Melt-in-the-Mouth Cookies, a brief history
My recipe for Melt-in-the-Mouth Cookies came from one of my mom’s handwritten recipe cards, which my dad scanned and emailed to me back when I was in college. I transcribed it and then posted it to my blog in June of 2004 so I could easily share it with friends (and the internet).
As long as I can remember, they have been my favorite cookies, and certainly one of the most popular in our family. The cookies come out of the oven slightly chewy, brown sugary, and small enough that you can eat more than one or two without feeling guilty. In that way they stand out from most other cookies, which tend to be more chocolatey or more filling.
Since I posted the recipe, I’ve gotten the occasional drive-by comment from people saying this is one of their favorite recipes, one they had lost and were happy to rediscover. Considering that I got this recipe from my mother and she got it from her mother (my grandmother, aka “Grandmommy”), I didn’t see how that was possible. I just attributed their comments to a similar recipe or a similar name. For all I knew, my grandmother had created this recipe from whole cloth through relentless experimentation, or perhaps accidental discovery.
And then on December 10, 2008, a certain Donna left a comment on my blog which began:
I love these cookies and so do my kids. My mother-in-law made them and she got the recipe from The Woman’s Day Encyclopedia Cookbook Volume 3…
What? My favorite cookie recipe was actually printed somewhere in a cookbook? It was like one of those cinematic moments where you find out something that you believed all your life to be true is actually false. I mean, obviously the recipe must have come from somewhere, but I’d always thought of it as a cherished family heirloom, from the “old country”, passed down from mother to child all the way back. This was OUR cookie recipe.
However, I couldn’t help myself from searching around for the cookbook. Eventually I discovered a similarly titled Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 3, published in 1965, for sale on eBay. For all I knew this book had some other cookie recipe that Donna was confusing with my sacred Melt-in-the-Mouths. I will admit that my curiosity was piqued by the fact that all the recipes in Volume 3 started with the letter C: Chicken, Chocolate, Corn, Cheese, Cookies…
For a mere $6 on eBay, it was worth the risk. It arrived just after Christmas, and right there on page 433 was MY Melt-in-the-Mouth Cookies recipe. It matched my mom’s recipe card almost word for word. I could even spot it in the lower right of a photo of a dozen cookies on an earlier page—like a cookie time capsule from 1965! I was blown away.
One thing didn’t add up. My mom seems to have remembered growing up with these cookies, but at the time this cookbook series was published, she would have been 14 years old. Perhaps it was published in Woman’s Day magazine early on, and then later compiled into this encyclopedic series of cookbooks? So I did something I never thought to do before, I did Google search for “melt-in-the-mouth cookies”. Sure enough I discovered a woman named Chrissy who had posted it to her blog just last December (of 2007). The best part was that alongside the recipe she had included a high resolution scan of a well-worn magazine page with the recipe. She wrote:
This particular recipe has been a Christmas favorite with my family since I can remember Christmas cookies. I believe it was my Grandmother who clipped this page along with a few others from a magazine who knows when. I’m going to guess it was a Women’s Day magazine because it says Women’s Day Kitchen, but you never know.
Could this have been the magazine my Grandmother was reading when Melt-in-the-Mouth cookies first entered our family’s culinary repertoire? Could there be other family recipes that originated from these very pages? According to Wikipedia, Woman’s Day was originally sold exclusively in A&P grocery stores, which my mom confirmed was where they did their grocery shopping while she was growing up.
Since Chrissy’s scan had no page numbers or dates, I called the San Francisco Public Library, thinking I could spend a weekend flipping through old Woman’s Day magazines to find it. Unfortunately they only had microfiche for Woman’s Day going back to 1971. They basically told me to call the New York Public Library’s Express service, who might be able to research the recipe for me, albeit for a fee.
So I called the NYPL, and eventually a librarian got back to me and let me know that their service costs $60/hour. I described what I was looking for (a recipe from Woman’s Day magazine from sometime in the 1950s) and that I probably didn’t want to have them spend any more than 2 hours. He seemed a little incredulous that it would even be possible, given that I couldn’t narrow down the possible dates. I said I’d email him all the details I had.
As I started thinking about how to narrow down the search (so that my $120 would be well spent), I thought back to what Chrissy had emailed me when I asked her if the cookie recipe clipping had page numbers or dates. She wrote:
The rest of the pages looked just like the ones I scanned in, they had no other information other than to say “Woman’s Day Kitchen”, the recipes themselves, 4 per page with that garishly festive color scheme.
I looked back at her scan of the recipes. I looked closer. Green and red. Ornaments. Peppermint Sticks! How had I overlooked these details before?
Of course! These recipes must have come from a December issue—they were Christmas cookies! In a flash I’d reduced the search space from 120 magazines down to a mere 10! With those kind of odds, why not just check to see if anyone on eBay was selling old 1950s Woman’s Day magazines from the month of December.
Sure enough there were a few issues from the 50s available for $5-10 a piece. I figured I’d just ask the sellers if their magazines contained the recipe. If not, nothing lost, if so, I’d buy the magazine—all for a fraction of the NYPL Express service. It was like I was crowdsourcing my research through eBay and getting it done for free. And if I found the recipe, I would actually end up with a physical copy of the whole magazine!
So I made a list of years from 1940 through 1960, and started checking them off as I sent the sellers questions. 44, 47, 51, 53…I looked closer at the cover for December 1953. It had a photo of a little girl looking up with indescribable glee as Christmas cookies rain down on her. The only text on the cover read,
in this December issue…
ready to cut out–
a Christmas Cookie Cookbook
with 24 top recipes
When I saw that cover I felt exactly like the little girl looked. Could this be the one? I sent the link to Chrissy who immediately recognized some of the cookies on the cover from her other clippings. In fact she said she had “all 24 recipes, 3 pages, back and front, with four each.” So I went ahead and ordered a copy. Eventually I got confirmation from one of the magazine sellers that the December 1953 issue contained the Melt-in-the-Mouth recipes. Indeed it did. Success!
But wait—where did my mom copy her recipe card from? Her wording (at the very top of the post) matches the 1965 cookbook recipe almost exactly, not the simplified version from the 1953 clipping. Did my Grandmother originally start making the recipe from the clipping, and only later purchased the 12 volume Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery? My mom didn’t seem to remember my Grandmother having a multi-volume set of cookbooks.
To help answer this question, I had my mom enlist my aunt, who lives near my grandmother, to search through her cookbooks and clippings in order to find her original Melt-in-the-Mouth recipe—presumably the one my mom copied long ago. My aunt found it pasted to a sheet of looseleaf paper along with several other “family” recipes, scanned it in, and emailed it to us. And now we have a third published copy of the recipe to add to the story.
This time I have even fewer details to go on. My guess is that it came from a 1940s era Woman’s Day, probably from another December issue, given the pine dingbat below the title. The recipe matches the 1965 version almost word for word, except for an additional bit about how much brown sugar to use if it’s granulated instead of packed. In order to track this version down, I’ll probably have to stop by the New York Public Library myself. In the meantime, I can only speculate on the one remaining mystery: where did Woman’s Day get the recipe from?
Update, January 31, 2009: After I posted the brief history above, I started searching for someone at Woman’s Day (or Hachette Filipacchi) who might be interested in tracking the recipe further. I found a few email addresses, but got no response. So I decided to intensify my efforts by guessing the email address of Woman’s Day’s editor-in-chief, Jane Chesnutt. It worked. She forwarded my email along to Suzan Schaefer, who emailed back the following:
Hi, I found your recipe. It was in the Dec 1964 Collectors Cookbook in Woman’s Day. When I was looking for your recipe, I went through every December issue from 1937 to 1952 and it wasn’t in any of them. It would have come from the kitchen here. They did all the recipes and tested them just as we do today.
Wow, thank you Suzan! Mystery solved. So turns out it didn’t come from the 1940s as I speculated. The reason the quality of my aunt’s scan looked so old was because it was printed on rough paper stock. I decided to buy a copy of the magazine just for the pleasure of traveling back in time 45 years to the moment when my grandmother presumably first stumbled upon Melt-in-the-Mouth cookies. Of course my mom would have been 13 at the time, so either her memory of “growing up with these cookies” is faulty, or my grandmother originally started making the cookies after seeing them in the December 1953 issue (when my mom would have only been 2), and then later pulled the page from the December 1964 Collectors Cookbook include in her archives.
You might recognize the annotated photo on the left, it’s the same one they used on page 430 of the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 3.
And here is the original source of my grandmother’s Melt-in-the-Mouth Cookies clipping: the bottom-right of page 57 and the top-left of page 58, from the December 1964 issue of Woman’s Day, in the Collector’s Cook Book, subtitled “The Merrie Christmas Cookie Book”.
Update, April 8, 2009: Thanks to Cary in the comments, I picked up a copy of the Woman’s Day Cookie Cook Book, published in 1962 by Fawcett Publications, Inc. which also has a copy of the Melt-in-the-Mouth cookie recipe on page 72. Neat.
Update, February 9, 2019: Thanks to Joe in the comments, the recipe also appeared in Woman’s Day from December 23, 1980 (15 years after the last known printing in The Woman’s Day Encyclopedia Cookbook at the top), split across pages 144 and 146 which I combined together in the image below. Oddly they shortened the name to Melt-in-Mouth Cookies (dropping the “the”) and in the ingredients they list “baking soda” instead of the traditional “baking powder”, though in the instructions they reference baking powder, so I’m assuming baking soda was a typo. (As an aside, according to ThoughtCo in The Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder, baking soda needs an acid for it to leaven, and according to Serious Eats in Cookie Science: The Real Differences Between Brown and White Sugars, the bitter molasses in brown sugar provides the acid, so perhaps baking soda would work…?) They also left off the 1/2 teaspoon of salt—I wonder if that’s because their readers were predominantly using salted butter/margarine, or more likely, their readers had become newly anxious (as of the late-70s) about their salt intake (see: Scientific American’s It’s Time to End the War on Salt), but not their cookie intake?
What an amazing saga, Justin! These must be pretty damned good cookies to have inspired such an exhaustive search. They sound delicious!
I love discovery stories like this.
Great story, and great sleuthing!
mom is re-writing history by calling these cookies melt-in-your-mouth not melt-in-the-mouth. So this story is continuing to be written.
Great detective work! But before a trip to NYPL, why not contact Woman’s Day directly? Perhaps they have an archivist on staff, or at least someone very familiar with the magazine’s publishing history, who would enjoy helping you find what you’re looking for. Or if they’re well-organized for the information age, maybe all the staff have access to a computerized index they could search for “Melt-in-the-Mouth Cookies” and list all the various publishing dates.
Pamela, they must be, because the batch I baked last night to illustrate this post were all devoured by the end of the day (over here at FM West Coast).
Michael, definitely. I really just wanted to do all my research first. I tried contacting Woman’s Day by email (not an easy feat—pretty much everything gets routed to an outsourced subscription department), but eventually I got the number for Hachette Filipacchi (apparently the largest magazine publisher in the world—that you’ve never heard of) the owners of Woman’s Day. Of course all this was happening over the holidays, and their offices were closed. And this post was growing long enough. So there may yet be a part 2…
These are what my Gran made for me in Scotland as a kid. She called them “melt-in-moments” which I always thought of as “melting moments” wonderful research.
“I can only speculate on the one remaining mystery: where did Woman’s Day get the recipe from?”
Your great grandma?
“I can only speculate on the one remaining mystery: where did Woman’s Day get the recipe from?”
Something tells me that the answer to that mystery will open up a few new mysteries.
You, my friend, have done the world a great service. In your honor I shall make these cookies and eat them with indescribable glee, akin to the wee lass.
The bit about the girl with indescribable glee was hilarious. It reminded me of James Lileks’ Gallery of Regrettable Food, which is good for a laugh.
Dan, they just don’t make kids like that anymore. The more I look at that Woman’s Day cover the more awesome it becomes to me. It’s almost frame-able.
I’m going to have to bake these cookies so I can look like that girl with indescribable glee.
I am impressed. I am amazed. I congratulate you and thank you for this post. I like your writing style, your sleuthing, your thoroughness, and your sharing. Good job. From another drive-by reader.
John C, wow, thanks for the compliments. Believe me, this was a labor of love. After a while it kind of took on a life of its own.
Now it’s in that quiet hibernating period where I’m waiting to see if anyone at Woman’s Day will respond to my emails, or if any other driveby readers happen to have any additional pieces to the puzzle.
As both a professional fact-checker and cookie fan, I truly admire your tenacity! I’ll be waiting to see what else you can turn up.
Just got word from someone at Woman’s Day that they identified the source of my Grandmother’s copy of the recipe. I’ll post more when I know more.
I really love modern detective stories like this. I made these last week after reading this but added a small amount of lemon zest (maybe half a lemon’s worth) which really adds something nice. Fantastic recipe!
Rob, nice improvisation.
I have friends who recently made a batch with chocolate chips (at their daughter’s request) and they actually turned out to be pretty decent chocolate chip cookies. Though the chocolate kind of overpowers the subtle brown sugar and vanilla in the original recipe, I found them to be much less dense than your average chocolate chip cookie (in a good way).
I’d be curious to try this recipe with “browned butter” like brown sugar cookie recipes I’ve discovered here and here.
I was making a little cookbook for my kids and couldn’t find the recipe…oddly enough, I not only have the Women’s day encyclopedia of cooking, I recognize the worn out red and green page from my mother’s recipe file (she would have been about 85 years old now). What a small world! This is our family’s favorite recipe, too.
You are a lunatic!
(I mean that in a good way.)
I am making these cookies this afternoon!
this was the best story i’ve read in a long time! thank you so much for sharing your journey! i am totally making these cookies.
Anne, I have the full set of recipes scanned in from the December 1953 issue available as a PDF. Email me if you’d like a copy.
I too have claimed this as one of my family’s favorite recipes. My Mother would make about 8 to 10 different cookies every Christmas and this was one of them. When she passed 5 years ago, the cookbooks got split among her children, and the recipe appears to be lost. After seeing the picture, I know she had that 24-page Christmas cookie pull-out tucked away in an old Betty Crocker cookbook. Just for grins today, I thought I would search the internet to see if I could find the recipe and lo and behold, it was the first recipe that popped up, as well as your story. I am so ecstatic to have found it and applaud your tenacity in finding the history. Tomorrow is my Mother’s birthday and I plan to bake these cookies in remembrance of her. Thank You!! As a side note, we always baked these on a griddle-like cookie sheet. The heavy pan baked the cookie more evenly with no browning on the edges.
What a great post! I can’t believe I read the whole thing! My Mom used to make those fried twists, but she called them Crischecks or something like that. She said they were polish. I guess recipes can be an important part of history and heritage.
I’ve just confirmed that my Grandmother’s clipping of Melt-in-the-Mouth Cookies came from the December 1964 issue of Woman’s Day, in a special Collector’s Cookbook insert. I’ve updated my post at the bottom with some new scans from this issue. Enjoy!
You’ve inspired me . . . I have a recipe of my grandmother’s for a “special” sugar cookie. Could it also have a history??? I think I’ll find out.
Your piece was great fun reading. I enjoyed it so much. Thank you for sharing! I think I’ll make cookies (Melt-In-The-Mouths) today!
Woman’s Day came out with a Woman’s Day Cookie Cookbook published by Fawcett in 1962. Paperback for 75 cents. MITM cookies are on page 72. I enjoyed your research. I hope I’m not taking up too much bandwidth.
Cary, thanks for that tip! I’ve just ordered a copy on eBay and will update this post when I have it in hand.
Just saw your link from notmartha.com’s site. I too read your whole piece. Wow, you rock. I love this recipe because it is exactly the kinds of ingredients we always have in stock. I hope they are still as excellent sans nuts. Seriously, I think you could solve our multi-trillion deficit if you put your mind to it!
Christie, fear not, they are great sans nuts. I’ll get to work on that deficit.
This is a wonderful example of discovering some family roots and the memories that make us who we are.
Great detective work. Thanks for the fun story.
I am so happy to find this recipe again. I used to bake them in the mid-70’s and somehow my recipe became lost and as I aged i just could not remember hos to make them. i am almost happy enough to cry. Instead I will go and make cookies. thank you and God bless you and your diligence.
