Sugar Cookies for Every Season

I love sugar cookies. This  amazingly simply and delicious recipe first appeared in the 1976 Edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.  You can easily find a copy via the link I provided, on Amazon. I bought my copy for only $5 at Powell’s City of Books, in Portland Oregon. My mom’s copy of this book is well-loved. Page 122, where this recipe appears, is torn out, splattered with 30+ years of baking, and usually stuffed between pages where it doesn’t belong.

This recipe is the one we use for every holiday’s sugar cookie needs. It is a roll out recipe that we use with my mom’s mountain of cookie cutters. Sam and I are now starting our own collection of cookie cutters as the need arises.

The secret to this recipe is the shortening. The best sugar cookies have vegetable shortening, we only use CRISCO, and no butter or margarine. I think this makes them more chewy and sugary then if they have butter. Below is the recipe from the book. I apologize that it’s a bit blurry. Note the citation:

Better Homes and Gardens: New Cookbook. “Sugar Cookies.” p.122. Meredith Publishing. Revised Edition. (1976). 

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There are a few things to know about these cookies.

  1. A tip from my grandma: Instead of rolling them on a floured surface, roll them out with powdered sugar instead. This will add more delicious flavor!
  2. Roll them thicker than 1/8 inch. Not much, but I love  thick, chewy sugar cookies.
  3. Don’t over bake. 8 minutes is sufficient.
  4. Chill out…this dough does need to be chilled for at least an hour, so make time for that.
  5. Make ahead. I love this dough because it can last 5-7 days in the refrigerator before it needs to be used. This is great if you are making these cookies with kids. Make the dough ahead of time. And then you can focus on the fun part of rolling out the dough, cutting out the cookies, and decorating at the end.

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Here are my cookies being rolled on powdered sugar. Also I like to roll them out on a very thin kitchen towel. It makes clean-up easy at the end. 

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Frosting?? These cookies are so sugary and sweet that they don’t really need to be frosted. They are already delicious. If you choose to frost them, which is fun, be sparing. Here I just used a tiny amount to accent the pumpkin shape. I’m not the most creative or talented decorator, but I make no apologies 🙂 You shouldn’t either…as long as they taste delicious!

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Baking cookies can be a long and tedious process if you don’t have a LARGE cookie sheet. This cookie sheet, that takes up my entire oven shelf, was a gift from a friend several Christmases ago. I absolutely love it! I can bake my cookies in half the time. This batch was a bit over-baked, you can see that in the cracking of the bat’s wing near the left side of the photo. Don’t despair if that happens, just appreciate a crunchy cookie and cover it with frosting!

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