Christmas Tradition: Nightie Nite Cookies

Christmas traditions are as varied as each individual family. Our traditions always include traveling, family visits, great fun with gift exchanges, and lots of good food. What traditions do you have?

I am “famous” (at least among my family members) for my Nightie Nite cookies. I would make these sweet little treats every Christmas, and thus began my tradition. Before I knew it, my cookies became the most sought after and requested treat each year. I thought I would share that recipe with you today.

Here is what you will need (full recipe is below).


First you will need to separate two egg whites from the yolks. THE EGGS ABSOLUTELY MUST BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE!!!! Also, ONLY use a glass bowl and metal spoons. DO NOT USE ANY PLASTIC BOWLS OR UTENSILS!! Plastic retains small amounts of oils from other foods you have prepared with those utensils and that adversely effects the Nightie Nite cookies. Note: I have used this SAME bowl for over 30 years!


Add a pinch of salt. I literally put some salt in my hand and pinch some between my thumb and forefinger.


Now beat the egg whites and salt on high until it forms stiff peaks.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am NOT one of those cooks/chefs that create fancy meals or complicated baked goods. I only have an electric HAND mixer, not one of those fancy Kitchen Aide stand models. In fact, I think I have had this mixer for over 20 years. I KNOW it is at least that old, or older, because the cord does NOT have a polarized plug! Lol! ūüôā

Beating the egg whites until they are stiff takes a couple of minutes.


The egg whites should form stiff peaks like this.



Now this is the part that takes the MOST patience. You MUST add the two-thirds cup of white sugar VERY gradually. I usually pour a little bit (about 2-3 tablespoons) in and beat until I see that the granules have “dissolved” and then I add a little more.


I continue doing this until I have added all of the sugar. The mixture gets VERY stiff by the time you have added all the sugar. Because it gets SO stiff, ¬†my little hand mixer seems to strain and slow down even though it is still on high. One of these days my trusty ‘ole mixer will give out. I just hope it’s not in the middle of a batch of Nightie Nites!

After gradually adding all the sugar, the mixture looks like this.



Now I add the semi-sweet chocolate chips. When I started making these cookies, I used regular-sized chocolate chips. The last couple of years I have used the miniature sized chips, and I think I like them better.


Fold in the chips until they are dispersed throughout.


Cover a cookie sheet with foil — this is important! You don’t want the cookies to stick — and they WILL stick! I have never used parchment paper with these cookies because I never wanted to risk the cookies not coming out right, so I don’t know if parchment paper will work. ¬†If you try parchment paper, please let me know if it works.

Now drop a teaspoonful of the mixture onto the foiled-lined cookie sheet.



Space them out a little. They don’t really “spread out” like sugar or chocolate chip cookies do, so you can put them a little closer together.


I just LOVE it when they make little points on the top!


Next I sprinkle red and green sugar on top to make them more “festive” for the Christmas holidays.




Now place them in the oven which has been preheated to 350 degrees.


Turn the oven OFF and leave the cookies in the oven until morning. ¬†When my children were small, we would tell the cookies “Nightie-Nite” after putting them in the oven, and off to bed we would go!! ¬†I always put a note on my oven door to remind my kids (AND MY HUSBAND!) to NOT open the oven until morning.


In the morning, open the oven, take the cookies out, and place them in your favorite holiday container.


I like to line my containers with foil also. ¬†There’s no particular reason to do this, I just like to do it.


I alternate between the red and green to make it look prettier in the container.


These cookies are very light-weight and crunchy. I prefer a smaller size so I can POP the whole thing in my mouth in one bite. I have made them larger before, and they are just as good. Also, I can never tell exactly how many cookies each batch will make. Some times the batch will totally fill my container and more, and sometimes it barely fills the container. It might have something to do with egg size, weather, altitude…who knows. I only know that I, along with all my family, just love these little cookies!


Since things will get very hectic around here from now until after New Year’s Eve, I’m not sure if I’ll post again until after the holidays. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas! May God bless you in 2013!!

Here is the recipe:



2 egg whites AT ROOM TEMPERATURE, a pinch of salt, 2/3 cup white sugar, 1 cup chocolate chips (I use half of a 12 oz. bag of the mini chips), 1 cup chopped nuts (optional – I have never put the nuts in my cookies, but I’m sure they would be good), and a foil covered, ungreased cookie sheet.

