I suppose this recipe could be considered vintage.
It's more than 50 years old, like me, and I think it's origin is probably sometime in the 1950's.
I've seen these cookies in bakeries, disguised under many different names, but I've always known them as Wagon Wheel Cookies. No idea, I guess someone thought they looked like a wagon wheel or maybe they were first made popular when Oregon celebrated it's Centennial, back in 1959. Which I do remember . . . damn, I am old. But I remember the pioneer costumes everyone wore and the long skirts and bonnets we had for the event. When you're little, dress up is nearly as fun as fresh baked cookies.
The faded and stained recipe card is in my mother's handwriting. That makes the cookies special and credited for them is her dear friend, Theresa Stensrud. Our families were also friends and we spend a lot of time together. The kids playing games of all kinds (including sneaking raspberries from their garden - still the best I have ever tasted - and trying to throw rocks high enough to put out the street light on the corner - which none of us managed to do . . . really). The mom's would do mom things, like drinking gallons of coffee seated at the kitchen table (my mom most likely copied this recipe down there), laughing and talking about the card parties that always seemed to be on going. I can remember the dad's having a beer or two and helping each other with various projects, including the building of additions to each of our homes, plus they both worked for the railroad.
I've shared this on Facebook. It's the Nation and Stensrud kids!
It's Elaine's confirmation.
From left to right: nearly cut out of the photo is her brother Mark, me (totally jealous of her white dress and veil), my sister Jody, Elaine (looking like a little bride doll), my sister Cathy and her brother Doug.
Here they are together, before the arrival of another brother, Chris and youngest sister, Stacy.
Like most recipes, you cream the eggs, vanilla and sugar together first. I was trying to be faithful to the recipe, so I used actual shortening. That's right, I used Crisco - Butter flavored, don't you know, which didn't exist then, but it sounded better. Butter. That always sounds good to me.
The chocolate gets melted with the shortening and added in, then the flour, salt and baking powder.
I left out the nuts. I always leave out the nuts. If you like nuts, go for it !
Let the dough cool in the fridge, until it firms up or you can leave it overnight, if you want. Then roll the dough into walnut sized balls and cover with powdered sugar. That's what gives them the nice crackle look.
Put them on an un-greased pan and press them down with the bottom of a glass.
If the glass wants to stick, dip the bottom of it in the sugar, first.
Baking in the oven.
I found that if I used my good cookie sheets, the double layered kind, I had no problems with over baking. When I use a single layered, regular cookie sheet- the time had to be reduced or the bottoms would burn a little.
You can probably click on this and enlarge the recipe if you'd like to give these a try.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes
Bake at 300 degrees for 18 - 20 minutes
( I opted for the first)
That's my mom's recipe box, behind the plate of cookies, filled with recipes and family and friendship and memories. She would have been 95, now.
These cookies were a special request of my oldest daughter for her birthday. The Wagon Wheels, Lemon flavored and frosted Shortbread and Oatmeal cookies with the works, which includes plenty of spices, chocolate chips, raisins and Heath bar chips, No Nuts, but sometimes a handful of coconut.
Packed and ready to ship out.
Happy Birthday, April ( it was last month, but who's counting).
I hoped you liked your grandma's cookies and mine, too.
I didn't include the over cooked, because of the wrong cookie sheet, cookies . . . but not surprisingly, even they disappeared quickly!