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My Grandma’s Sugar Cookies

We called her Memaw. She was cute, she was kind and she cooked with Crisco.

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There are two things I have undeniably inherited from my Memaw: her unbridled love of coffee and sweets. I remember the stories she would tell me of how my Grandpa would bring her a fresh cup of coffee in the mornings and carefully place it into her hands before her eyes had even opened. This was their ritual. And a window into their adoration for one another. Although my grandpa died just before I was born, the stories of their life together, from my Grandmother’s memory, made it as though I knew him well.

As a little girl, I remember many summers spent in small town Texas. My sister and I, splitting our time between the home’s of each of our two Grandmas. Back in the day, there was this thing that we used to experience… called boredom. If you’ve grown up in the age of the internet, well, this may be a new concept. Look it up. Anyway, boredom was actually a good thing. It not only stirred in us grand imagination but also the best of memories. When boredom showed up, my sister and I would come up with extravagant past times that included an entire imaginary community we created in the great “outside”. The two of us spent loads of time exploring and gathering from the four corners of our Grandma’s yard, all things necessary for our little made up village. We cooked pine straw pies, cared for make believe babies, concocted wild stories, made messes and memories. It was the best!

This is my Memaw, in her East Texas backyard, with a handful of her grandbabies. Circa 1997… thank the good Lord for my scrapbook phase.

Besides creating my own little fictitious Hallmark movie, under towering East Texas Pines, I acquired some tried and true baking skills from summers spent in those East Texas tiny towns. Thanks to my Memaw, I learned how to make amazing no fail pie crust and the perfect sugar cookies. Both using, you guessed it… Crisco.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I still cherish the handwritten Sugar Cookie recipe that was part of a My Favorite Recipes Cookbook given to me, by my Memaw, as a new bride. This little page in our kitchen’s history has been so well loved that it detached from the cookbook and now resides in it’s own plastic sleeve.

To both the baking divas out there and the not so sure starters, this sugar cookie recipe is fast, no fuss, and scrumptious. It results in the perfectly chewy center and crisp around the edges cookie texture. Then it leaves you with the most delicious almond flavor note.

Just Trust Me…

If you will stick with me, I promise the Crisco will make sense. You will eventually see why I have not wavered from this outcast ingredient passed down from Grandmas far and wide. In the meantime… let’s all remember that we are making SUGAR COOKIES. This is a small pleasure in life NOT an effort to add health benefits to our bodies. We can enjoy this combination of sugar, Crisco and flour and not loose our selves in the process. We are adult women who can eat homemade desserts in moderation without selling our souls to the devil. Goodness knows we are reasonable folk and will continue taking our supplements and tossing in our organic greens all the live long days.

So, here is why we need to allow Crisco it’s moment to shine…

  • It is shelf-stable so it will be there for you when you are out of butter but want cookies.
  • No need to wait for it (unlike butter) to come to room temperature… because we all live real lives. Game changer.
  • It does not require you to chill the dough. Crisco has a higher melting point than butter so the dough will not flatten in the oven. Science is cool.
  • It provides uniform texture and color to cookies.
  • Does not mask the flavor of the almond extract, which you will fall in love with!

Vivd memories are sealed into my mind, of my Memaw and I, standing in her kitchen, rolling the sugar cookie dough into balls and then pressing it with the bottom of a sugar coated glass. Listening to her stories about bridge club, or working at the bank or my Grandpa. Nowadays, standing in my own kitchen, with my daughters, I am creating new memories. Of sugar cookie rolling, glass bottom dipping, dough ball pressing, and cookie dough eating. And I am thankful. Not only for now… but for then. Thankful for those summers among the Pine Trees, childhood boredom, and Grandmas who cooked with Crisco.

Print Recipe

Memaw’s Sugar Cookies

A fast, no fuss, and scrumptious sugar cookie. This tried and true recipe results in the perfectly chewy center and crisp around the edges cookie texture. 


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening Like Crisco
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Preheat oven to º375.
  • Cream Crisco and sugar using a hadheld mixer. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract and mix well.
  • Sift dry ingredients together and carefully add to first mixture until combind.
  • Form dough into walnut sized balls and place on cookie sheet.
  • Lightly grease the bottom of a glass and dip into a shallow bowl of sugar. Press balls flat with sugar coated glass bottom. (Gently rocking the glass in circular motions as you press down)
  • Bake at º375 for 8-10 minutes until edges begin to turn slightly golden brown.
  • Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack.



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