Great-Grandma’s Sugar Cookies with Cinnamon and Nutmeg


This recipe has been in my family for as far back as my grandma can remember, and it’s one of the first that I learned to make. When my great-grandma submitted the recipe to her church’s cookbook, she called it “Grandma’s sugar cookies.” Probably dates from just after the turn of the 20th century, because it calls for vegetable shortening, which didn’t come out until the early 1900s.

Yes, those are beer bottles in the picture. Since we just did sandwiches for dinner (it’s been that kind of couple of days), I figured, you know what? Dessert wines are a thing, but neither of us likes wine. Coffee is a thing with cookies, too, right? So, Highland Black Mocha Stout. Dessert beer!

Sugar Cookies

2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
3 eggs
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (imitation is fine for this)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg (less if you’re using freshly grated)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Cinnamon sugar, for dusting

Cream together the sugar and the shortening with an electric mixer. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to dough, a little at a time, beating after each addition. Chill the dough (well, you’re supposed to, and they spread less if you do, but…I don’t bother, because COOKIES NOW) for an hour or so. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto  a cookie sheet and sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 375F for 7-9 minutes, or until you can touch the top of one of the cookies and it springs back rather than leaving an imprint of your finger. Any cookies you don’t use can be stored in an airtight container, but I can’t tell you how long they stay edible, because they’re long gone at my house before then.