In my early 20s (many, many years ago), I worked in a hospital as a pharmacy technician. One year near the Christmas holiday, one of our security guards introduced me to the most delicious little cookie made from just 3 ingredients. His wife had lovingly made them for him to bring to work to share with us.
Peanut butter, sandwiched between 2 butter crackers and dipped in white chocolate. Who knew something could be so delicious?
My younger brother, Scott, had recently moved closer to me to attend college, and I had become a frequent weekend visitor, often carting along a care package filled all the necessities of college (you know — Poptarts, Ramen noodles and the like). I decided one weekend to surprise him with a tin filled with the yummy peanut butter cookies I had been introduced to, and just as I believed would happen, he fell in love as well.
A few weeks later, our mother made the 700-mile trek to spend Christmas with us, staying at Scott’s apartment, so he passed along the goodness by making our now favorite peanut butter cookie for her and our Grandma, too. It must have been in the genes, because now we had 4 members of our family who were obsessed with white chocolate peanut butter cookies.
Just a few short years later, my brother would become very ill and pass away at the tender age of 29, after both of us made our way back to our hometown. And in another few short years, I became a wife and mom to Ben.
One year, when Ben was about 4 years old, my mom arrived on Christmas Eve, for her annual overnight stay, with a festive tin in hand. The next day would reveal the yumminess of the cookies that I probably had not eaten in at least 15 years. And now 2 more members of our little family would become instant fans of these tasty morsels.
Every year thereafter, my mom never failed to arrive on Christmas Eve with 2 tins of cookies – one for Ben and one for his parents. We looked forward to them every Christmas, knowing we could count on Nana.
But in 2011, my mom also died, just about a month before Christmas. We were all too grieved during Christmas that year to think about cookies, and for some reason, for the next couple of years they were never mentioned. But out of the blue this past Christmas, as the holidays approached and Ben and I were reminiscing about Nana, he remembered them.
You know what I miss about Nana most at Christmas, mom? Her cookies. I always knew that when she got here, I would get my own box. I loved those cookies. They were so good. It’s too bad Uncle Scott isn’t around to tell us how to make them. He’s the one that taught Nana, you know.”
Ben had no idea that I had been the one to teach Scott (nor did he know how easy they were to make AND that all the ingredients to make them were in our kitchen), so when he awoke the next morning to find a plate of “Nana’s cookies” on the kitchen table, it was quite a surprise.
I couldn’t decide at the time if I should keep what had become a “Christmas” tradition with Nana or just make these yummy cookies often, but as I’ve been thinking about my mom for the past few weeks, I believe perhaps they need another holiday showing. Like Mother’s Day.
And since I’m thinking about it at this moment, I may as well share the goodness with you as well.
This is such a simple recipe that you can make them with kids of practically any age. They are a wonderful treat to give as a gift to neighbors, friends, and teachers as well. My mom made them for everyone. She kind of became famous among her friends for them. I think one year she told me she had made 50 dozen to give away.
Nana’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
- 24 butter crackers (Ritz)
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- 12 ounces white chocolate, white chocolate chips, or almond bark (you can also use milk or semi-sweet chocolate if you prefer)
Spread peanut butter onto the back of half of the crackers. Place the rest of the crackers on top of the peanut butter to make a sandwich. Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Once chocolate is melted, dip the peanut butter cracker sandwiches into the chocolate to coat. Shake off any excess and place onto a wax paper to cool. Let chocolate harden at room temperature. Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
I love that after 30 years, because the wife of a security guard sent some cookies to work with her husband, beautiful memories, acts of love and service, and the thrill of these cookies has come full circle back to me. Who knows where it will take us in future years. I have a feeling though that one day Ben will be telling my grandchildren about his Nana as he shares a cookie with them on Christmas day.
If you’ve never made (or eaten) these delicious cookies, go ahead and get out in the kitchen with your kids and enjoy making some memories. But don’t wait ’til Christmas.
And be sure to tell them they’re “Nana’s Cookies.” She would have loved that.