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!