Nothing and no one lasts forever, though. She didn't make any cookies in 1989; she was dying of cancer, although I didn't know it at the time. Fortunately I was just barely sober by then and was able to help her and tell her it was okay, we could live without Snappy Turtles this year. Her other favorite Christmas thing to eat was chocolate-covered cherries, and I remember that both my sister and I brought boxes of them to her.
Sometime during my flighty and irresponsible years I lost her recipe. I counted it as a small but painful consequence of my alcoholism. No one else I knew ever made them. I figured I'd never get to eat another Snappy Turtle cookie again.
But I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I? You haven't even read the recipe. Heh.
Snappin' Turtle Cookies
The Southern Living Cookbook, 1987
Makes 30 cookies.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
90 pecan halves
Frosting (recipe follows)
Combine flour, soda and salt; add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Chill dough at least one hour.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and dip bottoms in remaining egg white. Press gently onto pecans to resemble turtle bodies.
Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Spread frosting on tops of cookies.
2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
About 1-3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
Combine chocolate, milk and butter in a small saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate melts. Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar; beat until smooth. Yield: about 1 cup.
Yes, these cookies are a little fussy. Busy working moms probably wouldn't make them today, but moms in the '50s and '60s didn't, as a rule, work outside their homes, so a putzy production like this wasn't out of the ordinary.
And yes, I know it's a little early, but we're having guests for dinner tomorrow night and an early family Christmas celebration over the weekend, so making treats was on yesterday's to-do list. I felt happy (but tired) at the end of the day that my granddaughter will get to eat a Snappy Turtle.
Maybe you'll eat one, too. You can snag a .pdf version of the recipe here. Merry Early Christmas.