Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mamaw’s Recipe Box #6: Cherry Nut Cookies

When I look through the vast selection of recipe cards in Mamaw’s box, I always know which ones she wrote herself by her distinctive handwriting. (Read more about Mamaw and the recipe file here.) She told me many times about how important penmanship was for her in school during the 1920s. Teachers would make students practice over and over until their letters came together in a neat, legible row. The more artistic the handwriting, the more praise was given to the “artist.” I also seem to remember Mamaw won prizes for her handwriting. Or perhaps it was just good grades and the approval of her teacher.

I made this recipe for cherry nut cookies a few years ago and thought they were delicious. So when I came across the card again in my search for the next of Mamaw’s creations to feature, I immediately pulled it out of the file. Besides her distinctive handwriting, Mamaw almost always put the name of the person who gave her the recipe, often with the date. I was shocked to see my name printed at the card’s bottom. She got the recipe from me? I don’t remember ever giving it to her. In fact, I thought I got it from her. The only explanation is she copied it from a cookbook I showed to her, or from an article I’d clipped from a newspaper or magazine. Whatever the reason, my heart warmed at the sight of my name in her beautiful script.

This recipe reminds me of a cross between a shortbread cookie (because of the shape and the butter) and a chocolate chip cookie (because of the brown sugar.) The original called for butter-flavored Crisco, but I used unsalted butter.

The ingredients also list chopped maraschino cherries, which I used the first time I made these cookies. They tasted great and looked pretty with the small flecks of red. However, this time I wanted to use real cherries—or at least real canned cherries since they are not in season—so I chopped up some dark, sweet cherries. They changed the look a bit—a little less pretty and more rustic—but the cookies still tasted wonderful. Next time I may try canned tart cherries, or perhaps wait until cherry season and use some bought fresh at the farmer’s market.

Cherry Nut Cookies

1/2 cup butter-flavored Crisco (or unsalted butter)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (I used a mixture of walnuts and pecans, only because that’s what I had on hand.)
1/3 cup chopped maraschino cherries

Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.

Blend in flour, baking soda and salt. (I whisked these ingredients together in a small bowl before adding to the butter/sugar mixture.) Stir in the nuts and cherries.

Shape the dough into a roll about 14-inches long. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices. Place on an un-greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until just golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets. Cool on racks. Store in an air-tight container.

Mamaw and I, sometime in 1963.


  1. These sound delicious! My husband has a real sweet tooth and I'm betting he would love these cookies! Thank you for sharing Mamaw's (and your) recipe!

  2. How fun to have a family recipe - and such a delicious and unique one. Cherries and nuts are a grand combo!

  3. Hmm these look delicious, thanks for posting up this recipe, looks quite simple to make.


  4. Thanks, Simon! Let me know if you give them a try.