Orange Flavor Extract Cookies–A 1940s Recipe

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 cookie is very typical of the 1940s – a big, fat cookie that is crisp on the outside and somewhat cake-like on the inside with a light orange flavor.  At the writer’s suggestion, I added chocolate chips to the dough and on some of the batches, pressed raisins or a pecan half in each cookie before baking.  They are all good and very satisfying.

I love this McCoy cookie jar I inherited from my mother


  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • 1 tsp.soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Lightly grease cookie sheets

In large mixer bowl, cream light brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and shortening.  Mix in milk and orange extract.

In separate bowl, whisk together the soda, salt, baking powder, and flour.  Add to creamed mixture, mixing well.

Drop by rounded measuring tablespoon on greased cookie sheet, two inches apart.

Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes @ 350 degrees F until cookies are golden brown.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 48 cookies – 2-½ inch diameter 

Also delicious with raisins….

…and with nuts.

Grandparents’ Day and a New Dessert


Yesterday, on Grandparents’ Day, my two youngest grandchildren showed up at my front door, bearing handmade gifts as usual …. six-year-old Dolphin ….


…and ten-year-old Jellyfish (currently in training as a “Ghostbuster”).

joshsuitJellyfish had taken my picture last week and printed out a frame and mounted it plus he made a great bookmark.


Dolphin had promised me a hundred times on Saturday that she would make my favorite Scottie, which she did, along with a colored picture of a grandma and granddaughter baking.  She even made her own wrapping paper and a paper bow.

gifts_0002Their mother has always had a mug made up with a picture on it for Grandparents’ Day.  This year, number 11 will join the others on my special shelf.


I fixed a roast beef dinner for the family and for dessert tried out one I had seen on All Recipes, Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball.  I called it a “girly” dessert but my son-in-law and grandson managed to enjoy some of it, maybe not as much as my two daughters and I did.


  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese (not low-fat or Neufchatel), softened
  • 1/2 cup butter (butter only, no substitutes), softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

In a medium bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and softened butter until smooth.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, shape the chilled cream cheese mixture into three balls.  Wrap each ball in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Before serving, roll one ball in toffee bits, one in pecans and keep one with just the chocolate chips.

I served these dessert cheese balls with honey pretzels, thin cinnamon wafers and Golden Delicious apple slices.

The comments on All Recipes indicated some people had problems getting the mixture to form a ball.  Other people suggested storing the beaten cheese mixture in a metal bowl and refrigerating overnight.  They also stressed using only full-fat butter and cream cheese.  I followed these suggestions and had no problems forming the balls.

It was a fun dessert and a nice ending to our Grandparents’ Day dinner.


Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


I first made these cookies in 1956 when I was the young mother of an infant boy and a toddler daughter.  They were very popular and I continued to make them over the years.  I remember when we lived in a pretty white house in the suburbs in the 1960s, all the neighborhood kids would gather on the back porch when the aroma of these cookies wafted out the screen door on summer days.  The cookies won ribbons at our county fair and at the Ohio State Fair in the 1980s.  Today, I baked another batch with the “help” of my youngest granddaughter, and they still taste good.



  • Servings: approx. 60 cookies
  • Print

¾ cup margarine or butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
1 egg
1-1/2 cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2-1/2 cups quick cooking dry oatmeal
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped nuts

Large mixer bowl:  Beat together margarine/butter, sugars, water, and egg.  Sift together flour, soda and salt, and add to shortening mix.  Add oatmeal and vanilla.  Stir in chocolate chips, raisins, nuts.

Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart.

Bake @ 375 degrees F for about 6-1/2 minutes.Yield:  Approx. 60 cookies 

Note:  Could be made as plain oatmeal cookies or with the addition of only chips or raisins or nuts.