Monday, September 5, 2011

Mrs. Noell's Cookies

My favorite cookies growing up were these fantastic refrigerator cookies my grandmother made. They were her mom's recipe. (In case your wondering, my name happens to be my grandmother's maiden name.) Typically she would only make them for big events, like my dad's 60th birthday, or someone's anniversary, or a church reception following a funeral. I loved them and would usually be allowed to eat the ends of the rolls. The dough had to sit in the fridge or freezer for at least 24 hours as a wax paper wrapped log. The rounded ends weren't nearly as attractive as slices from the middle, so I felt it my duty to dispose of the ugly ones.

I remember begging my grandmother for the recipe, but she always said it was a secret. When I was in my early twenties my grandmother started to suffer from the effects of alzheimer's and no longer remembered she wasn't sharing the recipe. She turned it into the church cookbook committee and now I have a copy of it along with a multitude of East Texas who sadly may never make it because chocolate isn't involved. I should also admit to you that I don't make the cookies very often myself. I understand now why they were for special occasions--they're a little more involved than you basic drop cookie. They require early preparation, rolling, cutting, wax paper for storage, and the recipe makes a lot of cookies. When I'm feeling nostalgic and I miss my Nanny, I often opt for the spice blend used in her cookies, but mix it into a drop cookie recipe instead. That's what I did today, so you can call these Ms. Noell's cookies!

blend together:
2 sticks butter
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar

I usually let the mixer run for about 5 minutes until this mixture is really light and fluffy, then add 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing thouroughly

1 t lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract

scrape the sides of the bowl and then mix in:
1 T freshly ground nutmeg
1 T cinnamon
2 c flour (if you scoop straight from the bin, 2 1/2 c flour if you scoop and pour into your measuring cup)
1 c unsweetened coconut shreds
1 c dried cranberries, chopped
1 c chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pistachios--if you are baking for someone with allergies, leave the nuts out)

Make sure everything is well blended. If you have time, let the dough sit in the fridge for an hour or overnight. preheat oven to 375° Scoop by heaping teaspoons onto a cookie sheet, leaving room between the cookies for them to flatten. Bake for about 11 minutes, or until the edges are brown. Remove from oven and cool on the pan for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Store in a cookie tin. Cookies will keep in the freezer for several months.

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