Sugar Cookies – A Bonus Recipe

Cookies 073 Wendy and I realized something the other day.  We never made “Christmas cookies” over Christmas.  We made lots of cookies, but for some reason (maybe it had to with family members taking turns being sick through most of the season and therefore never having time), we never made the traditional roll out, cut into shapes and frost kind of Christmas cookies.  So, we decided we definitely needed to make Valentine cookies this year.  One day when she and my nephews were over, we pulled up our sleeves and started in on some fun. Cookies 072 I always like to pull this recipe out for roll out sugar cookies.  I actually got it in junior high or high school in a home economics class.  I remember very little about those classes, but I have always kept this recipe.  I remember one time when our neighbor who had moved away came back for a visit.  I was always making these cookies when I first got this recipe and so I made them for her.  She took one bite and said, “These are just like cookies from a bakery!”  I’ve never forgotten she said that and I always think fondly of her (and her comment) when I make this recipe. Cookies 066 Sugar Cookies

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar and vanilla.  Add egg;  beat until light and fluffy.  Stir in milk.  Sift together dry ingredients.  Blend into creamed mixture.  Divide dough in half.  Chill 1 hour.  On lightly floured surface, roll to 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut in desired shapes with cutters.  Bake on greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees about 6-8 minutes.  Cool slightly;  remove from pan.  Makes 2 dozen. Cookies 001 To begin, I put the shortening, sugar and vanilla in the KitchenAid. Cookies 002 I creamed the three ingredients. Cookies 003 I then added the egg (I actually doubled the recipe, so I had two). Cookies 004 I beat the ingredients until they were light and fluffy.  I then stirred in the milk. Cookies 005 Next I combined the dry ingredients and blended them into the creamed mixture.  I chilled the dough for an hour or more. Cookies 008 Then, with the help of my nephews and sister, we rolled out the dough and began cutting shapes. Cookies 011 We baked the cookies at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes.  They always smell so good when they are baking. Cookies 076 Next came the fun of frosting and decorating.  My sister had brought her collection of sprinkles, so we all had fun putting our own finishing touches on our cookies.

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My nephews wanted to decorate the snowflake cookies.

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They were very generous with the sprinkles!

Cookies 075 This is a recipe I highly recommend.  You just can’t go wrong with these.  So, pull your family together and have some festive Valentine’s Day fun together! Cookies 074 Happy Baking! Amy Cookies 053 Cookies 054 Cookies 055 Cookies 052 Cookies 034 Cookies 044 Cookies 048 Cookies 043

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Mrs. Eisenhower’s Sugar Cookies

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Yesterday was election day.  In Grandma Dora’s recipe box I had found a newspaper clipping with some cookie recipes.  One was Mrs. Nixon’s Chocolate Butter Cookies, one was Mrs. Dulles’ Nut Wafers and one was Mrs. Eisenhower’s Sugar Cookies.  I decided election day was an appropriate day to try out one of these recipes.  We’ve posted a lot of Grandma Dora’s cookie recipes:  Drop Nut Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Drop Cookies, Shortbread Cookies, Ice Box Cookies, and Hermit Cookies.  But, you can never have too many cookies recipes, so I thought I’d give Mrs. Eisenhower’s Sugar Cookies a try.

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Mrs. Eisenhower’s Sugar Cookies

Sift together:

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream:

  • 1/2 cup butter

Beat in:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks

Add dry ingredients alternately with:

  • 1 tablespoon cream

Blend in:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mrs. Eisenhower’s sugar cookie recipe consisted of a list of ingredients, but no baking instructions.  I wasn’t sure if they were going to end up being roll our cookies or drop cookies or how I was going to bake them.

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I started by combining the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  I just used a whisk to mix them together as the flour I used is already sifted.

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I then creamed the butter in the Kitchenaid.  I then beat in the sugar and egg yolks.  After that I added the dry ingredients alternately with the cream (actually, I didn’t have any cream, so I just used milk and it worked fine).  At the end, I added the vanilla and I came out with some very nice dough.

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It definitely looked more like roll out dough than drop dough.  I decided to refrigerate it for awhile before I rolled it out.  I had to go teach a class that night, so I decided to throw dinner in the crock pot while the dough was chilling.

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I pulled the dough out of the refrigerator and rolled it out.

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I then cut circle shapes out of the dough, put it on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkled the tops with sugar (the cookies could also be frosted if desired).  I decided to bake them at 375 degrees and they looked done at about 8 minutes.

