Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


John Vinson Cookies

Ready for a Christmas recipe or two?

For several years, G-Man, the boys and I lived in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma. While we lived there, we owned a pharmacy (or maybe it owned us.) The best thing about living in PC and owning that business was the people we came to know and love.

One of those people was John Vinson. John was an older man who lived with his wife outside of town. Something had happened to John in his younger days (I don’t know what) and he lived with a tracheotomy–a hole in the base of this throat.

He’d found a way to talk by swallowing air and forcing the words out. Before very long at all, he was very easy to understand. For a man who’d come through something as awful as what he must have and having to live with whatever trouble the trach caused, he was a delightful man. He always had a smile, a story and a joke to share. I never once saw him less than happy.

One year at Christmas, he came in telling me I had to make G-Man a batch of fruitcake cookies. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of fruitcake–at least the store-bought variety. Home baked might be delicious! But at that time, I thought I knew. 

John brought me his recipe, G-Man encouraged me, so I bought the ingredients and baked our first batch. I have to tell you, it was delicious!

I still have trouble getting other people to try these cookies because they think they know what it’ll taste like. They have no idea how good they are.

I used to think John had a secret going here, but I recently found two similar recipes. Barefoot Contess and The Pioneer Woman both have cookies that are very close! And they like them, too. <G>

This is from Ree’s blog

Before you recoil at the word “fruitcake” and run screaming from this website (and I realize it wouldn’t be the first time you’ve probably run screaming from this website) please listen: You must try these cookies! They are completely divine.

These cookies are wonderful with coffee or milk or just by themselves. 

Suggestion–if you want to try a batch and aren’t sure whether you’ll eat them or not, find an old man to share them with. I’ve found that old guys like fruitcake better than anyone. 

BTW: Rather than Fruitcake Cookies, we changed the name to John Vinsons’s Christmas Cookies. Sometimes people will try them before they hear the FC word and padlock their jaws. 🙂

Try them. You’ll adore them!

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 2/3 C real butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp whiskey–cheap bourbon (John’s directions!)
  • 1 tsp soda dissolved in boiling water  
  • 1 C white raisins
  • 1 7 oz pkg dates
  • 1/2 pound candied cherries
  • 1/2 pound pineapple
  • 1 pound pecans

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, mix each group of spices with flour taken from 2 1/2 C. Chop nuts by hand. Chop fruit with sissors. Keep separated, flour as mentioned above and add to batter one at a time. Add nuts last.

The batter is very stiff. Drop by heaping spoonfuls on cookie sheet. (Don’t let them get too brown.)

Bake in a moderate oven.

Word of warning–I had trouble finding the candied fruit this year. I went to three stores before I found it, but according to my friend who makes a fruitcake every year for her father, it stores well. So I bought enough for three batches.

Enjoy and merry Christmas!