Friday, December 17, 2010

Grandma's Tender Sugar Cookies Recipe

Baking Holiday Cookies
Baking holiday cookies is a great way to enjoy spending time with people you love during the holidays. Friends, family, and kids alike can all participate and have fun being involved in a festive holiday tradition. Sugar cookies are a holiday favorite because they are easy to make and even more fun to decorate!

Last week I went to hang out with a friend of mine who teaches elementary school. We flipped through an old Woman's Day Magazine from 2009, trying to pick out one recipe out of dozens of amazing holiday recipes. See some of our favorite cookie recipes here at; and there are others we found that make for an amazing tailgating treat that can be found on the Blog (or at

We chose Grandma's Tender Sugar Cookies to make because we had all the necessary ingredients the recipe called for, plus enough to double the recipe!  Not to mention we wanted to decorate cookies! We also had a recipe to make homemade Sugar Cookie Frosting (look below for recipe) that tasted amazing, and was essential in helping us decorate the cookies.

Recipe for Grandma's Tender Sugar Cookies
(Makes 30 Cookies)

These classic sugar cookies are perfect fillers for gift tins, picnic baskets, wine baskets and portable coffee sets because they are palate-pleasing, easy to pack, festive, and delicious!

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (recommend: hormone free or brown eggs)
  • 1/4 cup milk (recommend: skim milk)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt (recommend: sea salt)
  • (Optional) Powdered Sugar or Flour for dusting
  • (Optional) Icing to decorate cookies
  • (Optional) Cookie Cutters - various designs

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). In a large mixing bowl, beat together shortening and sugar.
  2. Add eggs, milk and vanilla.
  3. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to shortening mixture and beat until smooth.
  4. Dust surface with powdered sugar (or flour) and roll out dough to a 1/2 inch or less. Cut with cookie cutters (or cut into strips if not using cookie cutters) and place on parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets (or non-stick baking pan).
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 9-11 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies looks light brown.
  6. Remove cookies to wire rack to cool.
  7. When cookies are cool, dust with powdered sugar or frost them with Sugar Cookie Frosting (look below for recipe). Further icing decorating can be done if desired.

The recipe was very easy to make, and we went ahead and made a double batch so there would be enough that she could take to give to her class of elementary school students. We mixed up the batter and stuck it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that it would be easier to cut with cookie cutters. While it cooled down, we headed to the store and bought an interesting glitter gel icing that came in 4 different colors (silver, blue, green and red), along with a staple green and red tube of cookie icing so that our sugar cookie designs would really stand out!

After getting back, we sprinkled some flour (instead of powdered sugar) on the rolling pin and the countertop and got busy rolling out the dough and cutting out designs using various cookie cutter designs.

We had cookie cutters shaped like gingerbread men, christmas trees, bells, snowflakes, candy canes, hearts, angels and wreaths. Batch after batch came out of the oven, perfectly baked and filling the house with the tantalizing aroma of holiday cookies.

After letting them cool, we got to work decorating them. First we mixed up a homemade batch of Sugar Cookie Frosting that was simply amazing. I've never enjoyed such a delicious icing before this recipe!

Recipe for Sugar Cookie Frosting
(Makes Frosting for 12 Cookies)

  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract

  1. In a medium bowl, beat together all ingredients. Thin with a little water, if desired. (Ours was thick, so we added a little water and it worked out beautifully.)


Baking these holiday sugar cookies was a wonderful experience, I can't even remember the last time I spent an evening having fun decorating holdiay cookies! Using the tubes of colored icing, and glitter gel icing (wonder how healthy that is for you?), we spent time and love on each cookie, creating our own unique creation of our own imagination.

Most of the cookies we put the Sugar Cookie Frosting on, then decorated with tubes of colored icing. Others we omitted the frosting and just went straight to decorating them. Either way, they were addictive simply because they melted in your mouth and left you wanting more!

Enjoy this holiday cookie recipe, and make enough to share! They are great additions to slip into picnic baskets, picnic backpacks, lunch totes, coffee totes, and wine baskets! Remember to check out for more great holiday ideas and gift ideas. Make this holiday season one to remember!

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

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