By Kathleen M. Tenpas (Kathleen) December 12, 2012
Several years ago when our two daughters were becoming involved in activities outside the family, we decided to institute Cookie Night on the first Saturday night of December. The four of us would make, bake, frost and sample several batches of cookies, the bulk of which would be distributed to friends and family. We’d play Christmas records, make home made ice cream and spend at least this one evening together as a family.
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 8, 2007. We hope you enjoy it as we count down to Christmas, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to respond to your questions or comments.)
The first Cookie Night started out wonderfully. We all pitched in and got chores done early, ate a light supper (to save room for the cookies and home made ice cream), put the cooked custard in the ice cream maker and got down to making cut out cookies, pressed Spritz and cutting and baking the filled ice box cookies that I’d made earlier in the day and rolled into logs to refrigerate.
About midway through what had quicky become a lot of very cheerful silliness, the phone rang. It was Stan’s dad, every time his cows tried to drink, they would jump as if shocked. Stan told him it sounded like stray voltage and he’d grab his tester and be right up. There was a chorus of groans as he hung up the phone. He looked at the three of us and said, “I have to go. Save me some ice cream.” The girls and I finished Cookie Night without him, and he and I had our ice cream much later that night.
The second year began even better than the first. I’d done a little more preparation and we were into cutting out and pressing and frosting as we ate a light supper. There was a snow storm going on, the roads were horrible, no one was going anywhere. About an hour into our lovely messy goofy proceedings, we heard a truck going by much too fast for conditions. Stan stepped into the living room and watched as it skidded sideways, hit the opposite ditch and flipped onto its roof in a fortunately soft bank of snow. The driver crawled out and headed in our direction. Stan absentmindedly put the cookie he’d been frosting into his mouth and headed for the back room. “I have to go," he said. “Save me some ice cream.” The driver came in and used the phone to call a wrecker and then made a second call. Stan and he rode the tractor back down to the flipped truck and waited. Shortly after the wrecker arrived, a second truck pulled up. The driver of the pickup got into that vehicle and left the scene. The wrecker driver told Stan at that point that he wasn’t doing anything until the cops came. The girls and I took turns watching the wrecker driver and Stan clearing away some of the snow as they waited the arrival of a Sherif’s Deputy. Stan and I had our ice cream much later that night.
As I recall, we had several uneventful Cookie Nights after the first two. It was after our oldest daughter was in college that we added the element known as the boyfriend. The first time our eldest daughter’s future husband came, he was of the erroneous opinion that real men don’t frost cookies. However, as his future father-in-law appeared to be having a rather good time doing just that, he played along and soon found himself frosting away, quite adequately if a bit bizarrely.
The next year brought a second boyfriend and I decided that if I wanted to have any cookies left to give away, home made pizza must be added to the evening meal. Unfortunately, the younger boyfriend had been at basketball practice that afternoon and hadn’t had a chance to eat. After downing nearly a whole pizza, two bowls of home made ice cream and an unknown number of cookies, he turned rather green and left abruptly.
Subsequent Cookie Nights saw the addition of college room mates and different boys. It became apparent after our youngest daughter married and moved far away that it had served its purpose valiantly, but the time was past. These day, we occasionally have a Cookie Afternoon with the nearby grandchildren and our youngest daughter has instituted Cookie Night with her growing family, building a whole new generation of quirky memories.
If you want to start your own version of our Cookie Night, here is the Filled Ice Box cookie recipe from Aunt Hester Dean:
1 cup butter 1 cup white sugar 1 cup brown sugar 3 eggs 4 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt
mix together and roll out half the dough into a rectangle. Spread one of the fillings on, roll into a log and refrigerate until firm. Cut cookies 1/4 inch thick, place on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
These also make good cut out cookies.
2 cups Craisins and/or golden raisons, 1 cup pecans or walnuts chopped together ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water boil all together for one minute. Cool before spreading on cookies (microwaving for 1 minute about does it)
1 ½ cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter melted together mix with 1 cup ground nuts and spread on dough.
About Kathleen M. Tenpas
We have a grazing dairy of 55 cows in the rolling hills of western New York State where we raised two daughters who have now blessed us with four grandchildren. I have messy, jungly beds of old roses, (some real antiques left by former owners), perennials, wildflowers and lots and lots of not so ornamental grasses! I have a Masters degree in Creative Writing: Poetry from Antioch University. I am a photographer and fabric artist and I bake a mean loaf of bread.