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Cass County residents and visitors celebrated Christmas in July at Lake Anita State Park and by joining in the Cass County Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange facilitated by the Atlantic Area Chamber of

At Lake Anita State Park, campers participated in a campsite Christmas decorating contest, and children got the chance to talk to Santa. Even though it was typical July weather, Santa still wore his red suit.

Many people spending additional time at home to help slow the spread of COVID-19 have been baking, so the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce facilitated the Cass County Christmas Cookie Recipe
Exchange. Here are two of the recipes shared:

Decorated Sugar Cookies
Submitted by Beverly Johnson

Recipe story:
I don’t remember where this recipe came from, but I have been in charge of making Christmas cookies for the past 35 years for our family! Since then I make it year-round using seasonal cookie cutters and very rarely do I ever decorate them with frosting – I just color the dough and add the colored decorator sugar.


  • 1/2 cup butter (not margarine)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


  • Cream together sugar and margarine
  • Beat in egg, vanilla, and lemon zest
  • Stir in sour cream
  • Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, soda, nutmeg
  • Add dry ingredients to butter mixture
  • Chill dough (this is a rich dough and must be chilled)
  • On lightly floured surface, roll out to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes and place
    on ungreased cookie sheet
  • Bake in 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes – makes 1-2 dozen depending on size of cookie
  • NOTE: Before refrigerating, I color the dough with a soft gel paste. Before baking I sprinkle with
    colored sugar.

Tips: It is a rich dough, so it is very important the dough is chilled and try to not use too much flour.

Grandma Suiter’s Gingersnap Recipe
Submitted by Ardyth Harris Gillespie

Recipe story:
This recipe came to me from my maternal grandmother through my mother. I don’t know where my grandmother got it, but she put it on a recipe card for me. I discovered years later that It was also published in the 1952 Cook Book Compiled by BUCK CREEK WOMEN’S SOCIETY OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE ATLANTIC, IOWA. It was a favorite with milk when we visited Grandma and Grandpa on Mulberry Street in Atlantic. The milk was of interest as well as it was “town” milk (in contrast to our own separated skim milk on the farm) because it had cream at the top of the jar.


  • 1 c sugar
  • 3/4 c butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T ginger (dried, ground)
  • 1 t soda
  • 3 ½ c sifted flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3/4 c sweetened molasses


  • Cream sugar and shortening.
  • Add well beaten egg.
  • Combine molasses and soda and add sifted dry ingredients.
  • Chill, then roll into balls and bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees.

Tips: I find it takes about 6-8 minutes to bake for a chewy cooking. A little longer for a snap which is harder and good for dipping in milk. A third variation, especially at Christmas time, is gingerbread men and in my generation other cooking cutter shapes. I think it could be gingerbread women as well. Depending upon the thickness, these take 4-6 minute.

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