Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Cookies and Memories

Taken at Easter, not Christmas, but similar setup.
When I was a kid, my mom baked cookies every Christmas. She'd go all out, baking dozens of cookies for friends, family, coworkers, teachers, you name it. It was quite the undertaking. Each batch went in a holiday-themed tin, which I suspect she bought on clearance after the holidays. Frugal, she was. I would "help," but as I was but a young reluctant domestic, I probably just got in the way. She didn't mind.

My brother and I spent Christmas 2011 apart, but thought the same thing at the same time a few days before: We should bake Mom's cookies this year. Perhaps because it was the tenth anniversary of our last Christmas with Mom.

So, we took to the internets to find recipes.  The AKA's are what we called the cookies as kids.

Peanut Butter Chips and Jelly Bars (AKA "PBJ Cookies")
From Hershey's
  • Fair warning: The dough will be dry and crumbly when you prepare it. It's OK, I promise! The jelly moistens it up.
  • Not a grape jelly fan? Use whatever flavor you like. I prefer raspberry.
Magic Cookie Bars (AKA "Coconut Chocolate Bars")
From Eagle
  • The Eagle Company is smart to create a recipe which requires 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk. Know why? Because Eagle is the only company that makes 14 ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk. The other brands at the supermarket came in 12 ounce cans. Would the cookies have missed those extra 2 ounces? I didn't want to take that risk. Eagle don't play.
  • It's way cheaper to buy graham crackers than graham cracker crumbs. Besides, crushing graham crackers by hand is a great way to release pent up aggression. Not that I have any.
  • I do not recall Mom including nuts in her bars, but I used chopped almonds and thought they were a nice addition.
Those are the only two recipes I attempted. They are both incredibly easy to make, incredibly hard to screw up, and incredibly delicious. No pictures, because I eated them (I shared!). 

Other cookies recalled from (mostly my brother's) memory include:
  • "Spiral cookies with sugary glaze"
  • "Something with saltines, chocolate, or caramel, or maybe both"
  • "Cornflakes covered in chocolate"
  • "Chocolate balls (heh)"
I'll give myself more time and try more recipes next year.  Maybe someday I'll make them with my kid.

If you remember additional cookies made by Mom, leave a comment and let me know! Even a vague description will probably jog my memory. Dad actually unearthed her recipes, so I will be making copies next time I visit.


  1. I think our moms had the same kitchen.

  2. I can testify she did share the cookies and they were great. I don't remember any specifically just that they were tins stacked on your kitchen counter and delicious.

  3. I am thinking we too had that color kitchen and possibly the couch in the background!

  4. We didn't have a couch in the kitchen...?

  5. Maybe it is a Liggan thing. My mom always made tons of cookies at Christmas - Magic Cookie Bars she called Magic Squares.
    I continued the tradition and for years made tons of cookies to give away to friends at Christmas time. Now one of my kids is starting the tradition.