If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve seen a few posts of cut sugar cookies, namely around Christmas, and most recently, Valentine’s. The back story on these cookies is that I baked them every year with my grandma, from the time I was 2 to 28. These days, while my grandma is no longer able to participate in our cookie baking tradition due to dementia and some physical issues, the tradition has lived on, and my dad has gotten in on the action again. He baked these same cookies with his mom as a kid so it’s been fun for us to honor her each year by making these cookies. Last year, my niece also joined in and we had a blast!
I don’t spend hours decorating beautiful cookies that are Pinterest-worthy, but for me, that’s not what cookie baking is about. It’s about making the memories while you’re baking – not having a beautifully staged photo at the end. If there aren’t sprinkles all over the counter, icing dripping on the floor and flour everywhere, then you’re not doing it right.
If you’re looking for a fun activity for Valentine’s, give it a whirl. And, with the starter, you’ll have just enough left to make Easter cookies next month! I have no clue what the source of this recipe is – I do remember that it was taped to an index card for a very long time and then my grandma re-wrote it sometime ago and that’s the recipe card I still use.
My grandma turns 96 on Valentine’s day so it’s only appropriate that I share her recipe, and the special place it lives in my heart, during the season of love. Enjoy!
Cut Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 lb Crisco (oh, that’s why these cookies melt in your mouth)
- Instructions: Cut Crisco, flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl, using 2 knives. You can make the starter ahead of time and then put it in the fridge until you need it. It lasts several months (I used the same starter I made at Christmas for the Valentine’s cookies).
To make the cookie dough:
- In a new large mixing bowl, stir together 2 c. Crisco mix, 3/4 c. granulated sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- Add 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla
- Blend well – get your hands dirty! It should form into a dough after a few minutes
- The dough will be soft – if you want to use it immediately, you may need to add a little extra flour if it’s too sticky. Otherwise, I’ve found that it works best to stick it in the fridge for 30-minutes or so
- I usually split the dough in half and roll/cut one half at a time
To cut the cookies:
- Roll dough on a well-floured surface to 1/8 to 1/4 in. thick
- Cut with floured cookie cutters (note: feel free to grab a nibble of leftover dough while cutting – that’s what cookie baking is all about!)
- Place on lightly greased cookies sheet or cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Cook at 375 F for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies start to brown around the edges
A few notes that I’ve found over time:
- Keep an eye on the cookies – all ovens are different and some might not take the full 8 minutes, or might need another minute or two more
- The thinner the cookie, the faster it cooks
- The air cookie sheets work great for chocolate chip cookies, but not so great for these – the cookies spread too much and lose their shape. It’s best to stick (no pun intended) with a traditional cookie sheet
Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before icing. For the icing, I mix powdered sugar and a little bit of whatever milk I have on hand – test a cookie or two to make sure the icing doesn’t spread too much and add more powdered sugar if you need to thicken it up.
Eat ALL the cookies!
Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy 96th Birthday Nana!