Baking Nostalgia

18 Dec

This is the first Christmas with both my parents gone and It has made me a little nostalgic. I’ve been thinking about the mountain of Christmas cookies Mom used to make. Watching reruns of the Great British Baking Show, I’ve been thinking about fruit cake and Dad. He loved a good fruit cake. He sold and gifted Shriner’s fruitcakes, and I remember one year when Mom & Dad made one and it sat, wrapped in brandy soaked cheesecloth, in the fruit cellar in the months leading up to Christmas.

So, feeling nostalgic, I baked this weekend.

First, I made Mom’s “Sweet Marie Bars on Saturday.


Sweet Marie Bars 


1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tbsp butter
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup salted peanuts
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips


In a medium pot over medium-low heat melt peanut butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and butter; once melted allow to gently bubble.

Remove from heat and add Rice Krispies and salted peanuts. Mix well then press into a greased (I use butter) 8- or 9-inch square dish.

Pour semi-sweet chocolate chips onto the still-hot peanut layer and wait a minute for the chips to soften – then, as they melt, spread evenly to create a chocolate top layer. Let cool and cut into 20-25 squares before the chocolate gets too hard.

As tempted as I was to make a fruitcake, I took an easier route. A few years ago I discovered an excellent recipe from Ina Garten called “Fruitcake Cookies”.  They have everything I love about fruitcake, but are finished in hours, not months. I think Dad would have enjoyed them. I don’t think I can paste the recipe in here for copyright reason, but if you are interested, here is the link to the recipe. They are delicious.


Wishing you all the best for the holidays.


8 Responses to “Baking Nostalgia”

  1. theapplesinmyorchard December 18, 2018 at 7:04 am #

    A sweet and delicious post! Thanks for sharing your memories (and a recipe) with us!

  2. Sonia Jaffe Robbins December 18, 2018 at 7:09 am #

    What poignant memories, but so wonderful that they prompted you to bake. Those fruitcake cookies look very interesting. In my early days of marriage I used to make fruitcake: I loved the idea of a cake filled with booze. And they were tasty. Fruitcakes are unfairly maligned. I will definitely try these cookies. Happy New Year!

  3. arjeha December 18, 2018 at 7:41 am #

    There is just something about baking cookies,that says “holidays”. Thanks for the recipe. It sounds delicious and has all of my favorite things in it – chocolate. peanut butter, rice krispies. I made some Czechoslovakian cookies yesterday and am set to make some lemon kiss cookies today.

  4. Frances B December 18, 2018 at 9:43 am #

    That first Christmas after a great loss is always the hardest. What a great way to ‘savour’ your parent’s memories. I think you might enjoy this quick & easy recipe for a snack that will be great for Christmas. I first tasted it at the Ritz in Paris and experimented to recreate it at home:

  5. Brian Rozinsky December 18, 2018 at 4:34 pm #

    Nostalgia may never have tasted so good. Thanks for sharing this combination of memories, recipes, and images. Happy holidays!

  6. Lisa Corbett December 18, 2018 at 5:56 pm #

    I’m wishing I had checked in earlier! I can’t make the Sweet Marie bars this late. Actually, I wouldn’t be able to make them anyway because we require a peanut free house. 😦 I hope that baking these brought you some opportunities to remember happy times with your parents. The first year, with all the “first” milestones must be the hardest.

  7. A Week or a Weekend December 20, 2018 at 8:54 pm #

    I LOVE those fruitcake cookies. SO good. Maybe we should try soaking them, tho, just to test it, of course 😉

  8. Brian Gillespie December 22, 2018 at 9:22 am #

    Great post, Adrienne. I’ve been trying to remember the name of the squares Mom made. Now I know. Baking them this afternoon. Thanks and Merry Christmas!!!

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