Polynees – from Nana

This is one of the oldest recipes in the family cookbook. It is from our Nana (Barbara Burghart Naff – (1885 to 1953) Jane and I remember her well. She made us wonderful quilts and doll clothes. She was born in Illinois while her father was fighting Indians in Colorado.


For Crust
3/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour

For Filling:
1 cup ground almonds
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 egg whites


For crust:   Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolks and flour.  Work until smooth.  Chill at least 1 hour.

For filling:   Mix almonds, sugar and egg whites.  Beat until smooth and fluffy – about 15 minutes.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Child making sugar cookies

Cutting out sugar cookies and decorating was a major event in our house in the days leading up to Christmas. I still have many of the old cookie cutters including favorites like the Christmas tree and the reindeer. You can keep small children happily occupied for hours making these. And they will want to do again next year and for the next 50 years. It is an essential part of Christmas.

The best recipe I ever used was on the inside of a Land O Lakes butter box. I don’t have that anymore, but this one from their website purports to be an old one. Others add flavoring like orange juice or almond extract, but these are fine.

Lots of sprinkles, food coloring and icing are needed for the decorations.


1 cup  butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder


Combine butter and sugar in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add milk, egg and vanilla. Continue beating until well mixed. Add flour and baking powder; beat at low speed until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Heat oven to 375°F.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one-half at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with assorted 2-inch cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 5-7 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool completely.

Frost and decorate cooled cookies as desired.

Mom’s Bourbon Balls

Mom made these every Christmas but for grownups only since  a large amount of bourbon included. And, with no cooking and the modern convenience of a Cuisinart, so easy to make.  Now that I am grownup, I can make and eat them.


2 1/2 cups ground vanilla wafers
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 teaspoons Karo (or substitute)
1/2 cup Bourbon or rum
1 cup ground nuts (pecans or walnuts


Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Roll into balls about 1″ in diameter. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.



Toffee Cookies – Mabel Platts

foodI found this recipe card, minus a large corner, inside The Boston Cooking School Cook Book. By Fannie Farmer, this edition has a copyright of 1927 with the date of December 18, 1941 written on the bookend and the signatures of Wendell H. Gordon, Natalie Jane Gordon, Brant Rock 1941 and Mercedes Prudence Budd Gordon. Perhaps a present for Wowie from Aunt Mercedes?

The Toffee Cookies card is in Wowie’s handwriting and goes as follows:

Cream 1 cup shortening with
1 cup brown sugar
Add 1 unbeaten egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift 2 cups flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Add to first mixture and blend.

Pat into 1/4 inch thickness on a well greased cookie sheet. Spread top with unbeaten egg white and sprinkle with 1/2 cup ground nuts.

Mark in squares with silver knife before baking at 275 degrees for 30 minutes.
Cool. Remove with spatula.

Since this is from Mabel, it must be good.