Murray’s old big stone house, back in St. Marys, Ontario, where cookies cooled on the window ledge every Saturday

There is no dessert like a home cooked dessert.

My mother baked cookies every Saturday and put them on the window ledge in our big stone house (now designated as Canada’s Baseball Hall of Fame), back in St. Marys, Ontario. The stone window sills were about two feet wide (they don’t build them like that any more), so a couple of plates of home-baked cookies could easily sit on them, especially with the windows open.

Of course, the kids used to cut through our yard to go swimming in the St. Marys quarry, in 50-foot-deep spring water that was one-fifth of a mile long, with bass fishing that would send any fisherman to heaven. Somehow, by the end of the day, almost all of the cookies disappeared. So, in memory of my dear mother, I will pass some of these heavenly dessert recipes along for you to try.

Date Loaf

Ingredients

1 pound dates, chopped
A dash of mixed peel
½ cup sugar
2 ½ cups flour
A splash Lemon extract
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup butter
3 eggs
1 tsp. soda in a little water
1 tsp. vanilla

Method

Mix ingredients and bake in a loaf pan for about one hour at 350℉.


Butter Tarts

Ingredients

1 cup corn syrup
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 dessert spoon white vinegar
1 egg-sized pat of butter

Method

Put raisins (optional) in tart shells with mixture. Bake at 350℉. until golden brown.


Butterscotch Brownies

Ingredients

⅓ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup chopped nuts
¾ cup pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. vanilla

Method

Melt butter and pour into a bowl, then add remaining ingredients. Mix well and spread in a greased and floured 8- x 8-inch pan. Bake for 25 minutes at 350℉. (or until brown).


Gingersnaps

Ingredients

¾ cup shortening
2 ½ cups flour
¼ tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. ginger
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 tsp. molasses
½ tsp. cloves

Method

Mix first 5 ingredients. Add sifted dry ingredients. Roll in walnut-sized balls, then roll in white sugar. Flatten slightly. Bake at 350℉. for 12 minutes or until cracks appear on top of cookies.


Aunt Nell’s Best Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 6-oz. pkg. butterscotch chips

Method

Cream butter and peanut butter together. Gradually add the white and brown sugar and cream until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth. Sift flour, measure, then sift again with the baking soda and add into creamed mixture. Beat until smooth. Stir in butterscotch chips. Drop from a teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet and press lightly with a fork. Preheat oven to 350℉ and bake, about 15 minutes.

Makes 6-dozen two-inch cookies (we always had these for our baseball games).


Snowball Cooky Balls (uncooked)

The other day, while in a local store, a lady tapped me on the arm and said she just loved those old recipes in “From My Mother’s Kitchen.” She asked if I had a notepad and then jotted down how to make old-fashioned “Snowball Cooky Balls.” When I got home, I sat down and followed her notes, and the only thing I could say was yum! What a tasty treat.

Ingredients

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp. butter
½ cup walnut meats
Shredded coconut, for rolling.
1 cup Rice Krispies

Method

Mix peanut butter, icing sugar and butter well, then add walnuts and Rice Krispies. Roll into small balls. Mix up thin icing, dip balls in it and then roll in coconut.


Rum Balls (uncooked)

Ingredients

2 cups vanilla wafers, rolled (crushed) fine
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp. cocoa
1 cup icing sugar
½ cup white rum or brandy
1 tbsp. white corn syrup

Method

Roll crumbs, nut meats, cocoa and sugar together and combine with other ingredients. Roll into balls and dip into powdered sugar. Store in a cool place. Use after two hours.


Mom’s Date Squares

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups oatmeal
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. dates, cooked with ½ cup sugar

Method

Mix oatmeal, dates, flour, sugar, salt, butter, soda and baking powder together in a large bowl. Put half of the mixture in a 10- x 14-inch baking pan and spread it evenly in the pan. Add vanilla on top, then add with remaining half of oatmeal mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 350℉. until golden brown.


Marzipan Bars

Ingredients (pastry, step 1)

½ cup unsifted flour
⅓ cup shortening
1 ½ tbsp. cold water
1 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. salt

Ingredients (pastry, step 2)

Mix together:
½ cup butter
⅔ cup white sugar
2 eggs
⅔ cup rice flour
1 tbsp. almond extract

Method

Mix together to form firm pastry. Roll out on a floured board and line a square baking pan with pastry. Apply a thin layer of raspberry or strawberry jam over the pastry.

Spread mixture in bowl over the jam and pastry layers. Bake in 350℉. oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

Method (icing)

Mix together:
1 cup shortening
1 cup icing sugar
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ tsp. milk
Drop of red food colouring

These bars freeze well and add a nice festive colour to your Christmas baking.