Verla Gray Jackson’s Ambrosia Cookies

My grandmother was a very classy Southern Woman. She wore pearls and red lipstick, had impeccable manners,never cursed  and could sight-read Chopin.  Every Christmas, she made her signature recipe Ambrosia Cookies. In 1986, my Aunt Cynthia submitted the recipe to Southern Living and the cookies made the cover of the 1986 December issue. Please forgive the drama here…but to the women in my family (and maybe a lot of Southern Women), having a recipe grace the cover of  Southern Living is like making the cover of Vogue. For many years, Ambrosia Cookies have often been the dessert after eating Sausage Soup around the holidays. I hope you love them as much as I do… Love, Susan (Debbie’s daughter)

Ambrosia Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups A.P. Flour

1.5 cups uncooked regular oats

2 t baking powder

.5 t baking soda

.5 t salt

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup chopped pecans

1 t grated orange rind

1 t grated lemon rind (now recipes call for “zest”-same thing )

1 t vanilla extract

.5 t almond extract

.5 orange extract

4 dozen candied cherries, halved

Cream butter; gradually add sugars, beating at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.Combine flour and next 4 ingredients; stir well. Add flour mixture and remaining ingredients, except candied cherries to creamed mixture; stir well  (Attention-this is a very dense dough that has been known to break wooden spoons) Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto lightly greased cookie sheets; lightly press a cherry half into each cookie. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes; cool on cookie sheets 10 minutes. Transfer to cooking racks (cookies firm as they cool). Yield: 8 dozen cookies.