Need a last minute gift that’s sure to please everyone on your gift list? Look no further…
No one raised Christmas cookies to an art form like our Grandma, Edna Paulus did. To her, Christmas was her one opportunity to give back to all the people she loved – her family, friends and co-workers. Of course we all felt exactly the opposite. We were the fortunate ones!
Grandma started saving for and planning for Christmas on December 26th. She and Grandpa would start socking away whatever money they could spare into their Christmas Club Account at the bank. Relatives and close friends kept an eye out for tin and metal containers and stored them in a safe place until Thanksgiving. And Grandma grabbed whatever breaks she had at the University of Chicago to write or type out copies of her cookie recipes for everyone who would ask for them after sampling one of those exquisite tins. Then in November, Grandma assembled all the containers she and the rest of the family had collected. She washed and dried them carefully, lined each with waxed paper and labeled each tin with a name. The largest tins went to family and friends, medium sized to close co-workers and neighbors. Somehow, no matter how tight money was, everyone around her got a tin!
She’d bake for weeks. The cookies that stayed the best, like the shortbread and the cookie canes, would come first. The toffee bars and other cookies with nuts would have to wait until right before Christmas. Everyone who had a nose knew what Grandma was up to and believe me, weeks before, we’d start dreaming of our tin.
We don’t know how she did it, but she always knew everyone’s favorites and always made sure that we had a few more of whichever cookie we liked best. You’ll find the recipes for Grandma’s Christmas Cookies in our book “Grandma Edna’s Recipes: Desserts“. We’ve included her recipe for Toffee Bars (my favorite!) below. If you’d like to make your own tins or containers of cookies to give away, here are a few hints to keep the cookies fresh.
1. First make sure that the container has an air-tight lid.
2. Then line each one with waxed paper, to keep the metal away from the cookies.
3. Then layer the cookies, one kind at a time, putting pieces of waxed paper in between each layer and type of cookie. This way the cookies won’t end up tasting like each other.
4. Since you probably won’t have as many tins to fill as Grandma did, fill them just a few hours before you put them in the car to take them to your friend’s houses.
In fact, why not start a new tradition and give tins of cookies away every year? I know Grandma would have approved!
And to get you started, here’s the recipe for one of my favorite cookies from Grandma Edna’s kitchen Toffee Bars. Imagine a cookie made out of Almond Roca – only better! It makes any day taste like Christmas. That’s why we included it in our book Grandma Edna’s Recipes: Desserts. Enjoy!
1 cup butter 1 unbeaten egg yolk
1 cup brown sugar 2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts 6 – 10 oz sized Hershey Bars
Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolk and beat. Add vanilla, then sifted flour and salt. Spread the mixture evenly into a baking pan.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven and place a layer of Hershey bars over the entire surface of the pan then spread the melting chocolate bars softly.
Sprinkle 1 cup of chopped walnuts on the top of the chocolate. Cut into small bars while semi warm.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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