Saturday, December 7, 2013

I sure do like those Christmas cookies …

Baking cookies is one of my favorite activities of the Christmas season. I enjoy baking sugar cookies - as the song goes, "The ones that look like Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and bells, and stars." I also enjoy using older family cookie recipes this time of year. 

For this particular post, I am sharing cookie recipes from two of my great aunts. These great aunts were two of my maternal grandmother's older sisters. Both were born and lived their lives in southwestern Minnesota. The recipes I am sharing reflect a time when cookie recipes were much simpler and precede the introduction of the chocolate chip. One of the recipes features raisins and the other features molasses, common ingredients of the time for cookies, cakes, and other "sweets." Both also feature stirring baking soda into a warm liquid, a common step in recipes of that day. The idea behind this practice was to give the baking soda, a leavening agent, a bit of a jump start in the rising process. Here are the recipes. I hope you will enjoy them.

Great Aunt Emma's Raisin Puff Cookies
1 cup raisins
1 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

Simmer the raisins and water together on the stove. Drain the water, leaving approximately 1 tablespoon or so. Stir in the soda and set aside. Cream together the butter/margarine, sugar and vanilla. Mix in the eggs. Stir in the flour and salt. Fold in the raisins. Note: if the dough seems a bit sticky after stirring in the raisins, add some extra flour as needed. Shape the dough into teaspoon-sized balls. Roll the tops of the balls in sugar. Bake at 10-15 minutes at 350ºF.

Great Aunt Clara's Molasses Cookies
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup shortening
4 tsp baking soda mixed in 4 tsp hot water
2 eggs
3/4 cup molasses
4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream together the sugar and shortening. Mix in the soda and water mixture, eggs, and molasses. Stir in the flour and cinnamon. Shape the dough into teaspoon-sized balls. Roll the tops of the balls in sugar. Bake at 15 minutes at 350ºF.

Ok, true confession time now. I do have to admit that I enjoy watching Duck Dynasty. While I am not one to follow the show on a weekly basis (I simply don't have time to follow any show on a weekly basis), I do enjoy finding a repeat episode to watch when I do have the time to turn on the television. That being said, I am planning to watch their Christmas special on December 11. In the spirit of this blog about Christmas cookies, here's the Duck Commander singing the Christmas Cookies song along with George Strait. Enjoy!