How to Make Tea Cakes Like the Baker of Holler House

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Marcy Skowronski’s cookie-baking is legendary. The late proprietor of Holler House, the 112-year-old South Side bar with the oldest sanctioned tenpin bowling alley in the United States, Skowronski passed away in 2019 at age 93. But her legendary baking prowess lives on.

Each year she gifted a tin of homemade cookies to every bowler who came into the bar, says her daughter Catherine Haefke, who now runs Holler House with her husband.

“She went through cases of butter,” says Haefke, adding that her mother baked 25,000-30,000 cookies each year. Yes, you read that right. Haefke insists it is no exaggeration. “She counted every one.” Haefke also enjoys baking, but she doesn’t plan to keep up her mom’s tradition this year: “I’m too busy cleaning her attic!” 

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1 cup butter 
½ cup powdered sugar 
1 tsp vanilla 
2 cups flour 
1 cup finally chopped pecans 
60 milk chocolate Kisses 
Powdered sugar for rolling 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter. Add sugar gradually. Blend in vanilla. Mix in flour and nuts.   

Shape rounded teaspoon of dough around Kiss; make sure candy is completely covered. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool and roll in powdered sugar. 

Note: Use ground pecans. It’s easier to cover Kisses. The dough doesn’t break up. Don’t bake too long. Chocolate gets hard. 230 Kisses package (1#). Buy 6 packages chocolate. 

Make these cookies early – chocolate Kisses at Farm & Fleet 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s December issue.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.