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Top > Family Traditions > Cookies and Recollections; A Great Conversation Starter
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Cookies and Recollections; A Great Conversation Starter

Last winter, my kids and I dug into my grandmother’s old tin recipe box in search of a treasured family cookie recipe that my mother and grandmother used to make. Later, my girls and I put together baskets, with a variety of cookies, for their aunts and uncles. In each basket, we also tucked the recipes of their favorite childhood cookies. This provided a great chance to reminisce with my siblings and it naturally led to conversations about our childhood, our grandmother and the many wonderful hours spent cooking with her, side by side, in the kitchen. It also provided a chance to pass on the family lore to my children. They were intrigued to hear stories about war rations, their great grandmother who baked 2 pies everyday to feed the farm hands, leftover pie every morning for breakfast, picking fresh raspberries from the garden, and that new fangled "electric mixer" which inevitably sent batter flying across the kitchen.

Create your own basket of recollections. You can expand this idea to include your own favorite family recipes, a beloved childhood book or toy, seed packets reminiscent of a summer garden, or anything that will stimulate a lively family discussion among generations.

Recipe: Great Grandmother’s Sand Tart Cookies

2-cups (4 sticks) softened butter
2-cups sugar
2 eggs well beaten
3-cups twice sifted flour
1-teaspoon vanilla
1/4-cup sugar mixed with 1-teaspoon cinnamon
1/2- cup finely chopped pecans
1 additional egg, white only (do not beat)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs. Stir. Add the vanilla.
4. Add the sifted flour, a little at a time.
5. Drop the dough from the tip of a teaspoon, about 2-inches apart, onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Place a small dish with the cinnamon/sugar mixture and another dish with the egg white next to your cookie sheet.
7. Using your finger, dab a little bit of the egg white onto the top of each cookie. Sprinkle with a small amount of the cinnamon/sugar mixture and chopped pecans.
8. Bake 6-8 minutes. Be careful. These cookies burn easily.

About the Authors: Rondi Hillstrom Davis and Janell Sewall Oakes are the co-authors of the award-winning book Together: Creating Family Traditions. To check out their website that's jam packed with family ideas, visit

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