Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Maeve’s Childhood Christmas Cookie Recipes

on December 12, 2013

These are the cookies I make every year – and they’re also the ones my mother made.  I’ll post pictures later on as I bake them, but figured if anyone (Morvena, I’m looking at you LOL) was looking for some tried and true recipes, here they are!

Ethel’s Sugar Cookies (the recipe name, not my Mother 🙂 )

This is my go-to sugar cookie recipe; it’s the same one my mother used.  The texture is really nice.  You could vary the flavoring (maybe use some lemon or almond).  They’re not overly sweet and make a nice base for the frosting.

  • ¾ cup shortening (I used salted butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

Cream the butter and sugar until light; add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Whisk together the dry ingredients, and then add to the creamed mixture.  Chill the dough at least one hour.  Roll out your dough (@ ¼ inch thick) and cut as desired.  Bake in a 400F oven on ungreased cookie sheets (I like insulated baking sheets for these) for 6 to 8 minutes.  I always add the caveat that one should know one’s oven – some run hot and take less time.  Cool completely before frosting.  I double this recipe all the time; it freezes well, so you can make it ahead and then use when needed.

The frosting – I found this recipe on the box of SOFTASILK ® Flour.  It makes a ton and it outstanding for frosting both cookies and cakes.  I’ve made a couple tweaks, but if you want the original, it’s online at the Pillsbury website with the recipe for Deluxe Devil’s Food Cake (which is a pretty good cake too BTW).  My mother used a frosting recipe from the box of Domino’s Sugar, but this one is pretty much the same thing.

  • 1¼ cups butter, at room temperature (I use salted)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 – 9 Tbsp. milk (8 Tbsp. is ½ cup and I generally use just that)
  • 7½ cups (1 2-lb. bag) powdered sugar
  • Food coloring gel/paste
  • Sprinkles, etc.

On medium speed, beat the butter, salt and vanilla until creamy.  Gradually add the milk and powdered sugar alternating between the two.  Scrape the bowl frequently.  Beat on high speed and add any additional milk by the tablespoon until you get a spreading consistency.  Divide and tint as desired. 

As far as quantity goes – I have no idea how many you’ll get because we use large and small cookie cutters but you will get a lot if you double the recipe (which I always do).


Russian Teacakes

Certain people in my family (I’ll let you guess) are not fond of nuts in anything (which I think is nuts – haha).  My mother always made these with crushed walnuts (she used one of those nut crusher things that makes them just this side of ground – don’t use a food processor).  I think they’re better with nuts, but maybe I’m the one who’s nuts.

  • 1 cup soft butter (you know what I use by now)
  • ½ cup sifted confectioner’s sugar (and yes – I do recommend you sift it)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flout
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cups finely chopped nuts (optional)

Mix the butter, sugar and vanilla thoroughly.  Blend together the flour and the salt and stir into the creamed mixture.  Add the nuts if you’re using them.  Chill the dough for an hour or so.

Heat the oven to 400F.  Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (I end up using a cookie scoop).  Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 10 – 12 minutes (you know your own oven).  While still warm, roll in confectioner’s sugar.  Cool, then roll again in the powdered sugar.  Hide them.

Makes about 4 dozen 1-inch cookies

(Note – I’ve never gotten 4 dozen from one recipe – probably because I make them larger than 1 inch.  Also, this dough doubles really well,)



Next to the chocolate chip cookie, this is the single most requested cookie in my household.  My mother made them exclusively in the winter and served them with hot chocolate.  We always had them when decorating our Christmas tree.

  • 1 cups soft shortening (I use salted butter)
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Heat oven to 400F.

Mix shortening, sugar and eggs thoroughly.  Sift together the dry ingredients, then stir into the creamed mixture.  Roll the dough into 2-inch balls.  Then roll in a mixture of 2 Tbsp. sugar & 2 tsp. cinnamon.  Place them 2-inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 8 – 10 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.  They will puff up and then flatten out when they cool.

Makes about 5 dozen 2-inch cookies – says the cookbook – I never get that many.  You’re really going to need to hide them.

Recipes for Ethel’s Sugar Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, and Snickerdoodles from Better Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook, 1961. 


16 responses to “Maeve’s Childhood Christmas Cookie Recipes

  1. FuzzieWuzzie says:

    Who could this be?

    • Maeve says:

      Too adorable Fuzzie. You do know that the Cookie Monster is my favorite monster, right? And death to those who demand his wussification – the Cookie Monster DOES NOT eat his veggies. Do you think there are some people who wake up every morning and thing to themselves, “and how can I suck the joy of life today????” Maybe we can enlist TSK to send his cookie man army to recapture the Cookie Monster and return him to freedom.

  2. FuzzieWuzzie says:

    Maeve, could this be what you’re looking for?

  3. Morvena says:

    Maeve, thank you for posting these recipes! It may take me a little bit to attempt them as my mother and I already have a sweet project in the works that will keep us busy, but I’ll definitely have to try the snickerdoodles if nothing else (love snickerdoodles). Also, Cookie Monster is the best 🙂

    • Maeve says:

      Cookie Monster IS the best – and you probably can’t trust anybody who doesn’t love him LOL.

      I wanted to mention to you, that if your oven is temperamental, an insulated baking sheet will be your best friend – it really helps to keep things from burning and Bed, Bath & Beyond. You won’t regret the investment, I promise you 🙂

  4. theshadowedknight says:

    Maeve, I have hit a slight problem. The shirt is $20, and for the joke it is worth it. However, for shipping, they want another $20. This is clearly outrageous, so I will have to wait until I get back to the States. Fear not, once I reach civilization again, I will make good.

    The Shadowed Knight

    • Maeve says:

      You’re right, that IS outrageous – and ridiculous. I have no doubt that once you are stateside, I will be in cookie overdrive.

      BTW – I am now going to have to break it to Iseult that there will be a delay in the baking of your army – she’s going to be annoyed – was telling her about it and she immediately determined that SHE must decorate the cookies – which is probably better all the way around LOL.

      • theshadowedknight says:

        Well, you can tell Iseult that it should be no longer than a month until she gets to prepare my army. I am getting close.

        Just make sure to remind her that they must be ready for battle; none of these fancy formal dress uniforms. These gingerbread men must be lean, mean, feeding machines.

        The Shadowed Knight

      • Maeve says:

        I will have Iseult begin designing their battle garb (I wonder if she can do cammo…) Hmmmm. And good news that you will be stateside soon!

  5. FuzzieWuzzie says:

    A final word-COOOOKKKIIIIEEE!!!!!

  6. […] My recipe for sugar cookie dough is here…. […]

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