Sugar Cookie Variations

My mother had a special sugar cookie recipe that has been passed down in our family.  It was our traditional Christmas cookie – we used the same recipe and the same cookie cutters every year.  I loved cutting and decorating bells and hearts, trees and snowmen.  One of the biggest challenges for me as a mom was finding a way to adapt this recipe for my son so he didn’t have to miss out on the family tradition.  After many years of experimentation, I finally found a version I’m happy with.  Here it is!


  • 1 c. (2 sticks) dairy-free margarine – I like Fleishman’s Unsalted
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. flavoring of your choice – the original recipe called for almond, but orange, anise, lemon, and many others work well also
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar

Cream the butter and sugar – it should be nice and fluffy.  Add the flavorings.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Mix in and chill the dough for at least 2 hours.  This is an excellent recipe for rolled cookies, but it works equally well when you roll it into small balls, coat with colored sugar, non-pareils, etc., and flatten with a glass.  Bake at 375* for 7-8 minutes.  They bake best when the cookie sheet is lined with parchment paper.  Let cookies set for a couple of minutes before removing them from the pan.

Another great way to enjoy these cookies is to make golf-ball sized dough balls, poke your finger in the middle to make an indentation, and fill with jelly.  They bake the same exact way.  My favorite is IKEA‘s lingonberry preserves – the tart flavor is great against the sweetness of the cookie.


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