Lenora, you are very welcome. I’m glad my post found you after all these years.
At long last I’ve finally updated this post (at the bottom) with scans from the 1962 Woman’s Day Cookie Cook Book, thanks to a tip from Cary in the comments. Enjoy.
I add cranberries too and it was a nice touch. (I used 15 and diced them very small.
Man, you are one tenacious detective. And how can anyone top such a nice story as one about grandma and cookies? Maybe you can find the source of the first published fruitcake recipe and we can band together to give them a good tongue-lashing!
Chuck, thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the story.
Thank you, I so enjoyed reading this. I am working on making a family cookbook with family favorite from my childhood along with new favorites I’d adopted as an adult. I love researching things and think you are awesome! I can’t wait to try these cookies.
Teri, so glad you enjoyed my sleuthing. I was amazed the rabbit hole went so deep. I hope these cookies become one more recipe that you adopt as an adult. Enjoy.
Thanks for the recipe! These are a favorite my cookies Grandma used to make when I was a kid.
I am hoping that you can help me. The Merrie Christmas Cookie Cookbook in the 1964 Woman’s Day Magazine is a family heirloom. Sadly it had detiorated to shreds and I only have the first page left. I have been searching the internet for a copy of that magazine to get that insert and make copies for my sisters. I have had no luck. Would you be able to tell me where I might find a copy or where I could find a scanned copy of the insert? I just made the orange date nut bars this past weekend.
Christine, I scanned every page of a mint condition copy of the 1964 Merrie Christmas Cookie Book when I wrote this post. Send me an email, and I’ll happily email you a copy of the scans, either as individual JPEGs or a single PDF.
Thank you for posting this recipe, as well as all your fine detective work! My mother made these cookies every Christmas, and since she passed away several years ago I’ve missed enjoying them. Now I can continue the tradition!
In case Christine was still looking for the actual copy of the “1964 Merrie Christmas Cookie Book”, I saw some on eBay for a few dollars, with shipping would be less than 10.
Thank you for posting up this recipe! I didn’t know I had the recipe all along when I went to my local library used books sale and bought the set of the Women’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery.
And by the way, I too also read the whole post. You really are a prolific writer, full of wit and humor. I enjoy reading both of yours and Stephanie’s blog. =)
Vince, so glad to hear that this post will bring Melt-in-the-Mouth Cookies back into your life. I hope they fill you with fond memories of your mother this holiday season.
Kim, I’m glad you’ve been enjoying my posts, both past and present ;)
I could not locate my recipe for these cookies today so thought I would try to Google for it and lo and behold there it was. I was so inspired by the recipe from the Woman’s Day Magazine that looked just like mine that I searched and finally found mine also. What a Treasure!!!! These are my husbands favorite cookies and now the Grand Children just love them also. I have found in recent years that using parchment paper to bake them on is the very best way to bake them as they come of of the baking sheet much easier.
Ruth, I’m so glad you were able to find the recipe just in time for the holidays! I’ve heard many people recommend parchment paper—I really need to pick some up and try it out one of these days.
Thanks so much for your detective work! I was also under the assumption that it was my grandmother’s recipe. They are and have always been my families favorite cookie. Its nice to know where they came from.
Jeffrey, I truly believed that my grandmother had created this cookie out of whole cloth. It’s almost funny how long I labored under that assumption. I’m glad you enjoyed learning a little bit about our shared history.
Would you happen to have the recipe from volume 3 for the Chocolate Charlotte Russe Cake? My grandmother and I have been searching for this recipe, and we would love to make it for our family. Please help us if you can. We would greatly appreciate it.
Sarah, I’m currently out of town, so I don’t have access to Volume 3 of the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery at the moment—but I will look it up in a week for you. Feel free to send me an email so I can send it directly to you (and to jog my memory).
Was thrilled to find this. My friend gave me this recipe a long time ago and I remember her taking out a beat up, falling apart at the seams cookbook that looked like the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia. When I did a search today, little did I know I’d find a history of this delicious recipe. What great research! So excited to make these again!
