Tag Archives: cookies

Cookie Jar Ginger Snaps


Just about every recipe from my great-grandmother is guaranteed to be good. This one certainly lives up to expectations; I think I may need to put a lock on the cookie jar to keep myself out. While I was taking the “finished” picture of these cookies, I ate at least three of them. It may have been more, I’m not quite sure. The flavor balance is everything I could want in a classic ginger snap… spicy and sweet, with a ginger “bite” that doesn’t overpower, and a very mild salt finish.

You have been warned: addictive recipe ahead.

I advise not cutting corners when baking these cookies. Go ahead and sift the dry ingredients twice. It is mildly time-consuming, but the final texture is well worth it: incredibly crisp and crunchy, but light as a feather. By the same token, do cream together the sugar and shortening before adding everything else. This step works even more air into the final dough, ensuring the desired degree of lightness.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar, plus more to coat dough balls
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt twice.


In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar.


Mix the egg and molasses into the shortening mixture.


Add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing well.


Form the dough into 1-inch balls, and roll in excess sugar.


Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown.


Makes 3 dozen cookies.

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Chocolate Almond Pinwheels

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Oh hey, a tasty cookie recipe! And just in time for Valentine’s Day! You’d think I planned it that way. (Actually, I didn’t. I don’t celebrate the holiday. I just like cookies. :) ) These are a bit of work to put together, but they’re quite good once baked. The cookies are quite small – about 1.25 inches in diameter at the largest – but I guarantee that you won’t want to eat just one. Chocolate-wise, the flavor isn’t terribly strong, but the almonds come through nicely and add extra crunch. It’s like eating a small, round biscotti. Enjoy these with a nice cup of coffee or tea.


  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 ounce baking chocolate, melted



In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.


Add the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla, and mix well.


Stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder.


Add the almonds, and mix well.

Divide the dough into two equal parts, and mix the melted chocolate into one part. (I had a picture of the chocolate dough, but my camera completely messed up – results not fixable in Photoshop. Oh well!)

Chill the two dough halves for at least an hour.

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Roll out both halves on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick, working quickly.


Place the chocolate dough on top of the white dough and press together with the rolling pin. Don’t worry if the dough tears during this process and must be “patched together”: once you slice the cookies, everything will look just fine.


Roll up the dough along the longest side.

Wrap the roll in aluminum foil, and chill for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Slice the dough into 1/8 inch slices, and place on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until cookies are light brown on the bottoms.


Makes 4 dozen cookies.

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Oatmeal Cookies


Oatmeal cookies were one of my favorite treats when I was a kid. They were fun to make, and even more fun to eat. This is the same recipe that my mother used; it is titled “Jenny’s Oatmeal Cookies”. I do not know for certain who Jenny was, but she made a very fine cookie.

The cookies will be light and mildly chewy, if you cream the shortening and sift the flour. If these important steps are overlooked, the end product will still taste great, but the texture will be very dense. I don’t have any more notes on this recipe, because it is so simple to make. Anyone can bake these great oatmeal cookies – and should!


  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a large bowl, cream the shortening.


Add the white sugar and brown sugar, and mix well.


Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and mix well.


Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, and add to the mixture.


Stir in the oats.


Form the dough into 1 inch balls, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown on the bottoms.


Makes 5 dozen cookies.

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Peanut Butter Cookies


My great-grandmother’s house had an architectural layout which, as a small child, I absolutely loved. The front door, kitchen, cookie jar, and magnolia tree out back were all in a straight line. It was the perfect flow: from hugs, to cookies, to tree climbing. And at my great-grandmother’s house, the cookie jar was always full.

These were the cookies that she always had available whenever we came over. They have a wonderful “sandy” texture which, as far as I am concerned, is the only way that peanut butter cookies should be. There are two other variations listed on this recipe: one involving chocolate chips and nuts, and one involving nuts and cocoa. I haven’t ever tried either one, because the peanut butter variation is so good!

There is no need to roll out or freeze these cookies: just make dough balls, grab a fork, and decorate them with the traditional cross-hatching. It is worth noting that the cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 month, or frozen for up to 3 months (or more: your mileage may vary).


  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.


Add the peanut butter, and mix well.


Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix well.


Make the dough into 1 1/2 inch diameter balls, and place them on a baking sheet.


Mash the tops of the cookies with the tines of a fork to create a cross-hatch pattern.

Bake for 10 minutes.


Makes 4 dozen cookies.

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Cinnamon Drops


From this recipe card’s appearance, I can deduce certain things. First, that it was a recipe belonging to my great-grandmother: only she used the typewriter to generate recipes. Second, that I have made this recipe before, although I have no memory of doing so. My childish handwriting appears in a few places, specifically noting “double this recipe”. Finally, I can divine that this is clearly a delicious cookie recipe, because the card has stains from decades of use.

When I was making these cookies, I ran out of molasses. The recipe calls for a full cup of molasses, and I only had 3/4 of a cup. Disaster? Not so! I made up the remainder of the “sweet stuff” with honey, and the flavor was so good that I have decided to make the modification permanent. The honey flavor is subtle, but it lends an additional dimension to the profile.

It may seem strange to add boiling water to a recipe which includes an egg. The reason for this is simple: the molasses (and honey) are very sticky, and in order to successfully mix the dough, it is beneficial to soften the texture. The dough will look a bit odd when you add the boiling water, because the egg does react, but I promise that the cookies will turn out just fine. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.

I have no idea why I wrote “double this recipe” on the card. The note at the bottom is absolutely correct: the yield really is 5 dozen cookies. Perhaps, in my youthful exuberance, I decided that this was an insufficient number? Who knows. They are absolutely addictive: soft and tender, with a flavor similar to but gentler than gingerbread. The cinnamon-sugar coating lends a mild rasp to the cookie’s exterior, which makes them fun to eat. Be warned… only those possessing an extraordinary level of self-control will be able to face these cookies and only eat one.


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and 1/2 cup of the sugar.


Add the egg, molasses, and honey, and beat until light.


Add the boiling water, flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl, and mix well.


In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar.


Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls into the cinnamon sugar mixture, and roll to coat well.

Bake on greased baking sheets for 8 minutes, or until the cookies are a light brown on the bottom.


Makes 5 dozen cookies.

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Turtle Cookies with Chocolate Frosting

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I think that my mother may have been a little distracted when she wrote this recipe. The vanilla is added to the cookie dough twice, and she forgot to include a baking temperature! There are times when I wish that I could ask the authors of these family recipes what to do. I am, however, thankful that their instruction gave me the skills to solve such dilemmas.

These cookies are extremely rich and well-flavored; the brown sugar gives them an almost brandy-like undertone. They are “turtle” in flavor, if not particularly terrapinal in appearance. Every time is a good time to enjoy cookies, but for those seeking justification, serve these as an accompaniment to morning coffee, evening cocoa, or afternoon tea.



  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • Approximately 1 cup pecan or walnut halves


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the Cookies:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, water, and vanilla extract.


Stir in the flour, and mix well.


On an ungreased baking sheet, place 1 inch balls of the cookie dough.


Press a pecan or walnut half into the top of each dough ball.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. The cookies will not spread or “brown”, but the bottoms of the cookies will become a light golden brown.

Cool the cookies on a rack while preparing the frosting.

For the Frosting:


Heat the butter and water in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted.


Add the cocoa, and whisk until blended. Remove from heat.


Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla.


Top each of the cooled cookies with a spoonful of frosting.

Makes 20 cookies.

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