“Dear Mom: Send Cookies!”


Cookies from home! For the person who is away from home—on a mission, in the service, at college, or for any other reason—a batch of homemade cookies is like manna from heaven.

The holiday season is a time when such treats are doubly appreciated. Your own children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors, and sweethearts are all candidates for receiving a home-baked treat. And what distant grandmother wouldn’t appreciate a tasty packaged treat prepared by a thoughtful granddaughter!

Whoever the recipients are, they usually rate the family favorite cookie—chocolate chip, oatmeal, applesauce, or whatever—at the top of the list. But it’s also nice to send a new kind for variety.

The secret of having cookies arrive moist and whole rather than dried out and in a pile of crumbs is to not overbake them and to store them in tight containers until you are ready to wrap and mail them. Wrap each cookie individually in a small piece of waxed paper to preserve freshness, and pad well between layers to protect from bumps. Be sure to use small tins or very sturdy boxes to pack the cookies in.

And don’t forget to mail early! Cookies are always welcome in February, but are even more appreciated if they arrive in time for the holidays.

While you are baking for those away from home, don’t forget family and friends nearby. Bake several large batches of cookies of different varieties and then put a few of each kind into freezer bags. When company knocks at the door, you can pull out a bag of cookies with a nice assortment to thaw on a plate.

And don’t be afraid of cracking a tooth on an ice-hard, unfrozen bar. By the time the guests’ coats are hung, the greetings exchanged, the children hugged and kissed and exclaimed over, the plate of cookies will be thawed out and ready to serve.

Our favorite cookies are those that are soft and moist. Following are five of these treats.

The fruit cocktail cookies have added moistness from the addition of a well-drained can of fruit cocktail to the dough. Since these cookies are especially yummy as they come right from the oven, be sure to bake a few extra for those home nibblers.

Peanut butter fans (and who isn’t!) will enjoy the peanut butter cookies with a new twist: the addition of grated raw apple.

Another drop cookie favorite that travels or freezes well has loads of mincemeat and spices. And oatmeal cookies, our old standby, are made doubly moist and delicious with the addition of mashed bananas. It’s a tasty way to use up left-over bananas that are too ripe for eating plain.

And finally, raisin bars are delicious not only for the holidays, but they also pack well in a picnic basket in the summer. Their flavor improves with standing, and should there be any extras, they are easily frozen.

(Note: You may wish to adjust the recipes if you live at a high altitude, adding 25 degrees to the oven temperature and cooking them in a shorter time.)

Fruit Cocktail Cookies

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup shortening

3 eggs

1 large can (approx. 1 lb, 14 oz) fruit cocktail, well drained

3 tablespoons juice from fruit cocktail

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups nutmeats

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and mix well. Add fruit cocktail, the 3 tablespoons fruit cocktail juice, molasses, and vanilla, and mix well. Sift together flour, soda, and spices; stir into batter. Add raisins and nuts and mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet; bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until just barely done. Cool; then wrap for mailing or freezing or store in cookie jar.

Peanut Butter-Raw Apple Cookies

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 cup grated raw apple

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup nuts, if desired

Mix well together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and apples (unpeeled, if you like the added color, or peeled if you prefer a smoother texture). Sift together and add the flour, soda, and cinnamon. Stir in nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet and bake at 325° F. for 15–17 minutes or until lightly browned.

Mincemeat Cookies

1 cup shortening

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 1/2 cups mincemeat or canned mincemeat pie filling

1/2 cup water

Nuts, if desired

Cream shortening and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Sift flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together and add alternately with mincemeat and water. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° F. until set and lightly browned (approximately 12–15 minutes).

Oatmeal-Banana Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup ripe mashed banana (approx. 2)

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon soda

1 3/4 cups rolled oats

Nuts, if desired

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and bananas. Mix well. Add sifted dry ingredients, oats, and nuts. Place teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350° F. for 12 minutes or until done.

Raisin Bars

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 cups water

1 1/3 cup shortening

2 cups raisins (or currants)

2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup nutmeats

In large saucepan combine water, sugar, shortening, raisins. Bring to a boil and boil 3 minutes. Cool. Combine dry ingredients and sift into cooled mixture; blend well. Add nuts. Spread evenly in greased and floured 9-inch square pan. Bake at 325° F. for 45–55 minutes. Cool. Store in pan, tightly covered. Frost if desired for home use.

Sister Moultrie, a graduate nurse, homemaker, and mother of three children, teaches Relief Society and is Sunday School secretary in the Woodland (Washington) Ward, Columbia River North Stake.