Two Turtle doves.
Hmmmmm… I am thinking that the turtle doves are a symbol of undying love and affection. In my house there is nothing that says “I love You” to my children like making cookies. All year round I am busy as a single mom making a living and I don’t do much baking. Also I don’t want to look like a female version of the Pillsbury Dough Boy so I intentionally refrain from acts of kindness that kill my figure and give my teenagers zit attacks. But now it is the month of December and I can usually resist the first couple weeks of merry making enough to get the baking done without consuming enough sugar to sweeten the Boston Tea Party.
The kids love coming home from school to the smell of fresh baked cookies so I usually start this process at the end of November. I already have some in the freezer for emergencies and at this time I am in full baking mode. We have every kind of dried fruit, nut and chocolate combination that any squirrel would want in the cupboards and I am carrying a list of decadent supplies on the list that I store in my smart phone to get the other desirables. That is for all of the new ideas I found in the magazines while standing in line at the check-out counter (you should NEVER look at those), but for today let’s look at a few of our holiday favorites that have been staple items in the Christmas pantry for at least the last hundred years in the George household. These are the recipes handed down to me by my grandmother that we make every holiday season and we get raving reviews at parties when we bring these along.
You may have found these same recipes in various places and others may take credit for them, but I have them written on scraps of paper and in a couple very old cookbooks that I have carried around long before the internet became popular. So it is my personal belief that these were handed down to my ancestors by angels or some other celestial beings and others got them from us…
My Mother’s Gingerbread
Every house should have a basic hard gingerbread cookie recipe. At our house this is it. Great for decorating and hanging on the tree. Perfect for a big tray of Christmas delights. You can bake larger pieces for a gingerbread house or make gingerbread men, stars, angels, or whatever you want…
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup soft margarine
1/3 cup molasses
2 and 1/4 cup white flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
Always cream the margarine and sugar first an then add the eggs and molasses and blend it well. Next the flour and all of the powdered ingredients. It is nicer if you mix it up and wrap it in plastic and put it into the fridge for an hour.
Heat the oven to 350 F and lightly flour a smooth surface to role it out on. Use cookie cutters to get the desired shapes. Cook for 6 to 9 minutes and watch that edges don’t get too brown.
1/4 cup of soft margarine beat until light and fluffy
Add 1/2 tsp vanilla and a dash of salt
Gradually beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar
Add 1 tablespoon of milk
Beat until light and fluffy and add color as desired
These cookies are good for hanging on the tree. They are nice and hard and look good with icing. Get some of those wire hangers from the Dollar Store to put into them. Make the holes as soon as they come out of the oven with a needle and they will harden up and be perfect as decorations. Also they are awesome for dunking in milk or hot chocolate.
Some Old Lady’s Soft Ginger Cookie Recipe
My grandmother gave me an awesome cookbook when I was fresh out of high school. It has both covers worn off and this is the second edition that I owned. It is the collection of all of the best recipes from the Preeceville, SK Ladies Legion Auxiliary. So what it really is – the compilation of the best recipes taken to potlucks by all of the Ukranian, English, Scottish and Romanian women from the area. It is my estimate that it represents about 400 years of experience or more and frankly nothing I have ever made out of that book has ever tasted less than spectacular. It has made me a legend at community gatherings and these recipes will do the same for you!
So this is the softest most delicious ginger cookie that you will ever have the pleasure of sinking your teeth into. Anyone who likes them moist and yummy will be raving for weeks…
1/2 Cup soft margarine
1 Cup white sugar
1 Cup molasses
4 Cups flour
1 Cup hot water
2 Tsp. baking soda
2 Tsp. Allspice
Cream the shortening and sugar and then add the egg and beat it well. Combine the liquids and the baking soda, then add the flour and mix it up. Drp by teaspoon full onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 F for about 8 minutes.
Watch for the bottoms to be brown. Don’t overcook them and they will be soft and delicious. They rise up real nice.
While they are still warm sprinkle the tops with icing sugar for a decorative look.
Very nice on a Christmas tray of goodies and you can easily double the recipe for larger crowds.