Sure, it might seem a little self-serving to cook one of our own books, but with a library as vast as Betty’s—covering nearly a century!—there are surprising gems around every corner. And we know there’s no better way to bring people together than with fresh-baked cookies—especially during the holidays. While the world looked differently in 1963, when the “Betty Crocker Cooky Book” was first published, some things have stayed exactly the same. As you get ready to plan Christmas cookie exchanges with friends and family, we hope you’ll turn to Betty for ideas, inspiration and those cookie recipes that make you say, “They just don’t make ’em like they used to.”
Whenever I make snickerdoodles, I’m immediately 5 years old again. The memory of my older sister, Heidi, teaching me how to make them in our tiny kitchen becomes real through every sense. I remember how I excited I was that she had bought all the supplies to make these amazing cookies—with undoubtedly the best name ever—with me! When I chose to make this Cooky Book recipe in the famous Betty Crocker Kitchens, my childlike excitement was right there with me. The classic recipe produced the same unmistakable smell, texture and taste that never fails to bring me right back to that kitchen with my sis. That’s the best part about baking: the memories and traditions it creates and keeps alive. And what better cookie to bake (or pronounce) with kids of all ages? Who knows, it might even become a lifelong tradition! —Claire Davidson, associate editor
I’m a salty-over-sweet girl who has no problem passing up a plate of fresh-from-the-oven cookies while reaching for a pile of crispy French fries. At least that used to be the case. Then I had a chocolate crinkle cookie—or more accurately three chocolate crinkle cookies. They were chewy like brownies, light like cake and not overly chocolaty. Rolling them into balls and dunking each ball into a bowl of powdered sugar turned out to be as much fun as dipping fries into honey mustard. Next time I make these I’m even thinking of adding—you guessed it—a little bit of salt.—Kayla Knudson, managing editor
Choosing one recipe to bake from Betty’s hallowed Cooky Book is kind of like picking a favorite Beatles song or stopping after one handful of puppy chow. In other words, sort of impossible. Luckily, when I spotted Fattigmands Bakkels (pg. 48) and recognized them as kin to my boyfriend’s grandma’s favorite Christmas cookie recipe, my decision was made. Besides the fact these treats bear an impossibly long name (at Grandma’s house they’re called “poor men”), they also rank pretty high on my personal scale of difficulty. For starters, they’re a chore-and-a-half to roll out. And did I mention they’re deep-fried? Had it not been for the expert assistance I had in the kitchen, these factors alone would’ve had me shaking in my apron. As it turns out, they weren’t as tricky to make after all! Following the recipe to a tee, after I got the hang of handling the dough, tying it into knots was actually pretty fun. And while my resulting cookies turned out a little less delicate-looking than what was pictured in the book, after a generous dusting of powdered sugar, I’m confident they tasted no less delicious. I’m counting down the days until I can make ’em again! —Meghan McAndrews, senior editor
Chewy Molasses Cookies
Who doesn’t love a still-warm homemade cookie? The true beauty of a ginger cookie is the warmth that lives on long after the cooling racks are put away. Plus, the bite of ginger and coziness of cinnamon and cloves makes for an especially great cookie to share with neighbors, friends and family around the holidays. This version (pg. 83) is really easy, and though it takes a little more time than other cookies (it needs to chill in the fridge for a few hours), the result is well worth the wait. Your reward is a cookie with a slightly crispy exterior but that’s soft and chewy inside—and yes, they stay that way for days if stored properly. For the last dozen, I sprinkled on some coarse decorating sugar, which you can see a little bit in this picture, to add a little crunch and holiday sparkle. —EM
Join our Betty editors as they explore a new cookbook, each cooking a recipe (or two!) from it and reporting back the first Tuesday of every month. Next up: “Mad Hungry Cravings” by Lucinda Scala Quinn on Jan. 7. In the meantime, what new cookbook(s) are you dying to try?