homepage logo

2,500 cookies in 15 hours

By Staff | Dec 6, 2013

-Farm News photos by Clayton Rye MEMBERS OF “the cooking crew” were in the midst of their annual marathon Christmas baking day on Saturday. From left are Renee Bormann’s daughter, Mallory Bormann, aunt Doreen Koepke, of Algona; Marlene Harang, of Lake Mills; sister Sandy Boekelman, of Algona; and niece Lisa DeGroot, of Orange City.



ALGONA – Eighteen years ago Darlene Zwiebel started using the Saturday after Thanksgiving to bake Christmas cookies in her home assisted, by her daughters and their children on the family farm southeast of Burt in Kossuth County.

“Mom always taught us it was important to sit down every night and eat as a family,” said daughter Renee Bormann of Algona. That evening meal was a four-course meal.

Zwiebel died 11 years ago, but the Saturday after Thanksgiving tradition continued on Nov. 30.

THIS IS WHAT many people will see when the 2,500 cookies are divided among the four families and then given away to friends, neighbors and family.

“Instead of going shopping, we go baking,” said Bormann.

From the family farm, the event moved to Bormann’s Britt home. For the past several years, the home of her daughter, Sandy Boekelman, of Algona, has been the location of the all-day baking marathon that starts about 8 a.m. and ends about 11 p.m.

“The family grew and the house had to get bigger,” said Sandy Boekelman.

At the end of the day, there will be 2,500 cookies plus candy and more made in her kitchen. Each recipe is doubled in size to accomplish the quantity they want.

“You should see all the butter, eggs, sugar, peanut butter and almond bark we go through,” said Renee Bormann.

BOTH TRADITIONAL family favorites and new recipes are done during the annual post-Thanksgiving baking of Christmas cookies and candy.

Those ingredients are used to make cashew cookies, candy bar-filled cookies, date balls, Oreo balls, peanut butter cup cookies, chocolate drops, pecan taffy and caramels.

These creations will be divided four ways among the family members and then given away to friends, neighbors, and family. One cooking crew member said the only treats her family gets are the ones her husband is able to get off the plate before being given away.

Recipes that have been made for years are baked, and new recipes are tried each year. If the group approves of the new recipe, it will be used in the future. Not all recipes pass that first test, according to Bormann.

Everything that is made is photographed to aid in deciding what to make the next year.

Bormann said the worst job during the day is the dipping.

RENEE BORMANN holds one of the copies of a family cookbook printed a few years ago and its swelling pages show that more recipes have been added since.

After spending one Saturday baking, the cooking crew travels the next Saturday to Sioux Falls, S.D., for Christmas shopping.

The men stay behind.

Date balls

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup dates (cut-up)

1 cup sugar

2 beaten eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups Rice Krispies

1/2 cup nuts

Pinch of salt


Powdered sugar for rolling

Put butter and dates into a warm skillet and stir. Beat together sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla.

Stir into date mixture and keep stirring over medium heat until it leaves the sides of the pan.

Add Rice Krispies and nuts. Drop by teaspoon size of a ball desired into coconut and powdered sugar.

Cashew cookies

1/2 cup margarine

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

1/3 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cup of cashew pieces

Cream butter and sugar, and add rest of ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Cashew cookie frosting

1/2 cup of butter

3 tablespoons cream or milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Brown butter and cool slightly. Add other ingredients and beat until spreading consistency.

Swirled holiday

snowball cookies

1 1/2 cups softened butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt.

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cups Nestle Toll House Swirled Holiday Morsels

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy.

Gradually beat in flour. Stir in morsels and nuts.

Shape level teaspoons of dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Remove from oven.

Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired.

Store in airtight containers.

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

Peanut butter

cup cookies

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 bag Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups

Mix all the ingredients and put about the size of a walnut into ungreased mini muffin pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes.

Push unwrapped peanut butter cups down into cookies immediately after taking them out of oven.

Cool for 10 minutes or more.

Remove from pan.

Date pinwheels

1 pound dates cut fine

1 cup nuts

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup shortening

2 cups brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

About 4 cups flour

Beat brown sugar and shortening together, then beat in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients making a stiff dough.

Divide dough in half, rolling each half into an 8-by-10-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick.

Spread half of date mixture on each portion of rolled out dough. Roll up (jelly roll style) beginning at wide side, then wrap in wax paper and refrigerate over night.

Unwrap and cut into 1/4-inch slices.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly brown.

Waffle cookies

4 tablespoons powdered chocolate

2/3 cup of butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 cups flour

2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter and chocolate together. Beat in eggs. Add sugar, vanilla and flour.

Set waffle iron on medium. Spray the waffle iron top and bottom with oil so batter doesn’t stick with each batch.

Drop by tablespoon on hot iron. Bake until done.

Frost with butter cream frosting or canned frosting.

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page