Saturday, December 17, 2011

Weekend Cooking #15: Victory through Christmas Cookies

Christmas during wartime is always a difficult time and World War II was no exception.  Rationing made most of the usual Christmas treats impossible, both on the table and under the tree.  But as usual people adapted and did the best with what they had. 

In November 1942, Betty Crocker began to run ads in newspapers and magazines for “Military Christmas Cookies.” They were perfect to eat, send to a soldier in the armed forces or even to hang on your Christmas tree.  To make the military shapes shown, bakers were advised, simply draw them on heavy cardboard, place on the rolled out dough and cut around them.  Then, decorate accordingly.  Can you imagine doing this dozens and dozens of times?  Or just roll out the dough and use the usual Christmas cookies cutters you already have.

But, if you are more like me, and don't make rolled out cookies because they taste more like flour than cookie, here is the recipe my very favorite Christmas cookie:

Brandied Sugarplums

1 Cup (6 ounces) Semisweet Chocolate Chips, melted
½ Cup Confectioners’ Sugar
¼ Cup Light Corn Syrup
1/3 Cup Brandy
2½ Cups Fine Vanilla Wafer Crumbs (62 wafers = 9 ounces)
1 Cup (4ounces) Pecans, ground coarse in blender
½ Cup Sugar
Candied Red or Green Cherry Halves for Decoration

c Have ready a waxed-paper lined cookie sheet or tray.

c With a wooden spoon mix chocolate, the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup and brandy in a medium-sized bowl.  Stir in cookie crumbs and nuts until blended.  Roll rounded teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls.  (If mixture is too dry and crumbly to shape, add a little more brandy or water.)  Roll in granulated sugar to coat.  Arrange on prepared tray.  Press a cherry half into each.
Makes about 54.

I can't remember where I got this recipe from, but Brandied Sugarplums are delicious.  Just be careful and remember there is brandy in them or you might end up like this poor Santa, who looks like he had one too many (actually, he is just very old and his hat is on wrong)

Weekend Cooking is a weekly meme hosted by Beth Fish Reads


  1. I make these every year too! I usually leave the cherry halves off. My mom likes to add a pecan half on top. Decorated or not .... YUM.

  2. I’m with you on the cookie cutting. I do make concessions at Christmas with a cutter shaped like a tree or star, and little savoury cocktail nibbles, shaped like stars, but that’s it. I enjoyed your pictures of military cookies, and as for that Santa.....!

  3. My cookies don't come out well with cutters, I could just imagine cardboard. Your cookies look so good!

  4. These cookies look yummy!
    With the sugar rationing during the war, I'm sure it was hard to come up with good tasting cookies...Every year I make my grandmother's family recipe; it is a rolled out cookie, that has to be rolled so thin you can virtually see through the time consuming, but I love the connection I feel with her when I make them.

  5. We don't really have an x-mas tradition of baking cookies over here but I do love the thought of those cookies and the clipping of the old magazine!

  6. Those sound delicious! I love any sort of ball cookie made with alcohol, so I'll definitely give these a try.

  7. Starting out with "Christmas," "children," and "wartime" makes me think of the beginning of Little Women....

  8. These look so good! I'll be trying some new cookie recipes this week... will add this the 'mix'. Thanks.

  9. I have never had these but will try them. Santa sure looks like he had a good time eating them:)

  10. I think one of my aunts used to make this cookie. Haven't thought about it in years! I remember liking them :)

  11. These sound lovely, I like the old newspaper.

  12. I laughed right out when I saw Santa! My Christmas cookies are rolled and cut and they've never tasted like flour. I wonder if it depends on how much is used in the rolling process?? I use an old recipe my mother always made:

    It calls for only a cup of flour, maybe taking into account that some will be needed for rolling? I also bought a cheap marble board years ago so not as much flour is needed.

  13. Your brandied sugarplums look delicious! The cherry on top adds a special festive touch :)

    I'm with you - I don't do cut-out cookies. They're too labor-intensive with not enough return (flavor) for me.

  14. I love such interesting tidbits of history as this one...I too am usually disappointed in the actual taste of the sugar cookies that get decorated...I'm on a lifelong search for a recipe that actually tastes as good as the cookies look :)

  15. Thank you all for your nice comments. I have to admit, these cookies are good and I have been have a battle of will trying not to overindulge.

    I am also glad you enjoyed the WW II part of this post. I love seeing what life on the home front was like at that time. Pop culture is one of my favorite things.

    I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year!

  16. I love the artwork on the Christmas Cookies advert, also love your ‘wonky’ Santa and the Brandied Sugarplums sound delicious. Have a wonderful Christmas time, look forward to ‘talking’ to you in the New Year.