Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,


Posted in:

Making cookies…and memories

Few activities are more fun than spending time in the kitchen with a child or grandchild, and it is certainly the season to do so now. 

Like my daughter did, my granddaughter loves cooking with me. It is a bonding time, just like it was years ago with my grandmother. She had the patience of Job and was an exceptional cook. She encouraged me to create my own recipes, and when I did, she would carefully write them down on recipe cards. Yes, she was the best. 

Lilly, my 9-year-old granddaughter, likes cooking so much that she will ask if she can help. Like most youngsters, making cookies and cakes is her forte. She certainly has her specialties: Mexican wedding and ginger cookies. She does her own version of the wedding cookies, leaving out the nuts, but they still work well. If you like nuts, use them; if you don’t, don’t. 

The wedding cookies are quick to make, so that means she gets to eat them sooner. Her mom also likes to hang around to be the taste-tester. It becomes a productive family time for us. 

Ever since Lilly was about 3 or 4, she and I make the wedding cookies to give as gifts for teachers and friends, and, yes, to enjoy ourselves. One of Lilly’s past teachers offers to pay Lilly to make the cookies because her family likes them so much, and as a teacher, she has little free time. 

While Lilly does not make the cookies for money, she was thrilled that the cookies tasted so good. Something as small as baking cookies boosts her self-esteem, which is so important in kids. 

Since she is older, Lilly can do the whole recipe by herself, including using the stand mixer. I can supervise while she does all the work, a nice change for a grandmother. 

I enjoy watching her cook because she is so serious about it. She measures ingredients precisely, leveling off each cup or teaspoon, which is what one must do when baking; guessing or eyeballing amounts does not work. 

I love recipes that do triple- and double-duty. Our ginger cookies do just that. We can make gingerbread girls and boys, stars, Christmas trees and reindeer for Christmas. For Thanksgiving, the cookies become turkeys, pumpkins or even cornucopias. Halloween called for monsters made with green and brown candy melts and candy corn for earplugs. 

The ginger cookies are a rollout cookie. The dough, which features old-time molasses and spices, is shaped into two balls and put in the freezer to chill for about 15 minutes, which allows the dough to be firm enough to roll out and cut with cookie cutters. 

For Christmas, we sometimes paint skirts and faces on the ginger girls with candy melts or cake icing. Most craft stores and some grocery stores now sell containers of white bakery icing. I buy a large tub, stick it in the refrigerator and grab it when we make cookies. It makes for quick work of cookie baking. 

Another favorite that we like is the candy cane cookies, but these require practice for little hands. Lilly gets frustrated when hers do not turn out as uniform as she wants. 

I simply tell her that folks will enjoy eating them anyway. Cooking is not brain surgery, so let’s not stress. 

For your holiday season, here are Lilly’s favorite cookies to try with kids and grands. We hope you enjoy then as much as we do. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Happy Kwanza from our kitchen to yours.

Photo by


  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened 
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract 
  • 1 egg 
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring 
  • 2 tablespoons finely crushed peppermint cookies 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 

Stir together 1 cup sugar, the butter, milk, vanilla, peppermint extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Divide dough in half. Stir in food coloring into one half. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours. 

Heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Stir together peppermint candy and two tablespoons sugar; set aside 

For each candy cane, shape one rounded teaspoon of dough from each half into four-inch rope by rolling back and forth on a floured surface. Place one red and white rope side by side; press together lightly and twist. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; curve top of cookies down to form handle of cane. 

Bake nine to 12 minutes or until set and very light brown. Immediately sprinkle candy mixture over cookies. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. 

— Recipe from


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar 
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened (I use butter) 
  • 3 tablespoons mild-flavor (light) molasses 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 tablespoons milk 
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 

In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter and molasses with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg and milk. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg until dough forms. Divide dough into two balls; flatten each ball to make a 4-inch disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap; refrigerate for about an hour or until firm or freeze for 15 minutes. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll each dough disk into 12-by-9-inch rectangle. Cut with cookie cutters of your choice. Place an inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake six to eight minutes or until set. Do not overbake. These harden as they cool. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes. 

In a small bowl, melt candy melts in microwave for 10 seconds and repeat until melted. Place melted candy into decorating bag with end snipped to begin decorating, or use food coloring to tint bakery icing. Sprinkles can be added along with icing outlines. Chocolate chips can be used for eyes and multi-colored candies for cheeks, buttons and noses. 

– Recipe from


1 cup butter 

  • 1/2 cup white sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 2 teaspoons water 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup chopped almonds or pecans, if using 
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and water. Add the flour and almonds; mix until blended. Cover and chill for three hours. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Shape dough into balls or crescents. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. 

Remove from pan to cool on wire racks. When cookies are cool, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Store at room temperature in an airtight container. 

– Recipe from 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *