Ever since I have known him, which is almost 27 years, my father-in-law has made the yummiest cookies at Christmas time. Each family gets a tin filled with these cookies every year. We call them Grampa Cookies.
This year I decided to get the “recipe” from him to share with all of you. When I asked, he replied, “Well, there really isn’t much of a recipe.” And in some respects that is true. But as we talked more I gleaned from him the tricks to executing this seemingly simple recipe successfully — tricks he has learned from trial and error (followed by success) over the past 27+ years. I think he has it down to a science now. Hopefully I can save all the errors for others who try this recipe, including me next year.
This is a picture of the tin of Grampa Cookies we got for Christmas this year. They were almost half gone before I could get the picture taken, and so I don’t have an example of a vanilla one, but they are yummy, too. I think my father-in-law said he made 260 Grampa Cookies this year. That’s a lot of melting, dipping, and love!
Almond bark (chocolate or vanilla)
Creamy peanut butter
Spread a thin layer of peanut butter between two Ritz crackers to make a sandwich. Repeat until you have made enough for as many cookies as you want.
To coat the sandwich cookies, use almond bark, an easy melting candy coating that comes in chocolate and vanilla (and possibly other flavors I don’t know about). It comes in squares that can be easily broken apart. Place 7 squares of almond bark in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Remove and stir. Microwave a second time for about 30 seconds and stir. Microwave a third time for about 30 seconds, and the almond bark should be ready for dipping the sandwich cookies.
My father-in-law said you have to be ready to dip quickly and not allow for interruptions once you start dipping. The 7 squares should be enough to coat 20 to 25 cookies. Use a pair of tongs to turn the sandwiches over and over in the dip until they are coated on all sides, then set them on a piece of wax paper, parchment paper, or Saran wrap to set.
Do not try to re-melt the almond bark as it won’t turn out right. Being a thrifty guy, my father-in-law scrapes the last of the almond bark in each batch out onto this broken cookie sandwiches — he called these his “seconds” because they taste just as good but don’t look like a nice cookie that he would want to include in our gift tins.
Repeat this whole process 20 sandwich cookies at a time until you have the number you want. These can be stored for several months in cool temperatures, but tend to crack open around the edges if frozen.