Cookie Exchange Memories

Cookie Exchange Memories

Cookie Exchange Memories

By Donna Godfrey

We did this every year when I was a child. How I looked forward to this! My Grandma made Raisin filled cookies, my aunt often brought Mexican Wedding Cookies, Another Aunt brought a rolled cookie with date filling, my mom made old fashioned sand tarts that I helped decorate. A neighbor lady brought Peanut Butter Blossoms with a candy kiss on top....I remember Cherry Winks, Woopie Pies,Snickerdoodles,fruit cake drops....So Good! We kids would gather in another room with hot chocolate and cookies and a table of craft stuff to make a project for a nursing home. Usually my Aunt Emily was in charge of that...we made Candy Trains one year,candy wreaths another,cards both times....

The ladies would make crafts too....They decorated Sweetheart Soap to look like a basket and put pearl feet on them...wonder if they still make Sweetheart South...you could paint with gold model paint the decorations around the edge, I remember. I made a lot of these as a teen. They often made a toy to give someone....

Mennonite Traditions

You see as Mennonites we did not do Christmas Trees...way back than...Christmas was a time to be together with friends,neighbors and family. It was a time to give more than receive. I remember getting one toy and one piece of clothing from my parents...grandma made us something and than we always had a fruit basket from her...each grandchild...it was filled with Oranges from Florida,Tangerines,nuts and store bought candy...what a treat! From the Aunties we would get a snowflake cut out of netting,a box of raisins with money on it and a candy cane that had been decorated. And always a book. They had a wonderful tradition of getting us all a old book...2 I really remember...The Wide Wide World which I want so much but the price is too dear...mine was stolen....And my all time favorite book."The Shepherd of the Hills" by Harold Bell Wright. I had a assignment written on a index card with that one....I had to read it and tell Aunt Emily how I saw the Thread of Salvation in that one. It is there! One year they gave me a book called "The Little Mixer' by Lillian Nicholson Shearon..my Copy is 1945.

Gratitude at the Holidays

But we did so much for others....it started Thanksgiving which is why I am writing this...My Grandma believed in Gratitude and she expected us to be grateful..She expected us to do things for each other and anybody during the month of December. She expected a full report on Christmas Day. The idea was that we were to do more for others and think less of what "we wanted" for Christmas. So each Thanksgiving she gave us a pocket sized notebook and we were to record what we did for others. She would have verses written in the beginning of the book to remind us Jesus wants us to give. Than every few days we would get a card in the mail to remind us or a phone call to hear what we were doing. I remember my mom would not take me to the firehouse in town and I wanted to give them muffins I had baked. So grandma drove about 15 miles one way to help me deliver them. She brought along some of her homemade candies to go with them and a big pot of old fashioned hot chocolate. Than we stopped and picked up a few toys and wrapped them for the whoever had or would lose all they had in a fire. The firechief was so thankful and called later to say that night a family lost all and he remembered that package in the truck and gave it to the mother for her kids to have in the motel that night. So from than on she dropped off toys every grocery day.

This is the example I had in life and I am thankful for it. So use the recipes I have sent for coffees and goodies and make some extra and drop them by the firehouse,the place that changes your tires,your doctors office or the breakroom of your grocery store.

COOKIE EXCHANGE PARTY

Share the gift of goodies and friendship by hosting this delightful Christmas gathering that is tradition in our home. It takes a bit of planning and friends who are willing or have time to bake (that's the hard part in this day and age!), but is such fun!

First, you must decide how many friends you will invite to the party. I tend to keep it small and intimate--never more than ten. (To simplify these instructions, I will use ten as my example). Invite your ten friends and ask them to choose what kind of cookie they are going to make. Coordinating this will keep you from getting duplicates. Ask each of your friends to make ten dozen of their cookie recipe. (If this just sounds like too much, you can do 5 dozen--allowing each person to leave with 6 of each of the different cookies.) Ask that each dozen (or half dozen) cookies be packaged separately --don't forget to include the recipe. Each guest can choose the packaging they would like to use--from simple bags with ribbons to more elaborate tins or boxes. Just make sure they understand that they will be bringing 10 individual packages of their cookie recipe --and will be going home with 10 packages of different type cookies. Yummy!

As the hostess, you have many options for this little gathering. You may ask each guest to bring an extra dozen of their cookie to have during the party. You can serve different coffees or teas--don't forget big mugs of ice-cold milk! Cookie overload? Then you might want to do a brunch with each guest bringing a dish. I've done a pot of chili and asked my friends to bring the fixin's and desserts. If you are crafty, you could also do a "make-it & take-it" craft, decorate wrapping paper or work on your Christmas Cards. Whatever you decide to do... have Christmas music playing and enjoy your time together.

Cookie Recipes!

My grandma would add rum to them for Christmas...she added it when she cooked the filling. The first is what many people make...the spiced ones are so good with coffee and spiced tea!

Raisin Filled Cookies

Dough:

3/4 c. shortening

3 eggs

4 c. flour

2 c. sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together, roll out on floured table, cut into pieces.

Filling:

1 c. sugar

1 c. water

1 c. raisins

3 tbsp. corn starch

1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1/8 tsp. salt

Mix, cook till thick and clear.

On one piece of dough place about a tsp. of filling. Cover with another piece of dough, pressing edges together (opt. with fork).

Bake at 350°F for 20-35 min.

Spice/raisin filled cookies

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup water

1 cup raisins

1 1/2 teaspoons butter

1 pinch salt

2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk

1 In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine the 1/3 cup of sugar, water, raisins, butter and pinch of salt. Bring ingredients to a boil, and cook until thick, you should be able to see the bottom of the pan while stirring when finished. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

3 Sift together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, salt and baking powder, set aside. In a medium bowl, cream shortening and sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, mix until blended, then finally stir in the milk.

4 On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2 inch circles. Place a teaspoon of filling onto the center of half of the cookies. Cover with the other half of the cookies. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with sugar and bake on unprepared cookie sheets for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven.

About the Author

Donna had the privilege of growing up in a Mennonite family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is married and lives in Georgia. Donna has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. She also writes a Column called Cooking with Don, which you can sign up for here and another list called Sites for Learning

Cookie Recipes!

Spicy Cookies

Dainty Cookies

Chocolate Spots


 
 
 

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