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They are a very thin cookie.  I tasted one and decided right away that Mrs. Eisenhower was a good cook!  I decided I would take some to share with my students at my class last night.  I was giving them an exam, so I thought the cookies might make the night a little better for them.

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I am glad that I chose Mrs. Eisenhower’s Sugar Cookies for election day.  They get my vote!

Happy Baking!

Amy

Hermit Cookies

 

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Hermit cookies

I am planning a trip to my older sister’s house.  Her twin boys are turning 9 years old.  Most of the cousins will be there for the party.  I’m sure we will have cake in the evening, but I decided to dig through the recipe boxes for a kid friendly recipe that the cousins (and everyone else) might enjoy.  I have heard my dad talk about Hermits and I remember my mom making them a few times when we were little.  So, when I came upon that recipe, I decided it might be just the thing.

Grandma Dora's typewriter.

Grandma Dora’s typewriter.

My grandmother was a secretary to a lawyer before she got married and became a farmer’s wife. She never learned how to drive, so she walked a mile to work each day, a mile home for lunch, a mile back after lunch and then a mile home at the end of the day.  She had an old typewriter, maybe from her days in the office.  The recipe for hermits is typed, but very brief. It was probably typed on that typewriter.  It says:

Hermits

  • 1/12 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons sweet milk
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • cinnamon (under this in pencil is written 1 teaspoon)
  • cloves (under this in pencil is written 1/2 teaspoon)
  • flour

There are no more directions than that.

Hermits Typed

For one week after my mom first married my dad, my parents lived “up the road” from the farm house in the “brown house” that my grandmother’s parents had built.  It was empty because my great grandmother had moved into the farm house with my grandparents after my great grandfather died.  So every morning that first week of my mom’s married life, she would walk up the road to the farm house while my dad went to work.  She would spend time visiting my grandmother and great grandmother and copy down recipes that my grandmother would tell her.  So, I decided to look in my mother’s recipe box and sure enough, I found the same recipe for Hermits, but this one was written in my mother’s handwriting and had a few more details.  The new recipe was as follows:

Hermits1

Hermits2

Hermits

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • Enough flour so isn’t sticky (use as little as possible) – in pencil above this is written 3 or 4 cups
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 tablespoons sweet milk
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • Roll mixture out – 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with cookie cutter and sugar top.

In pencil on the front, she had later added “375 degrees.”  There was still no mention of cook time.

Organic non-hydrogenated shortening

Organic non-hydrogenated shortening

Before I started making this recipe, I noticed that many of the recipes in our grandmother’s recipe boxes call for shortening.  I don’t usually cook with shortening, so it is not something I have on hand.  A couple of years ago I had attended a pie baking class and learned about an organic shortening that is non-hydrogenated.  I decided to buy this to use in my grandmother’s recipes.  I wasn’t sure exactly what sweet milk was referring to, but after a little research, I found that it is another name for whole milk.

I put the ingredients together and mixed them up in my Kitchenaid (all the while imagining the work it would have taken to stir all of this by hand).  I started out putting in 3 cups of flour, but found that it was too sticky and used a total of 4 cups in the end.

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Rolled out cookie dough

My Grandma Dora’s rolling pin that she used all the time only had a handle on one end.  She said she just liked it that way, but she really didn’t want to spend money on a new one.  My mother has an old jar, that she remembered my grandmother using the lid of to cut out the cookies.  I found the jar and used the lid for my batch.

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Putting sugar on top.

I then sprinkled them with sugar and baked them in the oven that had been preheated to 375 degrees.  I found that 9-10 minutes worked well to have the cookies come out of the oven nice and puffy.

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Hermit cookies on the cooling rack.

So, here is the recipe, one more time, in its completed form.

Hermits

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 3 to 4 cups of flour until dough is no longer sticky (use as little as possible)
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 tablespoons sweet milk (or whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll mixture out to a 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut with a cookie cutter and sprinkle sugar over the tops of the cookies.  Transfer to ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 9 to 10 minutes until cookies puff up and begin to brown slightly.

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Hermit cookies on Grandma Dora’s china plate.

I sampled one and found it to be delicious.  I think my nieces and nephews will enjoy this party treat.  I hope you make a batch yourself and enjoy the old time flavor of Hermit cookies.

Happy Baking!

Amy