Recipes for Love

Written By: Julie Hostetter

Remembering Those We Miss Through the Holiday Recipes They Left Behind

There are two words that come to mind immediately when I think of my beloved Grandma: Love and cookies. Actually, that pretty much sums up two of the best things in this world. My earliest memories of the holidays were of my mom, grandma and Aunt Betty baking cookies all weekend until they covered our entire dining room table with dozens and dozens of treats. Of course, I would help, but mostly I was there to lick the bowl clean while marveling at the love they poured into each special batch. My grandma may have passed away many years ago, but I still can feel her love like a warm hug on a winter’s day, especially when I taste her Christmas cookies that my mom and Aunt Betty now bakes, brought to life each year thanks to her old tattered recipes. 

We all have them, recipes that are more filled with love then flour. Well, that’s what I share with you today. And I encourage our readers to share your favorite “recipe memories” with me. Send your recipe, along with a short essay on why this recipe means so much to you along with a photo of the loved one that gave it to you. I would love to include another “Recipes of Love” feature next holiday season with our reader’s sweet memories. Please send your submissions to [email protected]. I’ll keep my oven warm for you.

Mama Clark’s Cherry Tassies

  • 1¼ cups butter, softened 
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup of powdered sugar for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon. salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup finely crushed striped round peppermint candies (about 18)
  • 48 red maraschino cherries with stems, drained completely 
  • Course Sugar
  • Mini-muffin cup pan 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds. Gradually beat in 1½ cups of powdered sugar, the baking powder and salt. Beat in peppermint extract, vanilla and egg. Beat in as much of the flour as you can; stir in remaining flour and candies.

Place remaining ¾ cup powdered sugar in a shallow dish. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; roll in ¾ cup of powdered sugar. Press each ball into the bottom and sides of a 1¾-inch muffin cup. (We use a floured wooden pestle to press the dough down and along the sides of the mini muffin pans, but can use a gloved knuckle in a pinch)

Place cherry, stem side up, in each cup. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until pastry is browned. Sprinkle with course sugar. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Carefully transfer to rack to cool completely.

Makes 48 Tassies. Store in a single layer in a covered airtight container.

Grandma Smith’s Silver Stars Cookies

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • ½ cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cups Gold Medal Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon of water
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla mix

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Roll dough ¼-inch thick; cut with bell-shaped cutter (about 2 inches long). Bake on ungreased baking sheet about 10 minutes.

Cool then frost with thin vanilla icing. Sprinkle with sugar and decorate with silver candies. Makes 40.

Tips: May need a little more flour. We used canned icing and colored sugar to decorate. (Handmade icing can draw moisture out of cookies and icing chips off, so be sure to use canned icing.)

Hint: Dry cherries on paper towels, don’t press down cherry. 

Mimi Denise’s Yummy Bars

  • 1 double-size brownie mix
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 package chocolate chips
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ounces chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Milk (needed for icing)

Prepare brownie mix. Add ½ cup chopped nuts. Spread in 13 by 9 pan.

Mix graham cracker crumbs condensed milk chocolate chips and ½ cup chopped nuts spread over brownie mix.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool.

Ice with powdered sugar mixed with enough milk to spread smoothly. Melt chocolate with butter and drizzle over top

Aunt Betty’s English Toffee

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • Chocolate Wafers or Melts 
  • 1 cup of real butter (do not use margarine) 
  • Chopped Pecans and Walnuts 

Combine butter and sugar in a very heavy pan or iron skillet over low heat, stirring constantly. 

When butter is melted and combined with sugar, turn to high and stir rapidly. After full boil starts, turn heat down to med-high. Keep stirring vigorously as mixture burns easily. 

When mixture turns dark honey color (approximately 5-8 minutes from start of boil), turn out on to ungreased cookie sheet. Quickly spread out to desired thickness.

Cool for a couple minutes then put chocolate pieces on top of the warm toffee. When melted, spread to coat entire slab. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Cool in refrigerator for approximately 20 minutes.

When cool and chocolate is hard, turn slab over (slab may break but that’s okay). Put chocolate pieces on top. Put under broiler for few seconds to melt chocolate – watch very closely as chocolate will burn — then spread melted chocolate. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and cool until chocolate and nuts are hard. Break into pieces. 

Store in festive cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon to give as gifts or simply just munch away yourself and enjoy! 


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