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat 2 egg whites and a pinch of salt until stiff.  Add 2/3 cup of sugar very gradually and beat until stiff.  Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped nuts (nuts optional).  Drop by teaspoonful on a foil covered UNGREASED cookie sheet.  Place in preheated oven, close the door and TURN OFF OVEN.  Leave in oven all night.  DO NOT OPEN DOOR until the next morning.  Makes about 35-40 cookies (number of cookies depends on how big you make them).

Cold Weather = Crock Pot Vegetable Beef Soup

It’s almost December, and as recent as last week we were having highs in the upper 60’s and 70’s. ¬†Really?!?! ¬†Our winters in southern Missouri are somewhat mild, but this is SO unusual uncharacteristic for this time of year. I have been patiently waiting¬†dieing to make my vegetable beef soup in the crock pot.

There is one thing you should know about me. I am in NO way, shape, manner, or form, a gourmet cook! If a recipe has 10 or more ingredients, I usually won’t even read through the directions. If a recipe has ANY “unusual” or hard-to-find ingredients…YEP!¬† You guessed it…I don’t bother to read any further.¬† I’m a no frills, throw-it-together kind of cook.

This past Tuesday the forecast high was barely¬†going to make it to the¬†40’s.¬† YES!! ¬†I finally felt like it was “soup” weather.¬† I had purchased all the needed ingredients over the weekend hoping the long-range forecast was going to be correct.¬† I had planned Tuesday as the day¬†to kick-start my Christmas shopping (that meant an all-day shopping marathon), so it was the perfect day to have supper ready-to-eat when my husband and I arrived home after a long grueling day.

I thought I’d share my simple, easy to make, can’t fail soup recipe with you.¬† Here are the ingredients you will need:


I must admit, over the years, as I’ve purchased new, larger, and better crock pots, I have added more of each ingredient.¬† So, I don’t follow this recipe exactly.¬† However, it still turns out good each and every time.

I’ve had this recipe for 37 years.¬† It came with the very first crock pot we received as a wedding gift.¬† The crock pot “bit the dust” long ago,¬†but I have kept that little recipe book.¬† It has¬†held up pretty good for all these years!



First, I spray my crock pot with Pam (any no-stick vegetable spray will work).  This makes the clean-up so much easier.


Next I put the beef bouillon (I use the granules instead of the cubes)¬†in the three cups of hot water, so it can dissolve while I’m working.¬† (Yes, that is a 2 cup measuring cup.¬† I don’t have a 4 cup measuring cup because I broke it!¬† lol!¬† ūüėȬ† I’ll add another cup of hot water later.)


Then I trim the fat from the meat and cut it into smaller bite-sized pieces if needed.¬† Some crock pot recipes tell you to brown¬†the meat before putting it¬†in the crock pot.¬† To tell you the truth, I’ve tried it both ways. ¬†I couldn’t really tell much difference, so I just throw the meat in without browning it (less work–YES!!).¬† I would only brown the meat if it had a lot of fat in it (that is unless you like greasy soup)¬†and drain the excess fat off.


Next I cut up and put in the onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes.  I salt and pepper to taste as I insert ingredients.  Just be careful not to overdo the salt!




Add the frozen mixed vegetables, hot water with bouillon, can of diced tomatoes, and small can of tomato sauce. DSC01450


Cover and cook for 10 hours on low (give or take an hour or two – crunchier veggies=less time; softer veggies=more time).¬† The crock pot I have¬†now has a setting that will start on “High” and automatically switch to “Low” in an hour (or two…I can’t remember because it’s been SO long since I read the manual!).


When I was working full-time, I would cut up all my vegetables the night before and¬†store in the refrigerator until morning.¬† That way I would just “throw” everything in when I got up which only took about 5 minutes or so.

I shopped WAY longer than I intended that day, so my husband enjoyed his soup by himself.¬† He was very understanding, though, because he didn’t have to go Christmas shopping with me!¬† I had a successful shopping day, and he had a delicious supper.

P.S.  This soup is even better the next day!


2 lbs. beef shanks, oxtails, short ribs or veal bones (I’ve always just used beef stew meat)

1 can diced tomatoes (1 lb.)              3 stalks celery, sliced

2 carrots, sliced (or baby carrots)   2 onions, sliced (I use one)

2-3 potatoes, diced                             3 cups hot water

1 tsp. salt  (I salt to taste)                 4 peppercorns (reg. pepper works)

3 beef bouillon cubes                         1 pkg. frozen mixed vegetables (10 oz.)

1 small can tomato sauce


Put all ingredients in crock pot, cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Serve with crackers or cornbread.  YUMMY!