Wednesday, December 18, 2019

VIRTUAL ADVENT TOUR: Nan's Frying Pan Cookies

Hello, and welcome again to the Virtual Advent Tour, hosted by sprite writes. Check her blog everyday for a new Advent post from all over the world.

When my children were quite young, every Christmas Eve, my mom and I would bundle them up and we would to to visit my paternal grandmother, whom we called Nan. She lived forty-five minutes away from us, an easy drive on a winter day. The great-grands called her Great Nan. Because she was a Great Nan, and the name was perfect.

We would be taking some presents up to her, and she would have a little lunch for us as well. She had presents for all her great-grandchildren, numbering around 21. As we entered the house, heads bumping on the wind chime as we passed into the dining room (a little noise to let her know someone had arrived) and the children would run to the candy dish. 

The famous china candy dish, always kept full of little treats. I remember not wanting my kids to gorge themselves on the candy and nuts (all choking hazards!) and worrying that they would break the china. But I couldn't be the only one to move the candy dish, so, just like when I was young, treats and candy and sweets were a part of a visit to Nan's. 

Not quite the same, but this is the style, with separate china sections, all potentially breakable!
After a chat, and catch up, Nan would put out a little lunch for us. A homemade meat pie, smothered with mustard pickles, and a plate of sweets for dessert. The sweets would include shortbreads with a dollop of icing and half a walnut, peanut butter balls, and my favourite, Frying Pan Cookies. There was also dark fruit cake, but just like red wine and dark rum, the dark foods are an acquired taste, and it seems to take until your forties to enjoy these darker foods. While I didn't eat dark fruit cake then, I would now. 

But this post is meant to be about the Frying Pan Cookies, my traditional Christmas cookie. I got this recipe from her when I was young and love to make, and eat them. It would be easy to make a gluten-free version, if you have a gluten-free rice crispie type cereal.

Frying Pan Cookies

1 1/2 c. chopped dates
1 C white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cap full of vanilla

1/2 tsp salt
2 C Rice Krispies
1.5  C walnuts, chopped fine
1 bag coconut - I like unsweetened but use your favourite type
Mix dates, sugar and eggs in frying pan. Cook 10 minutes, smashing the dates down or until dates are soft. Cool some, then add vanilla, Rice Krispies and walnuts and mix well till it's all stickey.

Butter your hand well, roll mixture into balls then roll balls in coconut. Makes 4-5 dozen, depending on how large you roll them. These freeze really well, and can become your favourite frozen treat to sneak from the freezer.