Genevieve, isn’t the internet awesome sometimes? Glad you enjoyed some of the background information on this recipe.
was wondering in your cookbook, vol 3, if you see Florentine Lace Cookies, it would be in the Christmas section? Been looking for this, I lost mine years ago.
Lucia, I’m currently traveling, so unfortunately my copy of volume 3 is in storage in California, but I have some scans of the Christmas cookie recipes from the December 1953 issue of Woman’s Day that might include the recipe. Send me an email and I’ll check for you.
Lucia, I checked the scanned images on my laptop, and all I have is a recipe for “Oatmeal Lace Cookies”. Let me know if you want it. Unfortunately it will be 10 months or more before I get back to volume 3 to check for Florentine Lace Cookies, which probably won’t help you this holiday season, but maybe next. Send me an email, and I’ll put it on my todo list. ;)
I have the “24 Christmas Cookie Recipes to Treasure” pages torn from the 1953 magazine, too! I had no idea what year the magazine clippings were from, until I found your post while trying to figure it out. It’s really cool to know the year that they are from. Thanks for doing that research!
Krista, you’re quite welcome.
I have this set of cookbooks, my mother collected them for me when I was quite young and then gave them to me when I got married. I also make these cookies you mentioned along with several others in the volume. I loved reading your blog about this recipe.
This recipe has also been part of our family cooking history for my lifetime. It was a real treat to read your research back to the origins. Thank You!
I loved reading your history of the “Melt-in-the-mouth” cookies. There is a similar story in my husbands side of the family…The “fried twists” are “Grandma Ochs Christmas Cookies” and it “just wouldn’t be christmas without them!” I also found the scanned magazine page from Woman’s Day on Chrissy’s blog…. showing “Grandma Ochs” christmas cookie recipe…. word for word! I think this year, I’m going to try Melt-in-your-Mouth cookies instead :)
Laurie, that’s terrific. Perhaps this Christmas I’ll make Grandma Ochs Christmas Cookies (aka fried twists) ;)
Was wondering if you had the sugar cookie recipe from that cookbook. Starting when I was young my grandma and mother made these cookies every Christmas. We went to make the cookies this year and we couldn’t find the cookbook anywhere’s! :( was hoping you can help me out?
Ashley, I just emailed you a scan of the “Sugar Cookies” recipe from the 1964 Woman’s Day Merrie Christmas Cookie Book. I hope it’s what you were looking for.
I’m just another grown kid searching for childhood cookies! I imagine my mama found this recipe in Woman’s Day like your grandmother did. No one else I knew ever made them, but we loved them. I have my mama’s handwritten recipe but they never come out like hers. I will compare notes tonight and see if she left out any “special” instructions. I look forward to sharing these with my grandkids this Christmas! Thanks for your diligence!
Melissa, you (and your grandkids) are very welcome! Happy Holidays.
I too thought it was a handed down family recipe. Funny how you are the only one you know around you where it is a traditional family Christmas cookie, but how small a world it is when you find others who thought the same.
Susie, I am in awe every December when I get comments from people all over who’ve rediscovered this old family favorite. Happy Holidays.
Oh wow, my mom made these cookies every year for Christmas. I love these cookies. She lost the recipe and, finally, after much pestering she gave me the recipe as best she could from memory and it is this recipe exactly. Not only that, she owned the woman’s day encyclopedia of cookery set but I could swear she said she got the recipe from an old magazine. Now if I could just find where she got the recipe for the yearly coconut, cornflake, meringue cookies that I don’t even know the name of. They had chocolate chips in them also. Hmm wonder if they are from these cookbooks.
Verna, unfortunately my copy of the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 3 is still in storage, and it probably won’t be until after February that I can check for you. I looked through my scans of both the Woman’s Day issues from December 1953 and the Collector’s Cook Book from Woman’s Day, December 1964, and the closet recipe they had was for something called “Coconut Kisses” effectively a coconut meringue cookie with a candied cherry on top—but no cornflakes.
