Why do they call these cookies angel cookies? Maybe because of their simply divine taste! I was looking through my mother’s recipe box looking for the best Christmas cookie to prepare. My mother is now in heaven hopefully smiling down on me while I prepare a cookie that her, my sister and I prepared each Christmas when I was growing up. I don’t bake many Christmas cookies most years since my mother in law presents us with a box of pretty bow tied Christmas cookies and rum balls for one of our Christmas presents each year. We will visit her for the New Year this year so I broke the mold and decided to make some cookies this year. As I file through the old recipe box, I am reminded of all the food that my mother prepared with love as we were growing up. We ate very few processed foods then since everything was made “from scratch” and preserved from our garden by canning the fruits and vegetables each year. I learned how to cook at a young age and am happy about that since we prefer to eat food from its more natural state. Each recipe in the recipe box is handwritten on a recipe card .There are recipes from my mom, great aunt and grandmother. There are also recipes that my classmates and I prepared in our Home Economics class in Junior and Senior High School. It is amazing to think that these are still some of the handwritten recipes that were used by family members almost 100 years ago. The Angel Cookie was always one of my favorite Christmas cookies, second only to the sour cream cut out Christmas cookies! Of course, I have modified the recipe slightly by omitting the shortening since we do not need the trans fat or extra saturated fat from this in the recipe. People simply did not know or care about trans fats back in the day! The original recipe called for 1/2 cup shortening and 1/2 cup of butter and I used 3/4 cup of unsalted butter. Besides omitting the salt, I left the rest of the ingredients the same since I wanted them to have the same delicious taste that I remember in my younger days. The cookies can be rolled in white sugar or colored sugar such as red or green (or purple for the teenagers in your life).
The recipe is written in my mother’s handwriting but say Aunt Florence on top the recipe. Aunt Florence was my great aunt. She and her husband Uncle Orrin lived in a farm house out in the country. They were retired farmers so did not have any animals on the farm when we visited them as a child. My brother Randy, sister Tricia and I loved to visit them so we could run and play in their big farm yard. Aunt Florence kept a neat and clean farm house and was rumored to even iron her bed sheets. She was a good cook and had a pantry next to her cozy country kitchen which I thought was very cool. If we behaved, we would be rewarded with one of her crisp and delectable chocolate chip oatmeal cookies from the famous old cookie jar!
She had beautiful dark oak woodwork, an oak finished staircase which we loved to take turns sliding down and even an old fashioned oak telephone on her wall that was no longer in use but I imagined talking on this and calling Sara the operator to make my call just like Andy and Barney did on the Andy Griffith show. She and Uncle Orrin also had an old barn in immaculate condition with a ladder leading to the old hay mound which we loved to climb up and explore. They had barn dances up there in their younger years and my grandfather and grandmother on my mom’s side of the family met there and eventually married. In her younger years, she would pile my mom, her brother Bob, sister Pat and Uncle Orrin Junior in the box of her straight stick old Ford pick up and give them a ride to the nearest lake for a cool dip after a long day of weeding the garden and feeding the chickens on the farm. My Aunt Pat who was often a mischief maker I hear, decided to take a short cut through the bull pen on her way back to the farmhouse and was chased by a bull. She never ran faster in her life and made it over the fence in just the nick of time!
Another favorite part of Christmas is spending time with family and friends, enjoying favorite old and new family traditions and attending a Christmas Eve church service. Christmas time for me is also celebrating the birth of my savior Jesus Christ. I love to sing Christmas carols such as Silent Night Holy Night, Hark the Harold Angels Sing and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear in the church services. Old favorites such as Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, and I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Santa Claus is coming to Town as well as all those Perry Como, Bing Crosby and Amy Grant Christmas songs are always playing in the background while I am baking, reading or wrapping Christmas presents. Every family has Christmas traditions and I remember listening to Herb Albert Tijuana Christmas also when I was a teenager since my parents enjoyed their music. I wonder if my sister or brother ended up with that album because it is not at my house! If you miss those old Christmas carols tune in to CBNradio.com for the Christmas tunes. They even have a country western version if you are country music fan. I am also thrilled as well as thankful to be free of my former purple cast since I broke my heel last fall. I am slowly recovering, while taking physical therapy and doing my home exercises and hope to be back to walking in the white winter wonderland of Minnesota very soon! Have a blessed and Merry Christmas this year!
- ¾ cup softened butter (or margarine if preferred)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon soda
- ½ cup crushed walnuts
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add brown and white sugar, egg, almond and vanilla extract and mix together until well combined. Fold in crushed walnuts and set aside. Combine all of the dry ingredients well with a fork. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Roll into small balls and dip half of the cookie mixture into water and then roll in granulated sugar. You may use white sugar or colored green or red sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes. Cool off and serve or store in an airtight container or cookie jar.
Nutrition information was calculated using Spark Recipes Recipe Calculator.
Gluten free diets may use the gluten free flour such as Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour.
This information is not intended to provide medical advice. Please contact your personal physician, certified diabetes educator or registered dietitian for further advice concerning adjustment into your meal plan.