4 Vintage Cookie Recipes From A Colorado Town That No Longer Exists

September 1, 2021
Girls from Animas City hold cakes outside the mining town's school.Girls from Animas City hold cakes outside the mining town's school.Courtesy of the La Plata County Historical Society
Girls from Animas City hold cakes outside the mining town's school.

You’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of Animas City, Colorado.

The bustling mining town was swallowed up by Durango in 1948. But its four-story sandstone school remains as the Animas Museum. Inside is a sugar high waiting to pounce. 

“The Animas City Cookie Book” is a collection of cookie recipes culled from The La Plata County Historical Society’s cookbook archive.

“You know, those community cookbooks that churches and ladies’ groups used to do as fundraisers? We have some that go way back to the earliest days of Durango,” said museum volunteer Carolyn Bowra.

And many of them featured cookie recipes.

Ryan Warner/CPR News
“The Animas City Cookie Book” is a collection of cookie recipes culled from The La Plata County Historical Society’s cookbook archive.

Bowra shared the resulting cookie recipe book with us, published in 2013, for “The Kitchen Shelf,” CPR’s series celebrating old Colorado cookbooks. She and a fellow volunteer also baked the pineapple cookies, strictly following the recipe. She said they turned out moist and not too sweet.

“The recipe originated on a little piece of scrap paper that was in the museum archives. Printed across the top of the paper was 'From The Desk of Warren Buckley,'” she said.

Warren and his brother, both teachers, ran the Animas school starting in the 1930s.

The pineapple cookie recipe appears in the “Special Occasions” section of the cookie book. There are also “every day” and “holiday” recipes. Check a few of them out below or buy the book directly from the museum. (CPR News takes no responsibility for the sugar crash that happens after.)


Karo Cookies

1 cup Karo
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup Mazola (corn oil)
½ cup sweet or sour milk

1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Flour to make a soft dough, roll thin, cut with cookie cutter and bake in slow oven. Sugar can be sprinkled over top for variety. Chopped nuts or raisins can be added.

Grandmother Zippy McDaniel’s Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 ½ cup flour
1 cup nuts

1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ cups (dry) oatmeal
1 cup raisins

Cream the sugar and shortening, then add the beaten eggs. Next, add the other ingredients, with the nuts and raisins last. Drop onto a greased cookie sheet and bake in a moderate (350 degree) oven 15 minutes.

Pineapple Cookies

½ cup shortening
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 cups sifted flour
¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup crushed pineapple (drained)
½ cup nuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cream shortening, sugars, and vanilla in a bowl. Stir in egg, blend well. Combine remaining dry ingredients and slowly stir into creamed mixture. Fold in pineapple and nuts. Drop cookies onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Date Tea Cakes

½ pound dates
½ pound Jordan almonds
½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
Whites from 4 eggs

Remove stones from dates. Blanch Jordan almonds. Mix with salt and put through a meat chopper; then add ½ cup of powdered sugar. Beat the egg whites until stiff, and add gradually, while beating constantly, ¾ cupful of powdered sugar. Fold first mixture into egg mixture and drop onto a buttered tin sheet. Bake in a moderate oven ten minutes. 


For our series "The Kitchen Shelf," CPR News wants to know about other local Colorado cookbooks and we want your help. Whether your cookbook is collecting dust on a shelf or is a butter-stained countertop workhorse, take a picture of the cover and tweet @cprwarner or email it to news@cpr.org. We’d love to share more of these family recipes and the stories behind them.

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