Too funny!! My great grandmother made these cookies for us every year. When she passed away the recipe was lost & I’ve been trying to find it for years now. Since she came over from Germany and no one else had heard of these cookies, I figured she had brought the recipe with her. I share your sense of vague disappointment of my romanticized view of how the recipe came to me. However, I have a batch in the oven right now & I am very excited to share them with my kids :-)
Justin – I can’t tell you how much it means to me to find your post. I have held on to my mother’s original copy of that December 1964 pull-out until today. I carried it with my to the grocery and evidently the faded, worn pages slipped from my purse. The store manager helped me scour the trash bins – but evidently someone scooped up those prized pages before I realized they were missing. All I have left is the top of one page with the Oatmeal Lace Recipe. Those pages and recipes were my mother’s who has been gone for almost 15 years – but the memories of these cookies and her are with me today. Thank you for your post ….
Linda, I’m sorry for your loss, but happy for your rediscovery. I have scanned the pages of the 1964 pull out. Send me an email if you’d like an electronic copy. Alternatively, check on eBay, as there are frequently old issues for sale—just confirm with the seller that the “The Merrie Christmas Cookie Book” is still inside.
Good luck and happy holidays!
Hi Justin… As I told you in my August post… I DID make the Melt-In-The Mouth cookies for the family this Christmas and they were a huge hit. I couldn’t believe that little amount of dough made so many cookies!!! Unfortunately, I ran out of time and could not make “Grandma Ochs Christmas Cookies”, but I don’t think anyone was too disappointed with the change!
P.S. I would love a copy of the scanned 1964 pages if you wouldn’t mind.
Laurie, glad to hear the Melt-in-the-Mouths turned out. I’d love to send you the scans, but you’ll need to send me an email so I know who to send them to! ;)
i think it was a well thought recipe
Does anyone have the recipe for Yellow Rings Cookies from the 1960’s inserts from Woman’s
Day? And does anyone know if they have made those wonderful inserts into a book? I hope so.
Dale, I found the Yellow Rings cookie recipe in the Woman’s Day Cookie Cook Book from 1962 and 1963. Send me an email, and I’ll send you the recipe.
We have moved and my woman’s day encyclopedia of cookery set is missing my familys favorite cookie is the Christmas Sugar Cookie and Frosting I would really appreciate it if someone could help me find this recipe . Thanks
Marlene here is the recipe you are looking for.
Here is a link to what appears to be the frosting. http://www.makingmisschef.com/?p=267 Good Luck!
Dan, nice find. I emailed Marlene separately (it’s becoming an annual public service of mine) with a scan from my copy of the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery. Interesting to see how influential this one cookbook was from the 60s.
Hi. That’s me on the cover with the other children. I can still remember the photo shoot. We had to wear red pajamas in the day time! I was not happy about that.. however it was a wonderful experience. Thanks for the memory.
Mary Kate McDonnell
Mary Kate McDonnell, wow, that’s amazing! Which of the two girls were you? Do you have a photo of yourself from that timeframe that I could add to this post? Feel free to email me.
I came upon this page by googling the December 1953 Woman’s Day Magazine, which I was considering selling in my little collectibles shop. I don’t think I ever had the Melt in the Mouth cookies, but when I turned the page what should jump out at me but MY mother’s Springerle cookies. Who knew? Now I have to keep the magazine. LOL.
Thank you for posting this recipe!! My husband and father-in-law have been talking about these cookies for a couple of years now, and we have not been able to find it in the cookbooks left behind by my mother-in-law. Thankfully we didn’t toss the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery-she collected all the volumes- and I was able to find it right away in Volume 3, right where you said it would be! Thank you for all your diligent research! The Harding boys will be so happy to have “Melt-in-the-Mouth” cookies once again……I just hope I can make them as well as my mother-in-law used to!
Erin, I’m so glad this blog post could play a part in bringing Melt-in-the-Mouth cookies back into your life and the life of your family. I expect this Christmas will be a sweet one!
I grew up with the Oatmeal Lace Cookies, which I’ve been making from memory most of my adult life. I’d love the real recipe. In fact, I’m making them right this minute. Thanks for that.
Joan, I’ve emailed you a scan of the recipe, hope it comes close to your memory! Enjoy.
