Get ready – get set – bake…

Ok, ladies, children and all, it’s time to bake Christmas cookies. Here are a bunch of my favorites; most of them have been in my files for many, many years.
This has been a busy week for me as we were in the count-down with tickets for the beautiful, handmade quilt the Auxiliary was giving as the prize in our Annual Fall Fundraiser, which we finished with today. It was won by a local lady who, as it turned out, had worked for the hospital for a lot of years. We are all so happy for her.
The recipe for these cookies came from the late Mrs. Bess Polk; she brought cookies to us at the paper many years ago. When we asked for the recipe, she said we could have it but they didn’t have a name as she had used more than one recipe! So, we told her we would call them Bess’s Messes and the name stuck. They are really delicious.
Bess’s Messes
2/3 cup canola oil
1½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk, (skim is OK)
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ teaspoon salt
1/ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2½ cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant, nor old-fashioned)
¼ cup dry, oat bran, high fiber hot cereal (use dry)
1 cup raisins
Heat oven to 350ºF. combine oil and brown sugar in large bowl; stir to mix. Lightly beat eggs, milk and vanilla, and add to first mixture. Stir together to mix well. Stir together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon and add to above. Mix well until all dry ingredients are incorporated into mixture. Stir in oatmeal, oat bran and raisins. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto lightly sprayed baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned, tops will not brown. Allow to cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove from pan, place on rack and cool thoroughly.
Easy Sliced cookies
1 cup butter margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed Stir in remaining ingredients. Divide into 3 equal portions. Shape each portion into a roll about 1½-inches in diameter. Wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 400ºF. slice rolls into 1/8-inch slices. Place about 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until golden brown around edges. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to wire rack; cool completely.
This recipe for “Good Cookies” is from a great-aunt of mine who brought them to Grandma’s house frequently. As I began using recipes and different cook books, I found them listed under at least four or five names, but, they truly are good.
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.
Stir and Drop Cookies
2 eggs
2/3 cup cooking oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400ºF Beat eggs with fork until well blended. Stir in oil, vanilla and lemon rind. Blend in sugar until mixture thickens. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; add to egg mixture. Dough will be soft. Drop by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly by pressing lightly with a glass dipped in sugar. (Lightly spray or oil glass, dip in sugar, flatten a couple of cookies, continue dipping in sugar as you do each cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet immediately. Cool completely.
Molasses Crinkles
1½ cups soft shortening or margarine (our grandmothers used lard for this recipe)
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
½ cup molasses (Grandma’s brand, Steens brand, unsulphured)
4½ cups flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
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.
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
2½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Beat together until creamy, the shortening, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs; then stir in the flour, baking soda and salt with a spoon. Roll into small balls. Place on cookie sheet; dip fork in flour and flatten balls in criss-cross pattern. Bake at 400ºF for 10 minutes.