This recipe for Amish sugar cookies is a family treasure. Today I’m sharing it with you because certain gifts were made to be shared. And besides, I know that is what my Aunt Marian would want. These were her cookies.
What are these?
A few years ago, I received an email from my cousin Florine. The correspondence contained a puzzle to the past, of sorts. It was sent to her sisters, her brother, and to me and it read something like this:
You mentioned the other day that you couldn’t find Mom’s sugar cookie recipe. For whatever reason, it ended up in my recipe box. This is actually the only recipe I have in her handwriting, though I have a few more that I copied from hers. A verbatim version is attached. The cup she refers to is a 1-cup measuring cup, and the flavor means vanilla or whatever. You’ll notice the rather glaring omission of flour except in the note at the end. So good luck trying to recreate these! (Though now that I have found the recipe I will probably give it a try at some point.)
What’s in them?
Mom’s Sugar Cookies
1 ½ c. sugar
1 c. lard
1 egg beaten in cup then fill cup with sour milk
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cream of tartar
Salt and flavor
For drop cookies use only about half as much lard and not as much flour
Many of us have a favorite aunt or uncle. Admittedly, I had a few of each – not the least of which was my aunt Marion. These were her cookies.
How to make them
Putting these soft sugar cookies together is pretty simple. This is part of what makes them so appealing. It also makes them the perfect cookie for learning how to bake.
The Art of Baking
As my cousin noted in her email of the recipe, my aunt did not include the amount of flour she used to make her cookies.
At first, I assumed she had forgotten that minor detail. But after giving it some thought, I decided maybe not.
To her and her method of making things in the kitchen, Aunt Marian probably didn’t measure many things. This is the art of baking and she was a kitchen artist.
Could it be that she added enough flour to attain a consistency in the dough that was just right for the cookies? I’m going with that guess.
Baking with Lard
I did not use lard for this recreation of my aunt’s Amish sugar cookies, only because I didn’t have access to the real thing. The lard that is sold in most grocery stores is indeed not the “real thing.” Well, to an extent it is, I suppose.
Lard that you buy in the grocery store is made with trans fats. It is ultra-filtered and pasteurized. It is really just a shadow of the stuff I grew up with and the ingredient used in this original cookie recipe.
Common questions about these cookies
Soured milk, is milk that is acidified. This give the milk a tart taste, as in these Amish sugar cookies.
You can make soured milk by adding vinegar (or lemon juice) to milk. In this recipe, we make it by combining a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk.
You can store these in an air-tight container for up to a week and they will stay soft and delicious.
Whenever I make these simple sugar cookies, memories of my aunt Marion flood my mind. Gone over 40 years now, I’ll have those memories and a few photos of her forever.
Now, thanks to Florine, I have these cookies too. I would have loved for you to have met my aunt Marion; these cookies are just a tiny bit of her.
Are you looking for a great icing recipe for sugar cookies? Find out here: Easy Royal Icing Recipe for Sugar Cookies.
You can make these Amish sugar cookies any time of the year. But they are one of our favorite Christmas cookies because they are so easy to make and they store very well. They are a great addition to any holiday cookie exchange.
More Christmas Cookies
I hope you’ll try this old-fashion cookie. Be sure and tag us on social media and please leave a comment below!
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Amish Sugar Cookies made with Sour Milk
- Preheat oven to 350 ℉.
- In large mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter, use hand mixer if necessary.
- For sour milk, add vinegar to measuring cup, fill with milk. Add this along with beaten egg to sugar mixture and stir vigorously until well mixed.
- Incorporate dry ingredients, using hand mixer, until thoroughly combined.
- Drop by teaspoons onto baking sheet.
- Bake 18-20 minutes until firm and pale yellow in appearance.
- Enjoy with cold glass of milk and give pause to remember the special people from your life.