On Nov 22, 2015 Cindy emailed a comment to you about a Springerle cookie recipe in the December 1953 Woman’s Day magazine. Would you consider emailing me a copy of that recipe? I bought a Springerle mold and need a good recipe to try it out with. I wish I had a ’53 copy of that magazine too.
I came across this blog and history of where melt-in-the-mouth cookies actually came from. You see, I grew up with my mother making these cookies every Christmas. No one has ever seemed to hear of them outside my family. My mother was born in 1948, which makes me think she must have gotten her hands on a copy of women’s day or my grandma did. This is fascinating to me. Thank you for posting this! Christina Kish-Commerce Twp, MI
Hi Justin, I love these cookies! Melt-in-the-Mouths. My mom use to make these every Christmas along with some of the others from this book. She would put them in tins and give them to everyone. My sister and I loved them so much, we would sneak down stairs and eat them. She would always have to make more. My sister and I still talk about it. How nice of you to print all this information on this wonderful cookie. I noticed that you have copies of these recipes. If you do could you please email them to me. If their is a cost please let me know. No cookies compare. Especially Melt-in-the-Mouth. Thank you lori
Hi Justin, it’s Donna again. I’m visiting a friend in
Wyoming and we’re thinking about baking THE COOKIES. Do you know if there are adjustments that can and need to be made to bake them at 7000 ft altitude?
Btw, did I ever tell you that my husband’s family were the publishers of Woman’s Day?
Hope you see this and get a chance to let me know about any changes we should make. Thanks ?
Not being one to wait, we went ahead and made the cookies. We added about 2 Tbs of flour. They were perfect.
Next time, we’re going to just follow the recipe and bake a batch and if more flour is needed we will add it to the remaining dough. Love seeing all the correspondence about these cookies. ?
Nice history. This recipe was also published in Woman’s Day 12/23/1980. It was passed down from my Mom. I have the page with the ingredients but misplaced the page with the directions. The only difference is the 1980 recipe uses baking soda instead of baking powder. I have the original first page if you wanted to add it to your history. I also have December 1953 Woman’s Day edition that was passed down from my Mom. A lot of fun to look at the old ads and articles, but the recipes are timeless.
What a story! I love that you went down the rabbit hole with this story.
My sisters and brother made these cookies for ourselves after school. We always had these ingredients on hand and we never made them with nuts. Chocolate chip cookies were out of the question, you can’t keep chocolate in a house of five kids! But, I always loved these more than Chocolate chip.
When I was trying to rediscover this recipe (Mom doesn’t know where we got the recipe!) I did an image search and these were the only ones that looked like the cookies we made. They taste exactly how I remember them.
Thanks for posting!
I’m looking for the picture with the children with the red backround Dec.1964 issue
I’m going through a similar investigation now to find a “christmas rocks” cookie recipe that my grandmother used to make when I was a kid. Her handwritten note says it’s in the 1953 Ladies Home Journal, but I recently found a source online (link led to nowhere) that pointed to the 1953 December edition of Woman’s Day. If you happen to see this, would you mind looking through to see if you can find a recipe for “rocks”? Form what I remember, they had corn flakes in them–but that could have been one of mommom’s additions. Thanks!
And in a weird chain of web-surfing I find this. As it happens I’m the child at the very bottom of the cover photo. I’m going to have to try the cookies!
Could I trouble you with a request?
I used to own this issue and sadly, I did not make color photo copies of the ‘Party Tunic’ aprons on pages 83.
Could I buy a color scan or high res color photo of that page from you? You could e-mail it to me, or I could furnish my address and money for postage.
I wish to have it, as I am making patterns to create these and would sell the patterns on my site.
Happiest of Holidays to you!!
Happy to scan them for you, I’ll follow up via email
I came across this article while digitizing my grandmother’s recipe for Melt-in-the-Mouth cookies. Like you, I figured the recipe was passed around by friends and family, but never published. Thanks for all the history!
Thanks for posting this! I found my Mother’s Little Butter’s’ s recipe yesterday doing a search. Her recipes were also lost & they are the Woman’s Day December 1953 magazine.
Because of your post I looked on ebay & ordered the December 1953 Woman’s Day cookie magazine.
So great a find! I thought those recipes were lost to us forever.