Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Trip Down Cookie Lane

While growing up, cookies were the other food group. If there weren’t cookies in the house, it was either because we had already eaten the last ones up, or we hadn’t bought or made the next ones yet. My mother liked cookies, so that made it very nice for the rest of us, since she couldn’t eat a whole bag herself, or at least until we had all had a go at it.

Although I make most all the cookies we eat today, back then, we seemed to buy more than we made from scratch. Since Mom’s favorites were all crunchy ones, that’s what we always had around. Which was perfectly fine with me!

When I think nostalgically about cookies of bygone era (bygone because I will never again be able to eat cookies with the impunity I did as an active, normal-weight kid) I think first of the bag of odd little cookies called Hey-Days. They were based on a crispy wafer and had caramel, coconut and chocolate coating drizzled over them. Sort of a candy/cookie. Since I haven’t seen them for decades, I’d guess they are gone-gone.

When we would stop by the market to pick up snacks for working in the bee yard, we would usually grab a package of cookies. Even then, I craved variety. I especially liked the “Mother’s” assortment that had five types in the tray. Not because I was crazy about any of them, but it was because they were all different. We often got Nilla Wafers, vanilla or lemon sandwich crèmes, those hard, flat oatmeal cookies, Lorna Doon shortbreads, Vienna Fingers, Windmill cookies, and Fig Newtons, the only soft cookie available.

Once in a great while, just to be nice to us, Mom would buy those pink and white coated animal cookies with the sprinkles. Not that you could tell what animal it used to be before they encased it in that strange waxy mixture, but it was fun guessing.

We had our home-made favorites too. Toll House recipe chocolate chip, Quaker’s oatmeal cookies, Nola’s No-Bake cookies, pineapple squares from the old Blue Ribbon cookbook, and peanut butter cookies, though we never stayed consistent on the recipe for that.

My kids are going to have their nostalgic cookies too. The recipes I have used most often have now been transferred to them, and have become a standby in another generation. We like Molasses Crinkles, from an old 1950’s Gold Medal flour cookbook, and Sugar Cookies, fondly called “One-Half Sugar Cookies,” due to the peculiar measurements of one-half this and one-half that. For special occasions, we make my grandmother’s special persimmon cookies.

I am interested in seeing what cookie recipes my kids all come up with that are true keepers. Let them experiment away, trying out the oddly flavored and textured ones until that true gem appears. And please, let me in on some of the experiments!


  1. I LOVE cookies. Although, now that I'm on my own, I have found it is dangerous to bake them, as I can easily eat an entire batch - and as I too cannot just eat cookies willy nilly and still fit into my second hand pants and do not have $$ to buy new......I must use caution! I have found a solution...bake a batch of cookies and send a dozen each to each sister and a friend. This leaves approximately a dozen cookies for ME!

    I don't care for store bought cookies - except for good quality animal zoo cookies (the cheap ones taste like ick).

    Since I eat cookie dough, I have my "favorite cookie dough cookies" and my favorite "baked cookies".

    For cookie dough I like oatmeal - hands down this is the BEST.

    For baked cookies - Matt makes an excellent peanut butter cookie that he has tweaked the recipe a bit and now it's his very own. The half and half sugar cookies are delicious, although the last copule times I have made them they have not turned out (I think I have an old recipie where the butter/crisco rations haven't been adjusted). Persimmion are excellent as well. I'm experimenting with a bunch of different recipies right now and it's harder than you might think to find a keeper! I made a peanut butter oatmeal chocolate (using real bakers chocolate so it wasn't sweet) cookie recently that was "OK" but not GREAT.

    One cookie I do NOT like are chocolate chip - to greasy and sweet.

  2. Some cookies are wonderful and become "keepers" some are ok, and you make them if that type is called for, and some you make a mental note to not bother in the future.

    A list= Pineapple Bars, Goody Brownies, 1/2 Sugar Cookies, Persimmon, No Bake (for those who like them) Quakers Original, Buttery Rolled Sugar, Honeybee cookies, Shortbread, Biscotti, Sesame Seed.

    B list= Brownies, Vanilla Wafers, Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip, Pennebaker cream cookies.

    C list= ones made from cream cheese, macaroons, any of those "lace" cookies, oatmeal with peanut butter combos, tea cakes, thumbprints with jelly. It's not that I don't like these, it's that they aren't quite worth the calories or they are trickier to make than they are worth.

    Still looking for: the perfect peanut butter, chocolate crackle/crinkle, and chewy fruit and nut/spice bar.

    I'm going to invent some unique cookies. We should have a cookie contest when we next have a chance. Maybe with the others too...

  3. Your "A" list should also include gingersnaps!


  4. I *had* wondered if this post was inspired by Mel sending you one of her cookie-expresses. Her latest was pretty darn good. I really like a cookie thing I have come up with...I take a recipe that Val has for choco chip cookies, forget about the chocolate, and add cinnamon, nutmeg, and a lot of ginger. Tada! Spice Cookies!

  5. No, I haven't had the benefit of a cookie-post. Yet.
    I've been thinking about trying to make a cookie based on a strange chocolate bar that Tris bought. I'll let you know how it turns out.