies before baking. If desired, sprinkle colored sugar to match the paint.
Sugar Cookies
1 1/3 cups shortening
2½ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Thoroughly cream together shortening, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla. Add combined dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Roll out 1/8 to ¼-inch thick on lightly floured* board and cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, sprinkle with granulated sugar (if you did not previously paint them,) and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cookie Paint
Evaporated milk
Liquid or paste food coloring
Plastic egg carton
Small, inexpensive craft paint brushes
Decorative sugars, nonpareils, etc.
Pour about 1 to 1½ tablespoons of the milk into each of several of the cups in the egg carton. Add a few drops of coloring or paste to each on until desired color is reached. Paint unbaked cookies, decorate as desired and bake in preheated oven. Remove from sheets and cool thoroughly.
Molasses Crinkles
3/4 cups soft shortening or margarine (our grandmothers used lard for this recipe)
1 cups brown sugar
1 eggs
1/4 cup molasses (Grandma’s brand, Steens brand, unsulphured)
2¼ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ to 1 teaspoon ground ginger
Cream together the shortening, sugar, eggs and molasses. Mix dry ingredients and stir into shortening mixture. Stir together until well mixed. Chill overnight. Shape into balls the size of small walnuts. Dip tops in sugar. Place sugared side up on lightly greased baking sheet. Dip your finger into some water and press down lightly on each cookie. Bake at 375ºF until cookies are just set. Remove from pan immediately. They will be puffed up and then will flatten out. The pressing down with the wet finger will give them a crinkled top.