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Food on Fridays with Ann
In memory of this much loved lady, I decided to pull from the archives and republish the recipe for “Grandma Cookies.”
I remember the back door of Grandma’s house swinging open. I can still hear the spring stretching, squeaking and pulling the door shut with a solid thunk. I can see the porcelain kitchen sink, the linoleum floor and the baker’s cabinet in which she stored the flour and baking soda and sugar that she needed to make cookies.
When my brother and I burst into the kitchen, she pulled out her green pan, a vintage roasting pan, to offer us some “Grandma Cookies.” I hunted for the ones with gumdrops or sprinkles.
When I was a teen, Grandma showed me how she made her famous cookies, and I was pleased when my mom told me that my solo attempts at home were very close to Grandma’s.
I make them now and then for my own kids, but they don’t hold the same appeal for them as they do for me. One look at these cookies—one bite—and I am transported back to that kitchen, back to the wooden table where I would sit and nibble the cookie, working my way from the outside of the circle in, closer and closer to the center. Finally, I would eat the last bite, chewing slowly, appreciating the blend of cookie crumbles and grape spice drop mixing in my mouth.
When my kids eat them, they simply eat a sugar cookie.
But I will make these cookies regularly one day, when my children grow up, marry, and bring their kids to visit. Yes, I’ll bake those cookies in big batches and store them in the green vintage roasting pan. I’ll pass them out the minute those grandkids burst in the door, and I’ll serve glasses of milk at the wooden table in the kitchen. I’ll note if they hunt down their favorites, and then I’ll watch to see if they eat around the edges, working their way to the center.
And if all goes as planned, my Grandma Cookies will become their Grandma Cookies.
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Here’s Grandma’s recipe, with a few of my annotations in brackets.
- 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
Directions: 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.
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Photo by Ann Kroeker. “Pin” these images in a way that links back to this particular page, giving proper credit.
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