250 Cookbooks: Bake-Off Recipes 1959

Cookbook #10: Pillsbury’s Best 10th Grand National Bake-Off Cookbook, 1959. From Pillsbury.

Bake Off 1959

This Bake-Off cookbook is in the same series as my Cookbook #4, so I’m not going to repeat the Bake-Off Cookbook background information. That was a 1964 cookbook, this one is five years older. You can see inflation in the price: this older one only cost 25¢, 10¢ less.

I like the nostalgic photos. Look at this woman’s hairdo:


The cookbook has desserts, cookies, cakes, pies, breads, and main dishes. What impresses me about these early Bake-Off Cookbooks is that everything is made from scratch. Later ones rely on products like biscuit mix and packaged crescent rolls. The recipes highlight scratch (albeit brand name) ingredients: “Pillsbury’s Best All Purpose Flour”, “Morton Salt”, “French’s Vanilla Extract, “French’s Cinnamon”. I noted several cookie, dessert, and main dish recipes that I might try at a later date.

For this blog, I decided to try a cookie recipe. Mother marked several cookie recipes with her rating system, and I chose one of them. I love baking cookies, and used to make them weekly when the kids were little. There was a long stretch of years when I’d bake tons of Christmas cookies and send them to relatives. And at the end of each university semester I’d bake several kinds of cookies and take them to the Teaching Assistants that I supervised (I was the director of the Organic Chemistry Teaching Labs at CU Boulder).

Lately I’ve denied myself the simple pleasure of cookie-baking. In spite of our active retiree lifestyle, we just don’t need the extra, usually empty calories in cookies. But life is to be enjoyed whenever possible, and I’ve decided that cookies in moderation can fit into our eating plan. Cookies are small little parcels that can be enjoyed one at a time. Extras from a large batch can spend some time in the freezer before being savored. Even better, give some away to friends and relatives!

So, cookie time! Here is the original recipe for Cherry-Chocolate Honeys:

Cherry-Chocolate Honeys

My mother had tried these and marked the recipe Delicious. I smile at the cooking stains on the recipe. There is oatmeal and honey and filberts in them: semi-healthy ingredients. I started mixing them together and then did a double-take: There are no eggs! That’s unusual for a cookie recipe.

Filberts are now usually called hazelnuts. I found some at our local natural grocery, Steamboat Mountain. They had been refrigerated, so I decided to perk up their flavor with a roast in the oven. Fifteen minutes in a 350˚ oven made them golden brown, with the added benefit of making it easy to remove the dark brown husks.


For the honey, I chose a flavorful local Colorado honey. The maraschino cherries were purchased from Whole Foods, and have no red dye, are preservative free, and have pure cane sugar. The vanilla I used is Madagascar Vanilla from the Savory Spice Shop in Boulder. I like using parchment-lined baking sheets – a new technique I incorporated into my cooking methods a couple years ago.

Cherry-Chocolate Honeys

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup filberts (hazelnuts), roasted at 350˚ for 15 minutes, then husked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries

Cream together the shortening, honey, and vanilla. Blend in the dry ingredients and the oatmeal. Stir in the nuts, chocolate chips, and maraschino cherries.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets (or a parchment-lined half sheet pan). Bake at 375˚ for 10-12 minutes.

Cherry-Chocolate cookies before bakingAren’t these lovely?

Cherry-Chocolate Honey Cookies

And they taste great, too!

Leave a Reply