Monday, December 22, 2014

Sweet Memories for Christmas

Here at the cafe we enjoy trying new recipes, but the ones passed down through generations are the ones we love. The stained, hand-copied recipe cards. The tried and true flavors. The familiar aromas wafting through the house on baking day. Such sweet memories :)

And we remember that there was a time when this ← was how we shared recipes.

This is my mom taking notes as her dad creates his specialty - someday I'll share that secret recipe with you. If I can ever learn to make it the way Grandpa did!

When I was little, my mom copied down every tasty recipe she could find, especially recipes for Christmas treats.

And since my dad was a pastor, there were many, many, many opportunities to meet new people and their recipes!

At our church in Ohio, there was a special lady who took my mom (the new pastor's wife) under her wing. Not only did she babysit for me while Mom worked as a substitute teacher, she also shared her best Christmas recipe.

Someone in my family - either my mom or I - has made a batch of these cookies every year since then...and we moved from Ohio to Michigan in 1962. That is a LOT of batches of these cookies!

Sand Tarts
a favorite family recipe from Marjorie Roby


1 cup butter (the original recipe calls for oleo, but please use butter!)
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Bring the butter to room temperature, then cream with the sugar until fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla.

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl. By the way, start with the smaller amount of flour and add more if the dough is too sticky.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/eggs mixture until blended well.

If you wish, you can divide the dough into thirds. Color one third with red food coloring, one third with green, and leave one third plain.

Now, at this point you need to make a decision. The original recipe was for rolled and cut cookies. If you want to make them that way, refrigerate the dough before rolling it out. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes.

But we've always used this recipe in a cookie press to make spritz cookies. If you do these, don't refrigerate the dough. Use your cookie press to make the shapes, and then bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes.

We moved from Ohio to Michigan the summer I turned five. That's an awfully young age, but I remember Marjorie Roby. I remember when her poodle had puppies. I remember watching a rocket launch on her television in their basement family room. I remember seeing her at church on Sunday mornings. And I remember her every time I make this recipe.

Now that's a legacy worth passing on, isn't it?


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Virginia. Writing this post brought back many sweet memories :)

    2. I love those memories! And that picture is precious.

  2. LOVE THE VINTAGE PHOTO! I've always wanted to make spritz cookies. Recommendations for a doo hickey to make them with?? I am seriously clueless.

    1. After going through many garage sale cookie presses, a couple years ago I bought a Wilton cookie press from Walmart.

      It came with directions.

      Changed my spritz cookie making days forever. :)

    2. Jan, is it an electric one or a hand pump one? Mine were pretty awful.

    3. It's a manual one, Ruthy. Just click, wait a sec, release. Easy peasy.

      But - it isn't foolproof. Quite a bit of dough gets recycled....

  3. I bought a spritz cookie maker this year after someone posted a recipe. I never have used it!! I think Christmas will be the perfect time. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Jan! Your cookies turned out beautiful!

    1. Thanks, Missy! They did turn out well, didn't they?

      And I already have to make another batch. These cookies disappear fast!

  4. I tried a cookie press -- got it at a garage sale -- and no matter what I did the dough stuck on the inside and came out in glops. LOL. Love the look though. And the memories.

    1. I think I know why that cookie press was in the garage sale!

      But seriously, I love my Wilton cookie press. So easy to use (and clean!).

  5. I miss spritz cookies! But even more there are all those memories I have. I really wished we had taken more pictures as a family.

    1. You need to come with an alternative to these, Julie :)

      And yes, the pictures are precious. I'm so glad we have them.

  6. I've never heard of a spritz cookie. never used one of those press dohickies either but looks interesting. watched a teenager make deviled eggs yesterday afternoon - she put the inside stuff in a plastic baggie and kept squishing it around then snipped a corner and squeezed into the egg halves saying she didn't think anyone did it the old fashioned way any more (I didn't say a word and didn't lie by omission 'cause techinically I don't do it the 'old fashioned' way because I simply don't make them LOL! but I may have to try that tip and make them more often...think I've done them once!

  7. these recipe are the best kind :-)

    1. Okay. I make deviled eggs the old fashioned way.

      And I love them. :)

      I agree with you - these recipes are the best!