Monday, December 22, 2008


~ Francis Pharcellus Church

~ Santa


~ The Larson Family's treasured shared ginger cookie recipe


1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
2 Tbsp. dark corn syrup
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. cardamom
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and syrup.
  • Sift flour and dry ingredients. Add to first mixture. Mix well. Let dough stand in refrigerator overnight. Roll and cut.
  • Bake 8 - 12 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet. (makes 22 BIG gingerbread men)


(Judy O's)

1/2 pound unsalted (room temperature) butter
2 egg yolks
2 - 2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix all ingredients together. Be sure the butter is soft. You must mix everything by hand all at once. Fill spritz gun right immediately.
  • Bake about 10 minutes or until cookies turn light golden brown.



1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. rum extract (or rum)
1 egg
2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
  • Cream butter; add sugar and cream until fluffy. Add vanilla and rum and mix. Add egg and mix.
  • Combine flour, nutmeg and salt. Add gradually to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill thoroughly.
  • Allowing one tablespoon dough for each cookie, shape into balls. Bake on ungreased baking sheet in a preheated 350 degree oven about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool. Frost with Rum Frosting.(makes about 4 dozen)

Rum Frosting

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 to 2 tsp. rum extract (or rum)
2 to 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp. milk

Cream butter. Add rum and mix well. Add confectioners' sugar gradually and beat until smooth and creamy. Add milk as needed. Continue beating until smooth and creamy.



Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. "Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' "Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"



"VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


F Cameron said...


Thank you for sharing your family cookie recipes with us. These must be delicious!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Rose said...

I've always loved this story of Virginia's letter and the response; thanks for posting it, Joey.
I'm always looking for new Christmas cookie recipes--those eggnog cookies sound delicious! I use a different recipe for spritz that contains cream cheese; in fact, I have a bowl of dough in the fridge right now, waiting till this afternoon when young Granddaughter will be over to make cookies with me.
I bet your kitchen smells wonderful about now, Joey!

Anonymous said...

Oh I haven't read that in so long, thanks for posting it! What a great response to a little one's question!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Virginia's letter is one of the holiday classics I've always loved. Still brings a little tear to my eye, no matter how many times I hear it.

Love the winter solstice picture in the previous post.

Anonymous said...

I love that story Joey, thanks for sharing it. Such a classic tale for this time of the year. Thanks for the cookie recipes too, yum-yum!

Katarina said...

Imagine finding a recipe for Swedish pepparkakor on an American blog...Christmas must be here!

I wish you a very happy and merry Christmas, Joey!

Marysol said...

Oh Holy Night, all the cookie recipes sound so wonderful!
I still have a little more baking to do, and I think I'll skip plan A, and go right for your Sprainyerbacken. Sorry Joey, sometimes it's easier to spell'em as I see them.

At any rate, I just made gingerbread cookies, but my recipe is a little different from yours; I wish I would've thought of using Cardamom in mine. Pout.

Anonymous said...

Joey! I"ve been hoping and hoping for the perfect ginger cookie recipe, and I bet that's it. One thing--do you think I can sub molasses for the corn syrup? Can't do corn syrup. THANK YOU! Hugs! Kathryn xoxo

spookydragonfly said...

It was so nice to see Virginia's letter and the response here...haven't read this in a long time. It certainly captures part of the Christmas spirit! Merry Christmas to you and yours, Joey!