Cookies in a Bag: Sugar cookies and Ginger cookies to deck the halls

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Bag up a couple of cookies and add hot cocoa or hot apple cider instant mixes or Keurig containers. Place wrapped candies and of course, the candy cane inside. I like the traditional red and white stripped but they are difficult to find right now. Add a bow or ribbon and a personal message: Enjoy the Moment, Thank You or Merry Christmas. Simple and easy. Good to have for that last minute “little something” for Christmas or the New Year.

Sugar Cookies

Out of all the sugar cookie recipes I’ve tried over the years, this is my favorite. The recipe is simple, the dough is easy to work with, and it really tastes like a sugar cookie. Great substitute for store-bought cookie dough.

cookiestreatsinabag 024Here You Go! Sugar Cookies: Emily, 2000

  • 1 ½ cups salted butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda


Beat butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Stir in flour and baking powder. Chill for one hour or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to about ¼ inch. Cut into shapes. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Decorate or serve plain. Makes lots of cookies! (Approximately 80 cookies; depends on the size of the cookie cutters).

cookiestreatsinabag 010Moravian Ginger Cookies: Elaine, 1960s

The earliest version I found was in the Betty Crocker’s New Picture Book, 1970s

  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Omit the following if using self-rising flour:

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • Add: ¼ teaspoon each cinnamon, ginger & cloves, dash each of nutmeg & allspice
  • Powdered Sugar, optional

Mix thoroughly molasses, shortening, and brown sugar. Blend in remaining ingredients except powdered sugar. Using hands, form into ball shape. Cover dough & chill at least 4 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough paper thin, about 1/16 inch thick, on a lightly floured cloth-covered board (I rolled the dough between two sheets of lightly floured waxed paper). Cut into desired shapes and place about ½ inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 5-8 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. Add dusting of powdered sugar if desired.

Words of Wisdom from 1943:

When God measures man, he puts the tape around the heart.

Those who say they will forgive, but can’t forget an injury; simply bury the hatchet while they leave the handle out ready for immediate use. D. L. Moody

If you are planning for one year, sow grain; ten years plant trees; but when planning for one hundred years, grow men. Chinese Proverb

Here’s a recipe from Pennsylvania. Printed in a church cookie recipe book in 1954, it’s much older. I haven’t tried it, but this is a good example of the changes that have taken place in recipes and baking over the years.

Soft Ginger Cookies: Miss Margaret Henry, printed in 1954

  • 1 quart baking syrup
  • 1 lb. lard
  • 1 lb. brown sugar
  • 1 pint sour milk
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda dissolved in milk

Flour enough to roll but not too stiff. Let stand over-night. Wash cookies with 1 egg well beaten with a little water added.

Enjoy the musical season too. Whether classical, traditional or contemporary, take a moment to sit quietly, enjoy your cookie and hot cocoa or beverage of your choice. Listen to the flow of notes and the messages the sounds have to offer. Sing along with Rudolph and don’t forget the classic, Jingle Bells. Add your halleluiahs to the earthly choir. Dance if you wish. Shed a tear for those who have passed.

Take time to find joy in the small things.