Depression Era: New Year's Cookies

New Year's Cookies are one of this Kansan's fonder memories of the depression era

New Years Cookies

A Kansan remembers eating these risen raisin cookies on New Year's Day.

Photo By Manyakotic/Fotolia

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I was a preschooler at the start of the depression era so was not really aware of all the difficulties my parent undoubtedly had providing necessities. One instance I vividly recall was when a neighbor lady lost her husband and was left with five small children. Our family had gone over to help her and she invited us to stay for the evening meal. The kitchen had a long table with backless benches on either side. All we had for supper was homemade bread with lard spread on it. I remarked not liking lard but the nudge of an elbow signaled for me to be quiet and eat.

Even though a meal at home might be homemade bread and fruit, we had butter to spread on it as we generally had a cow. Daddy would sell milk for 10ft a quart after reserving enough milk so Mama would have cream to make butter.

New Year's Day was special because of the custom where I grew up of making what were called New Year's Cookies. The smell of them cooking and then waiting for them to cool enough so we could dunk them in sugar seemingly always took too long. Here is Mother's recipe she used, just as she had it written in her well-worn notepad which served as a recipe book.


1 cup cream
1 cake yeast
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk
4 eggs
3 cups raisins 1/2 tsp. salt
5 cups flour

Heat milk to little more than lukewarm. Add yeast, cream, salt and sugar. Beat eggs well, add raisins and enough flour to make soft dough. Let rise until double in size. Drop into hot fat by the spoonful and fry to a golden brown.

Mabel Nyland
Norton, Kansas

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.