Cookie exchange

November 26, 1997

Cookie exchange

Nothing warms the heart more than a cup of cocoa, your favorite Christmas cookies and memories of baking them with someone you love.

It's become a tradition at The Herald-Mail to ask readers to share their favorite Christmas cookie recipe. This year, we also asked them to tell us why the recipes are special.

Here are some of their memories:

- Teri Johnson, Staff Writer

Mildred Burkett of Greencastle, Pa., says she came from a big family, and Gumdrop Cookies were the favorite of her mother, who is deceased. The children always took their teacher some at Christmas.


Burkett still makes the cookies for her four grandchildren, and they enjoy taking them home.

Rumford Sugar Cookies have been a tradition in Priscilla L. Weaver's family for at least 52 years.

"In a gift exchange at school one year, I received a cookie cutter and rolling pin set. Mother mixed up a batch of this recipe so I could use my cookie cutters," says Weaver, a Hagerstown resident.

Weaver has been a field editor for the national magazine Taste of Home for five years and says she often exchanges recipes.

Twenty-eight years ago, when Mildred Shryock moved to Maugansville, she purchased a "Cooking Favorites of Maugansville" cookbook from the fire company auxiliary.

"One snowy day when our daughter was out sledding with her friends, I decided to make cookies for when they came home," she says.

Shryock chose a recipe from the cookbook, Children's Delight Cookies, and the children loved them.

"Needless to say, the cookies lived up to their name. I have made them many, many times since," she says.

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints are one of Pamela Leitma's favorite cookies to make for the holidays.

Leitma, of Hagerstown, says the cookies are easy to make, and she has been baking them for about six years.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies have been a fall tradition in Debbie Sayler's family for the past 10 years.

It started as a pumpkin nut cookie recipe, but the Hagerstown resident replaced the nuts with mini chocolate chips to please the chocolate lovers in her family, then added some coconut.

It wouldn't be Christmas without the smell of cookies baking, says Judy Kline of Hagerstown.

Kline's mother encouraged her to test her talents in the kitchen, and they baked Sand Tarts every Christmas. Kline also received them in "care packages" while she was away at college.

Kline last baked the cookies for her mother in 1982.

"She was very sick that Christmas, so I thought I'd travel to Harrisburg and fill my parents' home with the smell of freshly baked cookies," Kline says. "Needless to say, Sand Tarts were on the menu. Though Mom is gone, I carry on her tradition every year."

Rosemarie Funk got the recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from a friend in Florida about three years ago.

"It is great for get-togethers and holidays," the Hagerstown resident says.

Sylvia Bloom of Waynesboro, Pa., has been making Peanut Butter Cookies since 1982. She likes the recipe because it has only four ingredients, and she can make three dozen cookies in a half hour.

Aunt Ida's Pineapple Cookies make Christmas special for Patricia A. Naugle of Greencastle, Pa.

The cookies are Naugle's favorite, and she has been baking them for 25 years.

The cookies were named after Aunt Ida Carbaugh of South Mountain, Pa., who starts the baking season by making fruitcakes for family and friends. She then makes 10 or 15 different types of cookies, as well as pies and candies, and gives them to friends and relatives for the holiday, Naugle says.

"At a mature age, she is an inspiration to all her family by the way she loves and gives of herself unconditionally all year round," Naugle says.

When Sandra D'Onofrio was a child, her mother made many kinds of cookies at Christmas.

"We wrapped coffee cans in foil and zig-zagged colorful tape so the packages looked like silver drums, and we filled them with cookies for our friends," says D'Onofrio, of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Her mother always made Scottish Shortbread, usually with tinted green dough and cut in small, thick, leaf shapes. Many years later, D'Onofrio discovered the same recipe made wonderful thin cutouts.

They also became an integral part of her family's Christmas cookie baking marathons, and she would glaze them and sprinkle colored sugar on them.

"To this day my sons (in their 30s!) insist on these thin shortbread cookies every Christmas, but in only two shapes: bells and stars. And they must have blue sugar. Only blue. No substitutes."

Leslie Decker says her grandmother always would give family members a tin of their favorite cookies along with their Christmas gift.

As part of the tradition, Decker was allowed to return the tin for one refill throughout the year, and Jan Hagel Cookies were Decker's favorite.

"Now that my grandmother is older and doesn't cook anymore, I make these cookies for her," says Decker, of Mercersburg, Pa.

She has been baking for her grandmother, who lives near Philadelphia, for about seven years.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies have long been a favorite of Sherry Finkel of Boonsboro.

She says her neighbor, Susie Keller, shared the recipe with her years ago.

Beth Close of Hagerstown has made Banana Oatmeal Cookies for about 10 years.

"I originally tried the recipe because I thought it would be something my dad would be able to eat easily," Close e-mailed. "He was diagnosed with mouth and throat cancer and had to have radical surgery to remove his mandible, which made it very difficult for him to chew and swallow.

"As it turned out, this was one of his favorite cookies."

Close's father passed away in December 1994, but she still makes these cookies every year because they are her favorite.

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