The “Cooky Lady”


source: The Toledo Blade, April 4, 1962

Quick recap for those who do not want to read: This is a 1962 article written by food editor Mary Alice Powell about Mrs. Ahmet Esmailof of Toledo, Ohio who needed a hobby to distract from health issues.  She decided to put her baking skills to good use and around every holiday she just bakes and bakes and bakes cookies. She usually ends up with about 1,500 with about 10 different varieties including hand molded marzipan in shapes of fruits. These cookies along with candy that she buys in bulk get put into care packages.  Then she makes a phone call to the sheriff department who comes collects the boxes and distributed them to local orphanages and other needy children. She is quoted in the article saying that she has “a ball decorating them” and that “best of all. I know it pleases the children”. When asked about the added cost to her grocery bill, Mrs. Esmailof had a simple solution. She just bought a little at a time so that she never noticed the extra money that she spent.

My thoughts on the article: Not much to say except that this is incredibly heart warming. I completely agree with the sheriff who was interviewed for the article who called her “exceptionally humane”. I also couldn’t believe that on top of baking these cookies for children she will never meet, she also does this for her seven grandchildren from her two sons as well as her neighbor’s children and grandchildren.

I have typed out the Cooky Cutouts and Honey Bar recipes from Mrs. Esmailof that was included in the 1962 article to make it easy for anyone who wants to try them.  I have not tested them myself so if you do let me know either in the comments or on Instagram @quaintcooking.

Mrs. Esmailof's Cooky Cutouts

The stiff sugar cookie recipe that Mrs. Esmailof shared with The Toledo Blade. It was her go to for the cookies she enjoyed decorating for the children.


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream shortening well.
  3. Add sugar and egg, blend well.
  4. Sift together baking powder, cake flour and salt in a bowl.
  5. Alternatively add the flour mixture and milk to creamed shortening and then add vanilla.
  6. Chill the dough.
  7. Roll dough out to 1/16 thick.
  8. Cut into desired shapes
  9. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Mrs. Emailof's Date Honeys

The Date Honeys recipe that Mrs. Ahmet Emailof shared with The Toledo Blade.


  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • l teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ground dates
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and line two 7 by 11 pans with parchment paper.
  3. Beat eggs and combine honey.
  4. Sift flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add to eggs and honey.
  6. Add dates and nuts.
  7. Pour into the two prepared 7 by 11 pans. It should be 1/4 thick.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes.
  9. When cooled, cut into bars.


6 thoughts on “The “Cooky Lady”

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