Printable Recipe

oven 375º

1 cup shortening (Crisco)

1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 tablespoons vinegar
5 cups enriched flour
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves

Cream shortening with sugar. Stir in egg, molasses, and vinegar. Beat well. Sift dry ingredients; stir in. Chill at least 3 hours or longer - even several days!

On floured surface roll to 1/8 - 1/4 inch. Cut in shapes. Place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375º about 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness). Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on rack. Makes 4-5 dozen big cookies.

Notes: To avoid getting too much flour into the dough when I roll it out I use a cloth-covered board and I roll the dough between dowels to get it perfectly even. Also I place plastic wrap (Saran) on top when I roll.

I've started to weigh my flour which I find MUCH easier. One cup flour = 5 ounces.

Printable Recipe

(This is from a group of cookie recipes published in Woman’s Day magazine in 1964 – still our favorite plain sugar cookie.)

2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup soft (not runny) butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or a combination of vanilla and almond extracts) 

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and reserve. Put the butter in the large bowl of the electric mixer (or other bowl if mixer is not available). Beat with mixer or wooden spoon until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in the flour mixture with the mixer or spoon, blending until smooth. 

Chill 1 hour or until firm.

Roll a small amount of dough at a time on floured board to 1/8” thickness. Keep remaining dough in refrigerator until ready to use. Cut into desired shapes with floured cookie cutter. Put on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in moderate oven (375°) 8 to 10 minutes or until pale brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 4 dozen 3” cookies. Store cookies airtight. These cookies keep well but are not good shippers as they break easily.

I always double this recipe:

5 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups soft (not runny) butter
2 cups granulated white sugar
4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or a combination of vanilla and almond extracts)

1/2 cup meringue powder
1 scant cup water
2 pounds powdered sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Flavor with vanilla or other extract if desired.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the meringue powder and water until foamy and combined.

Sift in the powdered sugar, add the corn syrup, and mix on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula, Increase the speed to medium-low and beat for five minutes. 

Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. 

Note: Be careful not to over-beat the icing or it might become flaky when applied to the cookie. Keep a close eye on the glossy sheen; over-beating will cause it to go dull. 

Color it with paste food color - I like Americolor (find lots of colors online). Thin with a little water to flood.


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter,
         cut in pieces
1/4 cup dark unsulphured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat, and stir in the molasses and vanilla. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour with 1 cup of the sugar, the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Whisk to combine.

Add the beaten egg to the cooled butter mixture and mix well with a fork. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until firm enough to form balls, about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop out walnut-size pieces of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Toss the balls in the sugar to coat completely and place on ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the centers no longer appear raw. (At 12 minutes you’ll have soft and chewy cookies; at 15 they’ll be crisp.) Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

note: For large cookies, double the size of the balls and bake a little longer.