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Great Grandma’s Christmas Cookies

December 4, 2010

When the hub and I got married 7 years ago, my maternal grandmother gave me a recipe box.

She had inserted some hand-written recipes in the box, including this one for Christmas Cookies that was from my Great-Grandma (her Mother-in-Law).

This recipe is not for the faint-of-heart. It calls for things like 1lb glaced cherries and 1lb filberts, 5c flour and 2c butter. It’s a whole lotta cookie. But they sounded intriguing and I figured now was a good of time as any to try them out.

You’ll need:

1 lb glaced cherries (the bright red candied ones, not maraschino cherries).
1 lb chopped walnuts
1 lb whole filberts
1 lb whole pecans
1 large can crushed pineapple, drained (the biggest I could find in my grocery store was 14oz)
1 1/2 lbs chopped dates
2 c flour (to mix with the above ingredients)
2 c butter
3 c brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 t vanilla
3 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt

In a big bowl (that’s emphasized in underline on the recipe), mix together the fruits, nuts and 2c flour.

Realize the big bowl you thought you had is actually not big enough for everything. Drive 5 minutes to your parents to get the biggest bowl they have, which is still just barely big enough.

Mix together until everything is covered in the flour.

In another BIG bowl, toss the butter

and brown sugar

and cream together. I had to use my hand mixer and my biggest bowl, because my stand mixer wasn’t near big enough.

In a smaller, separate bowl beat the eggs with a fork or small whisk

and then add to the butter/sugar mixture along with the vanilla, mixing well. Now, here, I was inspired by The Pioneer Woman and added about 1/4 c. of rum to the cookie mix, but it doesn’t call for that in the original recipe.

Next, add the flour, baking soda and salt. However, as I learned, if you add the extra liquid, you need to be sure to offset it with a little more flour.

Mix well.

Now (making sure your biggest bowl is big enough) fold the fruit/nut/flour mix into the butter/sugar/flour mix, combining fully. Marvel at the arm workout you’re getting.

Then drop by spoonful on to cookie sheets (I always line mine with parchment paper, though silicone mats work well, too)

And bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes.

The first few batches I made were too flat for my taste, so I added about another 1/2 c of flour to the remaining dough, and that seemed to help.


There is definitely a lot going on in this cookie. There’s all the crunch and flavor from the nuts, plus the sweetness from the fruit. The brown sugar keeps the cookies very moist and adds a nice, slight carmel flavor. You can just barely taste the rum, I think I would add 1/2 c instead, but then double the extra flour I added. But they are very delicious, evidenced by the fact I had 6 or so cookies for breakfast today.

The recipe is huge, though. The card says it makes about 12 dozen cookies, but my final count was around 13.5 dozen cookies. That’s around 162 cookies, give or take a filbert. I think the recipe could easily be halved, but I didn’t think about it before I started the baking process. And you need to devote almost an entire day to baking these little babies. I started around 3 pm, with a few short breaks for running to get the bigger bowl from my parent’s house and cooking supper, and the last batch came out of the oven around 9:40. But they are extremely delicious and very festive.

Full recipe:

1 lb glaced cherries
1 lb chopped walnuts
1 lb whole filberts
1 lb pecan halves
1 1/2 lb chopped dates
1 lg can crushed pineapple, drained
2 c flour
2 c butter
3 c packed brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 t vanilla
1/4 – 1/2 c rum (optional)
3 c flour (or 3 1/2 – 4 if adding rum)
2 t baking soda
1 t salt

In a very large bowl, mix together the fruits and nuts. Toss with the 2 c flour until well coated.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs (beaten), vanilla and rum (optional) in a BIG bowl. Blend the 3 – 4 c flour, baking soda and salt into the butter mixture.

In an even larger bowl (or if your butter mixture bowl is large enough), fold the floured fruit and nuts into the batter.

Drop by rounded spoonful onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat. Bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes. The cookies can burn easily, so watch closely. Makes 10-12 (or 13.5) dozen.

The notation from my grandma at the bottom of the recipe: “I don’t know where [Great] Grandma got the recipe. It is delicious, but not inexpensive to make” Just like grandma!

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