Monday, October 3, 2016

Praline Cookies

It's been almost a year since my last post and a lot of life has happened around here in the meantime.  As usual with life, it has been a mix of good and bad.  I'm not sure I want to dwell on the bad, but on the good side of things, we started volunteering for a local animal rescue group and have fostered six kittens so far.  Our own pets aren't really into sharing their home with the interlopers, but it makes us feel good when we look at the "before" pictures and know that we have made a difference, at least in a small way.

For example, here is one of our current boarders:

Penn, day 1

Penn, now.  What a handsome devil!

But now, back to food!

This copy of the Watkins Hearthside Cookbook (1952) followed me home about a year ago.  I know my grandmother had an earlier Watkins book and liked it, so I decided to give it a whirl.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I really bought it because I thought the illustrations inside were adorable.  Sure, newer cookbooks have some drool-worthy photos in them, but how many are this cute?

While looking for something to entertain my sweet tooth, the recipe for Dream Bars initially caught my eye, but then I noticed the Praline Cookies next to it and thought they sounded like they had potential and would be a lot quicker to make.

When I make cookies (which isn't often because I cannot keep my #$%^ hands out of them!), I have to locate the Break-Up Spatula, which is the best cookie lifter ever.  I was told by Farm Boy when we married that if we divorced, I am morally obligated to steal this from him.  Legend has it that he stole it from his ex, who stole it from a former roommate.  And while I can't prove that it was stolen before then, I feel certain that the roommate wasn't the original owner.  If only this thing could talk, I'm sure it would have some tales to tell.

Chambers stove range
The Break-Up Spatula, ready to work
This recipe was pretty easy to make.  I wasn't sure if the baking sheet should be buttered or not, so I went ahead and used parchment paper.  I could have sworn that the recipe stated to flatten the cookies "using a drinking glass", but I would have sworn wrong.  I did, though, use a drinking glass, which I dipped in sugar before each flattening.

The cookies spread more than I expected, turning into thin, very crunchy/crispy, caramelized brown sugar discs.  My taste testers gave them rave reviews and I had to fight to bring home the last few cookies for myself.  And because I can't keep my %$#@ hands out of them, they were all gone within a day. 

Chambers stove range
Mmmm, I can almost smell them now!

Praline Cookies (Printable version)
From the Watkins Hearthside Cookbook (1952)
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Watkins vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375F. 
Sift the flour once, measure and resift with the salt.  Cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat thoroughly.  Stir in the dry ingredients, then add the nuts.
Form into small balls the size of small walnuts and flatten on the baking sheet to 1/4" thickness.  They should be about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 375F for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on baking pans about 2 minutes, then remove to wire cake racks to cool.  This recipe will make about 3 dozen cookies. 


  1. OMG!! You must think I'm stalking you! Really, something inside said to check your blog and here you JUST posted! Maybe I do need a life. :) AND, you've managed to combine two of my favourite things: cookies and kittens. This recipe sound like a winner already and it's from a completely new-to-me cookbook. Your so right that modern cookbooks lack a bit in the charm department. I have a lot of pamphlet cookbooks that have similarly creative artwork.Thanks for posting..... a loyal reader. ;)

  2. I'm so glad you did check - I've been away for so long, I was sure that I had been forgotten!

    Kittens and cookies are two of my favorite things, too (obviously!). But I had to put the kittens back in their room while I was making the cookies because one of them, Flynn, kept trying to steal the butter off the counter while it was softening. He must have picked up his love of butter from me. ;)