Old Fashion Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies main

I know I have found a good cookbook when the pages are filled with personal notes and dried food remnants spilled on random pages. This is where I found my next antique recipe quest. In a recent visit from my sister we were reminiscing about our grandmothers cookie jar and my sister was disappointed that she could longer find old fashion sugar cookies anywhere. I prefer snickerdoodles myself, but I did agree with my sister nowadays you can find the sugar cut out cookies that are decorated like crazy. Finding the old fashion soft sugar cookies that are dipping in sugar are a challenge.

I have a few of my grandmothers old cookbooks especially the old crusty olds that no one wanted, but those are the best ones because you know that those are the ones that were most loved and used. I found one from 1969 called "The Panhellenic Cookbook" and inside there were 5 old fashion sugar cookie recipes to choose from. I eliminated 2 right away. One used oleo (your grandmothers margarine) and the other one used dried yeast. Both of these recipes intrigue me, but I was looking for something closer to what my sister was craving. I may try the yeast recipe later just for fun.

Reading this recipe it sounded more to what my sister was looking for. 

Recipe as written from The Panhellenic Cookbook, 1969

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Ingredients Measurements
Butter 1/2 Cup
Sugar 1 Cup
Eggs 2
Vanilla 1 tsp
Flour 2 1/2 Cups
Salt 1/2 tsp
Baking Powder 2 1/2 tsp


Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together; sift flour, salt and baking powder into creamed mixture. Mix thoroughly; place in refrigerator. Roll out to desired thickness when cold. Cut; place on greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 350 to 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Remove from sheet when taken from oven; cool on wire rack. Yield 3 dozen.

Butter and sugar to cream

What I did

I mixed this recipe using a standard creaming method mix instead of mixing the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs all together at once. I felt that I would get a smoother mix if I followed the modern creaming method mix. the dough came together very easily and was slightly sticky so I chilled it for 1 hour. 30 minutes probably would have been enough for chilling time, but I got distracted so it took a little longer for me to get ready to start baking.
Since there was a range in temperature I experimented with what worked with my oven. I started at the 375 ℉ temperature since I know my oven runs a little cool. The first batch did not spread at all and came out quite thick so 10 minutes was not enough time and the cookies still had a doughy center. I reduced the temperature to 360 ℉ for the second batch and made the cookies slightly thinner. This batch cooked perfectly in 10 minutes. The concern was that the flour and baking powder had a high measurement so I was scared that the cookies would be dry and have a really short shelf life.

sugar cookies side by side

Adjustments Made

Once the cookies cooled and I tasted them my fears were confirmed there was a distinct flour flavor and they did not have the softness that a typical sugar cookie had. I decided to reduce the flour amount by a 1/2 cup. I also reduced the baking powder by a 1/2 tsp. I mixed the dough the same way as I did the first recipe and chilled it again. This dough was soft and sticker than the first recipe batch.
After chilling I once again baked these cookies at 360 ℉ so I could compare them to the first batch. These cookies spread out just slightly, but they definitely baked softer then the first recipe. I decided not to make any more adjustments because I liked the texture of the batch I had just baked and I was able to get a 3 day shelf like out of the recipe that I adjusted. The one thing that did not happen was the yield was not close to what the recipe said, I was only able to get out 1 1/2 dozen cookies from this recipe not 3 dozen.

Stacked sugar cookies

Final Adjusted Recipe

Here is a copy of the recipe with all the adjustments that I made. The original recipe was a good recipe, but personally I didn't like the light flour flavor I was getting and I was looking for a longer shelf life.

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients Measurements
Butter (room temperature) 1/2 cup
Sugar 1 cup
Eggs 2
Vanilla 1 tsp
Flour 2 cup
Salt  1/2 tsp
Baking Powder 2 tsp


  1. Cream together the butter and sugar
  2. Combine the eggs and vanilla - add into creamed mixture one egg at a time
  3. Combine flour, salt and baking powder - add into the mixture in 3 small additions
  4. Be sure to scrape down your bowl between adding in new ingredients
  5. Cover dough with plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Once dough has chilled pre heat your oven to 360 ℉. I set these cookies up similar to snickerdoodles. Formed walnut size pieces of dough into a ball and rolled in granulated sugar. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and press to desired thickness with the bottom of a glass. 

Bake for 10 minutes, cool and place on cooling rack