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When I was still knee high to a grasshopper most holidays (except Thanksgiving) ended at my Great Uncle Casey’s house. The sweetest part of meals at my Uncle Casey’s house were my Aunt Bonnie’s treats. It was a white cake shaped like a lamb with green coconut “grass” on Easter and my favorite sugar cookies on Christmas. It was what I looked forward to every Christmas and for some reason it took me until this year to get the recipe. After making these, you’ll never go back to buying the dough again.

Shortening and sugar get mixed together before adding eggs and flavoring. I know what most of you are thinking: “Isn’t shortening just as bad as lard and worse than butter!?” I thought so, too, until I checked out Crisco’s website which claims the stuff has 50% less saturated fat than butter and no trans fat. Surely this doesn’t make it a health food but it made me feel significantly better about this recipe.

The recipe calls for almond, vanilla and orange extracts. I couldn’t find orange extract at the market so I just subbed in orange juice. Probably not the same punch as extract but I like that almond took the main stage. After combined, flour was mixed in.

Did I mention the lovely view I was able to take in while baking? My in-law’s home looks out over a wooded area.

Once the ingredients were combined I tried rolling the dough out on floured wax paper to make the cookies. I didn’t have a cookie cutter and was going to try to use a glass to make circles but the dull edge of the glass caused the dough to stick. Instead, I just rolled balls and flattened them by hand (the cookies will not rise so they can be super close together) to about 1/4 of an inch.

Bake until just slightly brown around the edges– but just barely. Where you’re not even sure if you can tell if they’re brown yet or not because these guys go from perfectly golden on the bottom to dark browned quickly.

My little sister-in-law helped me whip up some butter cream frosting (confectioner’s sugar, butter, vanilla extract, half and half, almond extract, food coloring). Ever since I read the chemicals in store bought frosting I can’t justify eating that stuff.

Best. Sugar. Cookies. Ever. I may or may not have eaten about half of these myself. They are that good. Luckily I made them smallish so it wasn’t like I ate a ton of big cookies. Right?

And for a bonus, this is transcribed by my grandma:


2 Cups Shortening (Crisco)
1 1/3 Cups Sugar

2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Almond Extract
2 teaspoons Orange Extract
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 Eggs

5 Cups Flour (and more flour for rolling out)

Bake 375 for 7 – 8 minutes

These do not rise so can be put close together on baking sheet
They are done before brown….just barely around edges

  1. Mix together shortening and sugar until combined well
  2. Mix in salt through eggs and mix well
  3. Add flour and mix
  4. Roll out dough on floured surface and use cookie cutters or roll balls of dough then flatten. The cookies will not flatten on their own or get larger.
  5. Eat two dozen cookies.


I might have to think of new occasions to make these. Valentine’s Day? Easter? Friday nights?