One of my sons caught me and his brother at the local Home Depot to pick up our Fraser Fir Christmas tree. We generally don’t put it up this early, but like to have it ready to go. He, of course, had his traditional, “You really think that that is a Christmas tree?” as he saw us in the middle of our purchase. This is his yearly question for us. We are absolutely firm in our belief that we must do Christmas up right and that comes down to the very basic tree, it has to be up to Koerner standards.
The reason I bring this up is because I firmly believe that one thing we did right in the rearing of our children is to provide them with all sorts of traditions for every moment and/or holiday. As an educator, I saw so many children who had no traditions whatsoever and I always noticed that they seemed to hunger for them.
Religion is one of the things that was worthy of notice in the children I taught. I saw students who had one parents of differing religion. Sometimes, rather than addressing the multi-religious situation, children of such families were reared without religion. What I did notice there is that they had no major framework to use as a base for morality and decision making. It is perfectly possible to provide all of that to children without religion, but I did notice that perhaps it was not the easiest thing to do and perhaps religion at least provides the basics. Mary Kay and I felt that it was important for us to provide them with a religious base and that upon adulthood they could choose to accept and/or reject the religious training they had received. As it turns out, they have all pretty much rejected the religious aspects of their growing up, but honestly, I think that perhaps they don’t have the label, but they are all very moral people with very high standards and for that I am happy.
How the heck did I get from the Christmas tree choice to religion to cookies, which is where I am supposed to be going? Tradition! MK and I firmly believe that tradition is “glue” that holds people together. Not that you don’t have to work at it, you do, but if the basic glue is there and holding things together, it is so much easier.
Cookies, specifically the Christmas variety, are a staple of the Christmas tradition. This year, because of my “Hausherr” status, I am actually more on schedule than ever. My son, of course, asked me why the cookies are not yet being made. They are, in fact, in progress, but he had to ask that question.
Thanks to the blogs, we have two sets of cookies already made but we now need the “traditional” Koerner Christmas cookies.
So, here are the recipes, some are known by other names, but these are the cookies we all love.
1 cup shortening (Crisco) 2 1/4 cups sifted flour
3/4 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract Food coloring
Cream shortening and sugar well. Beat in egg and almond extract. Gradually blend in dry ingredients which have been sifted together and tint the dough with a few drops of food coloring. Mix well. Fill cookie press. Form cookies on ungreased cookie sheets. Decorate with candies if desired. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes. Remove at once to cooling racks.
Note: do not refrigerate before baking!
3/4 cup Crisco or margarine 1 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 egg
4 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons cinnamon 2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger 2 cups flour
Cream margarine, sugar, egg, salt, and molasses. Add dry ingredients. Roll into balls, then roll in red or green sugar. Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes.
1/4 cup butter 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup shortening 1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed) 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
Heat oven to 350°. Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. Work in flour and salt until dough holds together. Shape dough
by teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls.
Beat egg white slightly. Dip each dough ball into egg white; roll thumb deeply
in center of each. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Cool; fill thumbprint with jelly. About 3 dozen cookies.
Date Nut Bars from Mom Koerner
2 eggs 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup sifted flour 2 cups finely chopped dates
Beat eggs until foamy. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Let this mixture beat about 15 minutes because it makes a lighter dough. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into egg mixture. Add nuts and dates. Spread in well-greased 8” square pan if desired thick. If desired thin, in a 9 1/2 x 13 1/2 sheet pan. Bake in a 325 oven for 25-30 minutes. Do not overbake, as it dries out easily. While still warm, cut into squares. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
1 cup butter softened 2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
Heat oven to 400°. Mix thoroughly butter, 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla. Work in flour, salt, and nuts until dough holds together. Shape dought into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. While warm, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Cool. Or roll in colored sugar before baking. About 4 dozen cookies.