Christmas Cookie Magic: Classic Memories

Writer & Photographer / Julie Yates

There is no doubt that cookies contribute to the festive feeling of the Christmas season. Their sparkly decorations and enticing aromas seem to bring back some of the magic experienced as a child. Recently, five Greenwood officials shared their favorite seasonal cookies along with some special memories. We are happy to share these recipes from their families to yours.

Mayor Mark Myers
During the Christmas season, Myers’s mother would make special homemade brownies. She served them along with hot chocolate topped with miniature marshmallows. “We would sit in front of the fireplace and play games as we ate,” said Myers.

Fudge Brownies
½ cup butter
2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup flour

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter and chocolate. Stir in sugar. Blend in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour and pour into 8 X 8 greased pan. Bake 30 minutes.

Police Chief John Laut
Laut’s favorite Christmas cookie, Springerle, comes from Bavaria and Austria and has been a seasonal tradition in those countries for hundreds of years. Remarkable for their licorice flavor that comes from anise, they are made by imprinting the dough with a special rolling pin. They can also be circular in shape, but most common are the rectangular ones with a picture or design stamped on top.

Springerle Cookies
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 ½ tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon anise extract
4 cups flour


Beat eggs. Add sugar, butter, baking powder and extract. Continue to beat 15 minutes. Mix in flour. Roll dough out. Use Spingerle rolling pin and cut cookies apart. Allow to dry uncovered for eight hours. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Fire Chief James Sipes
Sipes’s grandmother had hundreds of cookie cutters and as a child, he always looked forward to going through them and choosing the ones she would use to make Christmas cookies. Many happy hours were spent cutting out and decorating cookies, and his mother still continues the tradition with his daughter. Sipes elaborated on the magic the cookies still hold by saying, “I don’t eat many sweets, but when I see these cookies, the memories come back and I can’t pass one up.”

Sugar Cookies
¾ cup shortening
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 teaspoons milk
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Cream shortening, sugar and vanilla. Beat in egg and milk. Mix in dry ingredients. Chill dough. Roll on floured surface and use cookie cutters. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Director of the Greater Greenwood Arts Council Karen Wilkerson
Wilkerson’s birthday is December 24, and her mother worked hard to keep it separate from Christmas. Since she had full-time job outside the home, the major baking done was a birthday cake. When the extended family got together though, the cookie everyone loved was her out-of-this-world chocolate chip concoction that cousins from Florida to Michigan proclaimed as “World Famous.”

Glendyn Curtis’s World Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 ½ cups Crisco butter shortening
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
3 cup flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 (12 oz.) package Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream shortening and sugars. Beat in vanilla and eggs. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop by large rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.

Director of Greenwood Library Cheryl Dobbs
Because her mother passed away when Dobbs was a young child, she doesn’t have any Christmas cookie memories stemming from her early years other than the chocolate chip cookies her teenage sister would make. However, when she was 10, her father remarried a master cookie-maker. According to Dobbs, “The melt-in-your-mouth Mexican Wedding Cake cookies were the best. They seemed exotic to my Tollhouse trained tastes and were a treat I remember and associate with cozy Christmases, fires in the fireplace, and twinkly lights.”

Mexican Wedding Cakes
½ pound butter
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter and combine with confectioner’s sugar. Mix in vanilla, flour and pecans. Shape into balls and bake 15-20 minutes. Roll in additional confectioner’s sugar.

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