I know it’s almost Halloween, but I’m already looking forward to Christmas—and the release of the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection in just under two weeks! My novella is entitled The Christmas Fudge Miracle, so I thought I would post about Christmas goodies.
Christmas is such a special time of year. All of us probably have favorite traditions or memories associated with the season that we’ve cherished for years. One thing we always did growing up was bake an assortment of goodies.
Did anyone ever use the Betty Crocker Cooky Book? I used to love dragging the big, red book out every holiday and flipping through the pages with all those yummy recipes and beautiful pictures. Of course, we always baked the usual cookies—chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, sugar, gingerbread, and snickerdoodles—but it was fun to pick out something new to try. The pictures all looked so scrumptious, and we didn’t care if our finished products looked nothing like Betty Crocker’s perfectly shaped specimen.
Years later, my own daughters hauled out the very same book I had used as a child and pored over recipes just like I did. We rolled, cut out, baked, and decorated all sorts of treats as we waved away clouds of flour and scrunched on spilled sugar. One year, we got really ambitious and tried our hand at gingerbread houses. Sadly, that venture did not meet with a lot of success, but we had a lot of fun trying to get the walls to stick together and nibbling the decorations.
I still have the Betty Crocker book, and I still pull it out whenever I want to browse for cookie, brownie, or candy recipes. Just looking at the pages brings back memories of all the happy times I used the book in the past.
What special little holiday memory do you have? Did you bake any special treats year after year?
Here’s my “ancient” book (the price was $1.95) and a couple of my favorite recipes from that treasured book.
½ cup vegetable oil
4 sq. unsweetened chocolate (4 oz.), melted
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups Gold Medal Flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Mix oil, chocolate, and granulated sugar. Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. Add vanilla. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt into oil mixture. Chill several hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 350˚ (mod.). Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into confectioner’s’ sugar. Roll in sugar; shape into balls. Place about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 min. Do not overbake! Makes about 5 doz. cookies.
Note: If you use Gold Medal Self-Rising Flour, omit baking powder and salt.
1 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ¾ cups Gold Medal Flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Heat oven to 400 ˚ (mod. hot). Mix shortening, 1 ½ cups sugar, and eggs thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method or sifting. Blend flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt; stir in. Shape dough in 1” balls. Roll in mixture of 2tbsp. sugar and cinnamon. Place 2” apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 min. These cookies puff up at first, then flatten out. Makes 6 doz. cookies.
Note: If you use Gold Medal Self-Rising Flour, omit cream of tartar, soda, and salt.
Susan Lantz Simpson has been writing stories and poetry ever since she penned her first poem at the age of six. She has always loved the magic of words and how they can entertain and enlighten others. Her love of words and books led her to earn a degree in English/Education. She has taught students from Prekindergarten to high school and has also worked as an editor for the federal government. She also holds a degree in nursing and has worked in hospitals and in community health. She writes inspirational stories of love and faith and has published a middle-grade novel (Ginger and the Bully) in addition to her inspirational romances (Plainly Maryland Series and Southern Maryland Amish Romances Series). She was a finalist in the OCW Cascade fiction contest. She is a member of ACFW. She lives in Maryland and is the mother of two wonderful daughters. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, walking, and doing needlework.
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