Saturday, December 13, 2008

Vanilla Cookies

The original card
We made cookies tonight.  An old family recipe. When my paternal grandmother died (when I was about 10) I inherited her recipe box.  I wasn't very excited about it at the time but as I got older I realized what a treasure trove it was.  This is one of my favorites.  It says in the top corners M.K and used often for over 60 years. Now, the M.K would have been my Aunt Margaret before she was married.  When she died in 1997, she had been married for 60 years.  So that makes this recipe at least 120 years old.  WOW!!! The original card is written in pen and ink and is now old and tattered.  I don't use the original card anymore.  But anything that measures the flour in quarts and says it will keep for weeks in a stone crock, covered, is worth keeping. The original recipe makes LOTS of cookies.  I scale it down for manageability- it divides well by thirds.

Vanilla Cookies
3 eggs
1 cup milk
3 cups sugar
1 cup clarified drippings (shortening)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
8 cups flour (2 qts)

Cream sugar and drippings, add well beaten eggs.  Sift baking powder with flour- more may be needed to make dough stiff enough.  Add to eggs, etc, alternating with spoonsful of milk.  Finally stir in vanilla. (I either add the vanilla with the eggs or into the milk)  Roll thin and bake (375 F)

I'm not a big frosting fan so we usually make an egg wash and paint our cookies before we bake them. The other bonus to this is that they are done when the come out of the oven.  And it allows for some creativity.
K8 painting cookies
I even have a set of small paintbrushes that are used just for this purpose.  We also put on the sprinkles before the cookies are baked.  One nice thing about this recipe is that it isn't overly sweet and without frosting it is even better.
The finished product!
I have these wonderful old floursack towels that I got from my Mom that are the cookie towels.  She always lay her cookies to cool on one of these on the counter.   They are ancient but cookies are the only thing I use them for.  


  1. I agree... that recipe looks like a keeper! There is something very special about using an old recipe from a family member. The cookies look great!

  2. Those really look pretty! I love the egg wash.

  3. I do love the egg wash. It makes them colorful and a bit shiny without all the sugar. The kids really have fun painting them and some of them are quite fun!
    It's funny, this isn't the recipe I grew up eating- my Mom brought her mother's cookie recipes with her- but I like this one even better than my Mom's (I know- that's heresy!!)

  4. Ah! I love it! Thanks for sharing, I will be doing this with our kids soon!
    (and gosh, doesn't yellowed, tattered 3X5 cards warm your heart?)

  5. I like this post, especially the story with the recipe card and the flour sack towels.

    Try to cheer up about the coming holiday. We are in the doldrums around here too, and now the weather is blizzard conditions with the roads closed. We haven't even got a tree yet, and this late, all I can think of is the mess it will make, and I don't want one. But, I don't dare voice those opinions.

    I hope your family makes it there safe and you have great holiday!


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