One of my favorite Christmas memories is making Santa cookies with my Mom. As I grew up, that memory changed and I took it over, sometimes made those cookies with friends. But the big thing I remember about these cookies was my Mom saying her Grandmother made these cookies as she would lovingly get out the newspaper cutting her Grandmother had cut out over half a century ago. She cut out and kept this sugar cookie recipe, then passed it down to her daughter, who passed it down to my Mom, who passed it down to me. I’m the fourth generation to use this sugar cookie recipe, and I love it. It makes an amazing sugar cookie, it is definitely a tried and true recipe.
All of that is Future Ticia 2020, who is updating one of the earliest posts I wrote a decade ago. From here on out, this is going to be 2009 Ticia (with my occasional comments).
I’ve added the recipe card at the top, but I highly recommend reading through all the tips and tricks I’ve learned over 2 decades of using this recipe.
- 1 cup shortening
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 4.5 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Cream together shortening and sugar. Then add the eggs in one at a time.
- Add the salt, vanilla, and almond extract.
- Slowly add in the flour and baking soda, about 1/2 cup at a time until it has been completely mixed in.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about half an hour.
- After half an hour roll out the dough and cut into shapes using cookies cutters.
- Bake at 375 Farenheit for 10 minutes.
On to the sugar cookie recipe
I really wanted to post my Santa Cookies, yes I know Christmas was almost two weeks ago, but I didn’t post this earlier, for no particularly good reason.
First, here’s the original recipe from my Great Grandmother as scanned in by me before I made these:
And the back of the recipe:
And if you ever want a source for great cookie cutters or baking supplies: Aunt Chick’s, this is the original company that sold the cookie cutters, after searching for 5 years I was able to find this and get replacement cookie cutters, because I don’t know if you know this, but plastic does not hold up super well for over 50 years of cookie making. (Future Ticia here, in the original recipe, there is an address to order the cookie cutters from, as well as statements like, “If you send me a quarter and a SASE I will send you a bottle of my almond extract.)
Here’s the actual recipe, since I’m sure that’s not readable.
Sugar Cookie recipe
- 1C shortening
- 2C sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 t salt
- 1.5 t vanilla
- 3/4 t almond extract
- 4.5 C flour
- 1t baking soda (which can be left out) <<<< actual wording of recipe
Cream together shortening and sugar, then fold in the eggs. Add the salt, vanilla, and almond extract.
Now slowly add in the flour and baking soda (which I do not leave out).
Refrigerate about a half-hour.
Future Ticia 2020, if not making the sugar cookie recipe for Santa cookies, I frequently freeze half of the recipe, because I’m using it to make snacks for one of our book and a movie nights.
Substitutions I have used in my sugar cookie recipe
- 3/4 butter and 1/4 coconut oil
- coconut oil- this led to the great flaubeastian joke with my kids
You’ve made the sugar cookie recipe, now what?
Then roll it out and start cutting out cookies. bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Let your kids decorate. And decorate they did:
Here’s Superman decorating the sugar cookies.
Traditionally, the frosting on Santa cookies is made from egg whites, powdered sugar, and a touch of vanilla. If my husband had his way, it would be made with cream cheese frosting.
It’s my family tradition, so my frosting is made every year.
Princess believes all cookies need large amounts of sprinkles.
And here are the final results:
- Mine (still in process)
Here’s what I learned from decorating our sugar cookies
- Red food dye does stain my new Christmas table cloth. I really should have taken it off, but i thought, “it’s already dirty, why bother?”
- Kids use a lot of sugar sprinkles and sprinkles. I started off with a set of 5 FULL jars, and ended with 3 of the jars empty. Admittedly 3 of those jares were about half the usual size, but still…
- Kids are messy when decorating, plan on having the kids take a bath afterward.
What can you top the sugar cookie recipe with?
(Future Ticia 2020 added another old post using this same recipe into this post)
Here’s what happens each time I read a book that has a picture of cookies in it, “Mommy can we make cookies, can we make cookies?” This becomes the nonstop question until I make said cookies. Back when the boys were 2 this question lasted 2 months because said cookies were meringues and I needed to get the particular ingredients.
So, I had this planned activity……. Then we were reading through the magazine, I have no clue where I got it, but it’s super cool because it has TWO, that’s right two books in it: Time Train, and What Happened to Patrick’s Dinosaurs. After reading the books we’re looking through the different activities in the book, when the kids spot this.
Candy and cookies together, are they in heaven? So, we used up a lot of our Halloween candy decorating cookies. The candy sticks (what we used to call candy cigarettes in those less enlightened days) became lightsabers. Dots and M&Ms were spots galore. And whatever other candy they could find. The whole while they narrated what was happening and what they thought their cookies really were regardless of the cookie cutters they had picked out.
- Lifesavers melt in the oven and make a big mess that is hard to get off a cookie sheet, so do milk duds.
- Candy sticks do fine as long as they’re completely on the cookie (let’s face it they’re royal icing that’s just shaped well).
- If you have some of the cookies cut out beforehand the kids get much less impatient and enjoy the activity more.
Oh well, they were very yummy and the kids had lots of fun.
Ideas where I’ve used these cookies for education
Off the top of my head, I’ve used the sugar cookies for a bunch of our book and a movie night, and I know I’ve used it for other ideas, but can’t remember this late at night.