Memories of Baking Cookies with Grandma

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, December 4, 1914:  Nothing much doing. More later on.


Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

As the holidays approach, I’d like to share a memory that includes both my mother and Grandma.

Mom always organized a cookie-baking party on an evening a week or so before Christmas. Each year my brother and I rushed to finish our farm chores so we could eat an early supper—and then bake cookies. Following the meal, we washed the dishes while Mom went to get Grandma, who lived in a bungalow two miles away.

Soon Grandma would be struggling through the kitchen door carrying a huge basket filled with cookie ingredients—walnuts, raisins, brown sugar, flour, baking chocolate—and her recipes.

We’d sort through Grandma’s (and my mother’s) recipes, and try to decide which cookies to make. Many of the recipe cards indicated that the source of the recipe was a great-aunt, cousin, or other relative.

The decision about which cookies to make required a discussion not only of the merits of each perspective recipe, but also of the person who originated the recipe. Should we make Great-grandma’s filled raisin cookies? (“Dad always loved them.”) . . . or that wonderful Sand Tart recipe that came from someone who was a neighbor of my mother’s 40 years ago (“Don’t know whatever happened to her, but she was a wonderful cook.”) . . .

Ah, the memories. . . I could go on and on.


Grandma’s diary ends on December 29. Over the past several months readers of A Hundred Years Ago have made many wonderful suggestions about how to send Grandma off to live the rest of her life.

I’ve decided to go with a Bake-a-thon because baking cookies with Grandma holds special memories for me and I know that the older version of Grandma loved our annual cookie baking party—so I think that she would have enjoyed a virtual Bake-a-thon.

Come back tomorrow—and I’ll share details about how you can participate in the Bake-a-thon.

36 thoughts on “Memories of Baking Cookies with Grandma

  1. 🙂 Okay, that sounds like fun, Sheryl! December is a special “baking” month in my home too, and your memories of baking cookies with your grandma and mum are precious. 🙂

    I’ve been wondering (I may have missed it if you have already been asked the question,) will you continue blogging after the diary ends, either on this blog, or another?

    1. I do plan to continue blogging after the dairy ends. I’ve had so much fun with this blog that I just couldn’t give it up–and it’s been wonderful getting to know you and other wonderful people in the blogging community.

      A Hundred Years Ago will end at the end of this month. I then plan to start a new blog about one of my great aunts who joined the WACs (Women’s Army Corps) during World War II at the age of 45. I found a lot of her artifacts and memorabilia when I was cleaning out my parents attic–and look forward to sharing them on the new blog.

      1. I looked around here and discovered your other website after I left this comment, so have subscribed already. You are so fortunate to have an attic, and family members who have left mementos of their lives for you to find. I’m looking forward to “meeting” your great-aunt. 🙂

  2. What wonderful memories! I have fond memories of my Grandma too. My brother and I never actually baked anything with her but we certainly ate a lot of what she baked. 🙂

  3. I never made cookies with my grandma. She loved to far away. We did get to be with Grammy over Christmas time . She made the most wonderful Kiffles, a recipe that”s handed down from Grammy to Grammy . 🙂 I now make the Kiffles each year for the Holidays, and I always see her lovely tray of Kiffles every time I pull out the recipe .

    1. It’s wonderful how you’ve continued the tradition. I wasn’t familiar with Kiffles–so I googled them.. Kiffles look absolutely wonderful.

  4. I’m going to miss these little slices of life, Christmas cookie baking is also one of my awesome memories, but my mom turned everything into a huge production. The recipe selection process resembled confirmation of a new Supreme Court Justice and happened before the big day. Of course, my mom collected recipe books, so it took a while. She was very regimented. We had to have a shaped cookie and a decorated cookie and a chocolate cookie and a rolled cookie etc. etc. etc. Then there was the shopping day, because we always selected two or three recipes that asked for unusual or hard to find items. Finally an entire Saturday was given over to a bake-a-thon.

    1. I love the wonderful word picture you created to describe cookie baking in your family. I can almost see it in my mind. My very favorite line is “The recipe selection process resembled confirmation of a new Supreme Court Justice.”

  5. Oh, what a wonderful memory you have of baking cookies for Christmas with your mother, grandmother and brother….. I know you cherish that memory!
    And how exciting to end Grandma’s diary with a bake-a-thon; I’d be honored to participate!

  6. Christmas and cookie baking belong together. I still have many of our traditional recipes, but the one I’m missing is — the filled raisin cookie! They were little pockets of dough, with a wonderful ground raisin and nut filling. Do you have a recipe?

  7. Hi Sheryl!
    I arrived on the McEwensville scene in late 1966. The Kramm/Moser/Shuman clan has baked & decorated cutout cookies on the day after Thanksgiving every year since then. Jane & Ruth could not remember for sure when they started doing that. They always remembered their Mother (Blanche) baking cookies at Christmas which would go back to early 1920s. They guessed early 1950s for the start of the women in the family gathering to bake the cutouts It is a tradition that now spans at least 5 generations.
    The decorating is what makes these cookies stand out on the plate of assorted cookies that is always served as dessert at family gatherings in the Christmas season. I know they all baked a variety of other cookies on their own. Jane did this as recently as 2 years ago (age 92).
    Looking forward to your idea of bake-a-thon. Janet

    1. Wow, it’s amazing that the cookie baking traditions span at least 5 generations. I hope that I’m still making cookies when I’m 92. There are many awesome, strong women in your family–and I’ve really enjoyed reconnecting the last few years.

  8. These are the traditions that make our special memories…a wonderfully fitting send-off for your blog! Even better since I’m not much of a baker but might be able to handle a virtual bake-event😏

    1. That’s the advantage of a virtual bake-off–you can participate in whatever way works for you. You can share the story of a food that bring back memories of an ancestor or relative, or you can actually make the food. It’s nice to hear that you think the send-off is fitting..

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