Gumdrop Jumbos: The Secret Ingredient is Ketchup – The 10 Days of Vintage Christmas Cookies

Posted on Dec 20 2012 - 3:32pm by RetroRuth

Yep. That’s right. There is ketchup in these cookies.

And gumdrops. We can’t forget about that.


When I saw this recipe in a Betty Crocker pamphlet from the 1960’s, I immediately put it on my to-make list. For some reason, I am a total sucker for recipes that randomly throw in tomato products.

Gumdrop Jumbos
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup catsup
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • ½ tsp soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3½ cups mini gumdrops (I used only 2 cups)
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla and catup thoroughly.
  3. Stir in flour, soda and salt. Fold in gumdrops.
  4. Drop dough by can ¼ cupfuls 2 inches apart on greased and floured baking sheet (or you can line with parchment paper).
  5. Bake 15-17 mins or until golden brown. Makes 1½ to 2 doz cookies.


Do I even have to tell you that I shivered a little bit when I added the ketchup to this dough? Well, I did. And, because this is the season of giving, I took a picture the ketchup in the bowl so I could share the shivers with you.


See? Spine-tingling!

Also, it made the dough smell HORRIBLE. Also, they smelled awful baking.


But they came out okay in the end. The horrible smell left, and the cookies turned out very soft and puffy. They actually looked sort of good.


Note: Tom did NOT know ahead of time what the “secret ingredient” was.


“What the…is there something weird in here?”

“Do they taste bad?”

“No, they just taste…odd.”

“It’s ketchup.”





“Huh. Well, they aren’t bad, actually.”


“Really. They are kind of fun.”

The Verdict: Fun!

From the Tasting Notes:

These cookies ended up not being disgusting, but actually kind of fun. They didn’t taste bad, sort of bland really, but they were soft and thick. The gumdrops were a fun addition. If I was going to make these again I would add some cinnamon.  If the thought of putting ketchup in your cookie totally freaks you out, you could omit the ketchup completely and just add more cinnamon.

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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7 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Eartha Kitsch December 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    You had me at ketchup and gumdrops. If you were to add American cheese, you’d have my holy trifecta of food stuffs all in one cookie.

  2. veg-o-matic December 21, 2012 at 8:09 am - Reply

    Suspicious Tom is suspicious.

  3. Heather December 23, 2012 at 8:30 am - Reply

    I would love to know the story behind the creation of this recipe. Ran out of milk? Too much Christmas “cheer”? Brutal Betty Crocker prank?

    In any case, your oven and cabinets are a total win. 🙂

  4. Barb January 3, 2013 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    This is close to the gumdrop cookie recipe I’ve been using for the past couple of Christmases, except that mine calls for buttermilk instead of ketchup. I no longer know the recipe source, but it’s excellent.

    • RetroRuth January 8, 2013 at 9:04 am - Reply

      I agree! It was a good cookie in spite of the ketchup, so I imagine the buttermilk version would be really good!

  5. Arwen December 2, 2015 at 8:27 am - Reply

    My sister and I make gumdrop cookies every year at Christmas, just like our Grandma used to make them. Our recipe doesn’t contain ketchup (blech!) but does have chopped marachino cherries, marachino cherry juice and chopped walnuts. Mmmm, so good!

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