One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.  

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

This is a big, thick, old-fashioned oatmeal cookie.  It’s not fancy – just sweet and good.  With the lack of directions, I wasn’t sure until I had the dough mixed whether they would be drop cookies or rolled cookies.  I was glad the dough turned out to be very easy-to-roll so I could use my vintage heart cookie cutters.


  • Servings: 2-3 doz. depending on size of cutter and thickness of dough
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  • 2-½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup oats (quick cooking)
  • ¾ cup margarine
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Lightly grease cookie sheets

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and oats.

In a large mixer bowl, cream the margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla.

Add the whisked dry ingredients gradually to the creamed mixture and beat until blended.

Roll dough on lightly floured surface to ¼ inch thickness.

Cut out with 2-inch to 3-inch cookie cutters.

Place on greased cookie sheets, two inches apart.

Bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes until cookies are golden brown.

Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on size. 

I also liked them with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar before baking.

These cookies are also good rolled 1/8 thick and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and baked until crisp (8-10 minutes).

I like to think about this mother in the 1940s, having these cookies waiting for her kids when they came home from school with their penny Valentines.