Today is St. Nicholas Day. I finally tasted Trader Joes Peppermint Jo Jos. And on Sunday I heard a wind ensemble play Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmastime is Here” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
All of this has me thinking about baking cookies, so I took out the copy of Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book my mother gave me. You can actually still buy a facsimile version of this book.
I can just see Mad Men’s Betty Draper bringing a plate of cookies from this book to the door for a group of neighborhood carolers. The funny thing is, even though I wasn’t born when the book was published, it’s my go-to source. I find the recipes are easy and delicious. If you have kids who like to bake, the assembly line approach works well with some of the fiddlier cookies.
Some of my favorites are Tiny Fudge Tarts, Holiday Spritz, Lemon Snowdrops, and Candy Cane cookies.
My kids love to help make these Cooky-Candies. They’re two steps of fiddly, but oh-so-delicious and pretty on a cookie plate. They’re dipped in melted chocolate, then sprinkles, chopped nuts, or coconut. We do mostly sprinkles – chocolate and holly berry.
Make them really small. They’re rich! I adjust a couple of the ingredients (less salt, chocolate, and milk than in the original recipe). The recipe below has the measurements I use.
Cooky-Candies (adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book)
1 cup butter
¾ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup oats (I use Quaker quick-cooking, but the original calls for rolled oats)
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon milk
Finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Chocolate Shot (yes, that’s what they called it in 1963!)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir flour and rolled oats into butter mixture.
Shape teaspoonfuls of dough into rounds, balls, crescents, triangles, and bars. Bake on ungreased baking sheet 29 to 25 minutes, or until golden around edges. Watch baking time – these are easily overbaked. Cool completely on rack.
Melt chocolate; add milk; blend until smooth. Dip cookies, rounded-side- down, in chocolate; then dip in nuts, coconut, or sprinkles.
Makes about 4 dozen.