I remember these cookies from the bakery in the little town where I grew up. You could buy them, two for a nickel.
My mom always made baked goodies for our family, but somehow, these bakery cookies seemed like a special treat. Just to walk into that little shop, with the fragrance of freshly-baked bread, and the rows and rows of cookies, squares, cupcakes and pies lined up temptingly beneath the glass counter, was a delight.
And then, to choose! Oh my. How to spend that precious nickel, probably earned by gathering empty pop bottles in ditches and returning them to the grocery store, two for a penny.
I never spent my nickel on squares or even a cupcake, as pretty as they were – I always wanted cookies. But there were so many delectable kinds to choose! Gingersnaps, with sugary, crackling tops, competed with sugar cookies with a big fat raisin in the centre. And then there were molasses tuffies, sour cream cookies, oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies. But my mother made all these kinds at home – delicious, no doubt, but not so rare a treat.
However, she never baked Jumbo Cookies. Jumbo cookies lived up to their title – they were so big! I’m sure that was part of their irresistible draw. They were delicious too, chock-full of sweet raisins and a melt in your mouth texture.
I don’t recall any impatient bakery shop workers – although, I wonder, now, what they thought of the little girl standing so long in front of that counter. It was no quick process. I can still remember the sticky feel of the nickel gripped tightly in my hand and the almost dance as I shifted from one foot to another, gazing at all those delectable goodies.
Such a delicious dilemma – but I almost, always, made the same decision – “Two Jumbo cookies, please”.
When the choosing was all over, and the baker slid them into the little brown paper bag, I handed over my nickel and headed out the door. And, oh, that first sweet moment when I opened the bag and took a deep whiff of that fresh-baked, sugary fragrance. And the first bite? Well, I was in cookie heaven.
It was many years before I finally found a recipe that came close to that memory. It wasn’t in any book or online either. I found it in the recipe box of a lady in her eighties, well- known for her wonderful baking.
2 cups small raisins simmered with 1 cup water until the water is dried up. Let cool.
1 cup shortening
2 cups white sugar
Blend 4 cups flour, 1 tsp soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp allspice
Add to creamed mixture
Roll out, cut in circles ( the bakers from the bakery shop used a cookie cutter with scalloped edges and I’m still looking for one!) and bake. My elderly friend didn’t put an oven temperature on the recipes card but I baked them at 350F for 12 min. Keep an eye on them though, as they can brown too quickly. They should be quite light on top and light brown on the bottom when they are baked. Cool on wire racks.
I made my cookies average-sized. Probably my childhood self would be quite disappointed with me.
After all, they are JUMBO cookies. 🙂