Food on Fridays: Behold, Grandma Cookies!

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Here at the Food on Fridays carnival, any post remotely related to food is welcome—though we love to try new dishes, your post doesn’t have to be a recipe.If you want, you could tell us what you’re going to plant this year in your garden, or the first thing you’ll buy at the farmer’s market when it starts up this spring season. Basically we’re pretty relaxed over here. Posts that tell stories involving food are as welcome as menus and recipes.

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Food on Fridays with Ann

Well, I made “Grandma Cookies” on Wednesday. The recipe makes quite a few cookies, so we’ve been eating one or two (or three or four) each day.

Thursday afternoon it occurred to me I was eating them exactly the same way I did when I was little: nibbling along the outer edges, around and around, all the way to the gumdrop center, saving that chewy bite for last.

I’m so glad to share these cookies with my kids. And I’m so glad to share them with you, as well.

Here’s the recipe again, for easy reference:

“Grandma Cookies”


  • 1 C shortening (oleo or oleo and part butter) [Note: instead of oleo, I combined 3/4 C butter and 1/4 C cooking oil]
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C sour milk [Note: to make “sour milk,” stir in just a teaspoon or so of vinegar to make it curdle]
  • 1 t soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t vanilla
  • about 4 cups of flour or more as needed


Cream shortening and sugar, and beat in eggs. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with milk to egg mixture. [Note: I recall that alternating the dry and wet mixtures was key to success.]

Drop by teaspoons on cookie sheet. In the middle of each teaspoonful of dough, stick a gumdrop or a piece of walnut or pecan in the middle, or sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until done.

I have this note on the recipe from Grandma: “I used to roll out the dough and use cookie cutters. Now I drop by teaspoons right on the cookie sheet to bake.”


My mom happened to be visiting the day I was baking them, which was handy because she’s intimately familiar with the original Grandma Cookies. She could offer taste and texture advice.

She watched my process, observing the rather large dollops I placed onto the cookie sheet, and the too-moist dough. All she advised at that point, however, was how to push the gumdrops (actually called “spice drops”) into the center a bit. She pointed out that Grandma always put a piece of nut in the center, like a pecan or walnut.

“Well, I only ate the cookies with gumdrops or sprinkles on top,” I admitted. “I know you’d prefer the ones with nuts, but Grandma’s not here, so I made the call. They’re all gumdrops.”

She grinned and said that’s fine, but I think we both winced when I said “Grandma’s not here.”

We continued plopping, baking and evaluating.

After this too-big/too-moist batch, she recommended we add flour and drop smaller blobs, which we did. They turned out much better.

As we sat down for a formal taste test, I felt like we were traveling across the years, the flavor transporting us back to the kitchen with linoleum flooring and a porcelain sink, where I enjoyed my first Grandma Cookies, the originals, baked to perfection.

Back at my own kitchen table, we concluded that these Grandma Cookies weren’t perfect, but they’re close. I think I’ll get it. I just need more practice. So it looks like I’ll make more Grandma Cookies. Lots of Grandma Cookies.

And maybe by the time I’m actually a grandma, I’ll have them perfected.

Photos of “Grandma Cookies” by Ann Kroeker.


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  • Comments

    1. Yum. : )

    2. Hi Ann. Your cookies look great. I’m sitting here wondering if I could make a similar gluten, dairy and sugar free version. Hmm… I’ll have to think about that! Thanks for hosting Food on Fridays!

    3. Thank you so much for sharing your grandma’s cookie recipe – it looks delicious – and so special.

    4. It’s great when food brings us back to our childhood. Eating around the edges! I love it. (And, I’d really love to try those.)

    5. What beautiful cookies – and I love that they have such wonderful memories attached to them. I think I will use all gumdrops when I make them too :)

    6. I loved reading about your Grandma Cookies! They look wonderful!

      I would probably nibble them the same way! :)

    7. Hi Annie my sweet! What lovely cookies from your grandma! We called gum drops spice drops as a child because they always had weird flavors like teaberry and all spice in our house! I am linking up a lovely fluffy rice pilaf recipe I got from Mark Bittman! All the best, Alex

    8. A latecomer to the linky list this week, but I had to share one of my Grandma’s cookie recipes! As I mentioned last week, I was in the airport on the way to see her when I read your original blog post, which prompted me to ask her and my mom about a certain kind of cracker cookie I remembered. I made them with my kids today. Sweet memories! Thanks for touching it off… ~~ Virginia

    9. My Grandma made cookies with walnuts in the center. Mom usually made oatmeal cookies with raisens and nuts. Your photos bring back sweet memories of sweet treats.

    10. You keep grandma with you when you make these wonderful cookies.


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