Tuesday, December 4, 2012

And is this a Christmas Cookie?

In yesterday's post, I wrote about Hermits,
the Betty Crocker favorite cookie of the 1880s,
and a traditional Christmas cookie on my mom's side of the family.

For my dad's side of the family, the favorite Christmas cookie
of my Grandma Annie had to be the Date Pinwheel cookie.
She used to bake up a batch that yielded about 5 or 6 dozen cookies,
all of which she kept in a white flour sack in the pantry-closet in her garage.
The Date Pinwheels she baked had a soft but  firm consistency
and a sweet date and pecan filling.
I thought they were delectable, 
even though I didn't really consider them very Christmas-y either.

photo courtesy of morguefile.com

When I got married I asked my mom to write out family recipes for me,
and she did, including Grandma's favorite date Christmas cookie recipe.
But I only made them once or twice since then
because the dough is very heavy and has to be rolled out.
Frankly, wrestling that much dough takes some real energy and a lot of time.
I was curious about the origins of Date Pinwheel cookies,
since a brief search of the internet revealed multiple references to
these cookies and their status as a beloved "vintage" Christmas cookie. 
I found a really neat site called http://www.recipecurio.com
that is devoted to antique recipes.
It's possible the  Date Pinwheel cookie recipe
may have first appeared in the 1952 cookbook described on the site:
"Aunt Jenny's Old-Fashioned Christmas Cookies,"
published by Lever Brothers. 
As with Betty Crocker, "Aunt Jenny," was a publicity image 
conjured up to put a friendly face on a corporate product.
In this case, the product was Spry shortening.

The great thing about popular "vintage" recipes
is that, regardless of their recent history,
we can be assured that somewhere, some time,
a real Aunt Jenny looked in her pantry,
found dried fruit, brown sugar, nuts, and flour,
and created something delicious.

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