Every year at Christmas, my paternal grandparents would drive up to our house and have Christmas dinner with us. Grandma would bring a box full of cookies, the highlight of which were the sugar cookies. She made trees for the boys and stars for the girls, and our names were written on them in icing.
In recent years, Grandma has not had enough energy to make cookies, so I thought I would step into the breach and make them myself. I love Grandma, Christmas, baking, and traditions, so it was a perfect fit!
Basic Sugar Cookies, Grandma’s recipe
- 2 cups sifted flour (all purpose flour is fine)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter (one stick, 8 tablespoons)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp milk
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat till smooth and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and milk.
- Add flour mixture to the mixing bowl and blend thoroughly.
- Chill cookie dough till easy to handle. You may cover and store it in the fridge for one or two days before using it.
- Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness on lightly floured surface.
- Bake at 400°F for six to ten minutes. Never bake longer than ten.
Here are my tips: my dough was sufficiently chilled after 20 minutes in the fridge and 10 minutes in the freezer. I rolled out the dough on floured parchment paper, sandwiching the dough in between two sheets of it. Peel away one layer to cut out the shapes, and just slide the cookies on the baking sheet with the other!
If it becomes too soft, put it back in the fridge. To keep the cookies from expanding too much while baking, refrigerate them for 15 minutes after cutting them out. If the cookies are small, take them out after 5 minutes of baking so they will not dry out. Sugar cookies don’t look done when they are done, so don’t be afraid to take them out when they’re still very pale! They are tricky little things.
- 1/4 cup softened butter (1/2 stick or 4 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
- 1/8 cup milk (2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, or other extract (almond, lemon, etc.)
- Cream together butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and milk. Put it one drop of food coloring for a pale frosting.
- Add more sugar to thicken or more milk to thin. Put it the fridge for 20 minutes if you want to stiffen the frosting.
I’ve made them for my family, and I’ve made sure to save some for my grandparents. I know Grandma is pleased I’m carrying on the tradition.