Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DEADLINE RECIPES: Grandma Polly’s Recipe for Many-Ways Cookies

Harlequin Presents Extra author Mira Lyn Kelly shares a favorite short cut recipe, and a little about the woman who used it.

Anyone who knows me in real life, knows about Grandma Polly. Though she passed away a few years ago, she remains one of the most special and influential people in my life…and she pops up in casual conversation fairly regularly. Reason being, in addition to all the hugs and kisses and her general grandmotherly knack for making everyone feel like they were the most special person on the planet, Grandma Polly was a woman with whom I had much in common.

Our affection for card games. That quiet competitive streak that most often revealed itself during heated games of Scrabble. Our appreciation of Mother Nature’s majesty. And our propensity to use the wrong word in a sentence. And of course, our deep and abiding love of the hard earned, leave me breathless through the journey, HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Yes, it was GP who traumatized me at 14, by shipping a crate of her old romance paperbacks!

But more significantly in my adult life, our families. When I found myself overwhelmed by the prospect of having four children within three years, Grandma Polly (mother of four sons within four years) assured me that it could be done. That I would be able to do it, just as she had. That it was a matter of remembering my priorities. Making smart choices. And above all, it was about love…something she’d had for me in abundance…even after raising those four wild boys!

Sadly, Grandma Polly didn’t get to see me become a romance writer for Harlequin. It would have tickled her like nothing else. But she did get to see me loving my family and learning to juggle a life that often leaned toward chaos. It made her smile and laugh, and of course, offer up more of those hugs and whispered assurances that I could handle anything. She was full of advice, tips and recipes whenever I needed them. And here is one recipe of hers that I make with my kids… and usually have to wipe a tear or two away while doing it…

MANY-WAYS BUTTER COOKIES (for the busy mom who wants a special cookie plate, but doesn’t have time to whip up a zillion batches of dough)

1C Butter
1C Sugar
1 Egg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 C sifted flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, salt, and vanilla and beat well. Blend in flour. Divide into 4 parts and shape as directed below. Bake at 375F for 7-10 min.

1. Drop cookies (rounded tsps.): Flatten slightly with a glass, buttered and dipped in colored sugar.
2. Spritz cookies
3. Molded peppermint cookies: Shape into tsp balls. Roll in a mixture of 1Tbs finely crushed peppermint candy and 1Tbs sugar before baking.
4. Cut-out cookies: Roll on flour surface to 1/8 inch thickness


  1. Mira, help me out. What on earth is a spritz cookie?

  2. Ros, those cookies that you fill the tube with dough, and then crank it out through a little template to make different shapes. Here's a link to a zillion images of them... https://www.google.com/search?q=spritz+cookie&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=1Td&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvnse&source=lnms&tbm=isch&ei=IbPmTs7QNZTxgget-9j-CA&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=2&ved=0CCUQ_AUoAQ&biw=1344&bih=531

  3. Hi Mira

    This reminds me of a dough I used to make. You divided it into three parts and then added different ingredients to the three parts to make different cookies. I know you blended cocoa powder into one and added maraschino cherries and a bit of their juice into one third. The last third was just the plain dough. If you wanted to get really fancy you could shape it into a three layer log and chill it for about one hour. Then sliced and baked them for Neapolitan cookies. I only did the last step once. I usually just made some kind of cookie out of the three different colored doughs.

  4. Kaelee, that sounds very good too. Before I had quite so many kids I used to be an unstoppable Christmas cookie making machine. 17 different varieties! Making most of my recipes from Martha Stewart's LIVING magazine. It took forever, and I did a couple of those Neapolitan style too, lol. Never as pretty as the cover pics though, lol. These days I stick to the crowd favorites and whatever the kids want to work on. So this recipe and depending on the year, maybe three or four others tops.

  5. Huh. I have never seen that name or technique before (though I suspect I have eaten some)! Am very tempted to try it now.

  6. Hope you enjoy them if you get a chance to whip some up :-)