Spring Storm Blues? Cheer Up With Gran’s Sugar Cookies

A late season winter storm is having a last bit of fun across much of the United States this week, complete with freezing temperatures, feet of snow in the Northeast, and super-strong winds across the Midwest. Schools have been closed, practices cancelled, and kids are bored, bored, bored!

What to do? Try an old-fashioned solution that will last for a couple of days: bake some cookies. This easy recipe has been in my family for generations. I remember baking them with Mom and Granny when I was 7 or 8, and they’re just as good when I make them now.

If you like your cookie more cakey, roll them out a little more thickly, or try dropping them by the teaspoon on the cookie sheet. If you like your cookies more crispy on the edges, roll them a little thinner than one-quarter inch. (Or, if you’re a traditionalist like Gran, pat out dough and then cut out with your favorite cutter.)

Add your family’s favorite flavors by swapping out the vanilla for orange or lemon flavoring, and adding orange or lemon zest.

Granny’s Sugar Cookies

2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
4 cups flour
1 cup shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or flavoring to taste)

Cream sugar, shortening, eggs and milk in a large bowl. In a second bowl, stir all dry ingredients to combine and remove any lumps. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients gradually, mixing completely.  If dough feels too sticky, add flour one tablespoon at a time to desired consistency, especially if you want to roll dough out. To roll out, flour surface generously, roll out small quantities of dough and cut into shapes. Flour rolling pin if needed.

Drop cookies onto baking sheet, or lay cut out shapes onto sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until edges of cookies are golden brown. As each oven is different, watch your first batches of cookies closely to establish a baking time. (Generally, I bake mine 9 to 10 minutes on a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.)

These cookies are great plain, topped with cinnamon sugar (add this on cookies hot from the oven), or your favorite icing or glaze. They’re supposed to keep up to two weeks in an airtight container, but they’ve never lasted that long at my house! The unbaked dough may also be frozen in dropped cookie shapes or as logs for later slicing and baking. Frozen dough keeps six months, wrapped in foil and stored in airtight containers or bags.