Church cookbooks are wonderful.
Along with great ideas for mealtime and fond reminders of potluck gatherings, they're a little snapshot of history.
Recipes can hearken back to when fewer ingredients showed up pre-processed to when flour and soda got sifted together, etc.
Terry J. Aman/MDN
Or they can reflect changing times, when there's no longer a stigma attached to the time-saving convenience of a box cake mix as an ingredient.
Some reflect leaner times, war times where one commodity or another might not be available but clever cooks figured out how to make good without.
And sometimes you can find in their pages new family favorites.
When I went to college my mom sent our church's 30-year celebration cookbook with me, "A Taste of Hope," compiled at Hope Lutheran Church, and over the years I've shared some of those recipes in these pages.
One of my favorites from that book is "Simple Sugar Cookies" from Blanche Iverson.
It's a great basic cookie recipe that can be modified any way you like. Extracts, spices and flavorings of any sort can be added to taste, and one tip I've discovered is that if you add a 1/4 cup to a 1/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk to the mix, the consistency is easier to work with and it mellows the flavor ever so slightly. Enjoy!
Simple Sugar Cookies
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup margarine
1 cup salad oil
4-1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients together and drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake 12 minutes or until done. Makes 5 to 6 dozen.
Recipe by Blanche Iverson. From "A Taste of Hope" cookbook, a 30-year celebration of Hope Lutheran Church in Fargo, 1957-1987.