Mom’s sugar cookies

Mom’s sugar cookies

The Recipe:

moms sugar cookies

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies (McCall’s Cookbook)

This is the tried and true one my mom uses every Christmas, she adapted it (see notes) from McCall's cookbook. As is this recipe makes a ridiculous number of cookies, I rolled thin (⅛-¼" thick), and have cutters ranging from 1½ inch diameter to 3 inch diameter, used a good mix of them, and got over 100 cookies. Halve this recipe if you're not doing a cookie exchange or feeding an army. Or make it, and freeze half of the dough.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 100 cookies


  • 560 g (4 cups) sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 225 g 1 cup soft butter
  • 300 g (1 ½ cups) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • ¼ cup sugar optional
  • Raisins or blanched almonds optional


  • Sift flour with baking powder, soda, salt, and nutmeg; set aside
  • In large bowl of electric mixer, at medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy.
  • At low speed, beat in vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well combined.
  • Form dough into a ball. (I usually make 2). Wrap in waxed paper or foil or cling wrap; refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  • Divide dough into 4 parts. Refrigerate until ready to roll out.
  • Preheat oven to 375F/ 190C/ Fan 170C. Lightly grease cookie sheets (or use parchment paper)
  • On well-floured surface roll dough, one part at a time, ¼ inch thick, for shapes that do well with a bit of puffiness (flowers, Simple shapes, circles) for more defined edges, roll nearly ⅛ inch thick).
  • With floured cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Using spatula place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. (does not have to be that far apart).
  • Sprinkle tops of cookies with sugar.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes for ¼ inch thick 8-9 minutes Ive you've rolled closer to half that, or until golden. Remove to wire rack; cool.


Mom’s notes:
One batch makes 4 dozen, but it all depends on the size of the cookie cutter and the thickness of the rolled-out dough. When I make a half batch, I get about 3 dozen cookies.
The original recipe calls for 1 egg and ½ cup sour cream.
I swapped 1½ tsp cardamom for the nutmeg out of Christmas season, other flavourings could easily be substituted – cinnamon, citrus zest?
I got a little bit of spread here, things to try (in this order)
– longer creaming time
– fridge cold eggs
– more flour
Keyword cookies, holiday, roll cookies, sugar cookies

The Waffle:

This is the recipe we did every year for Christmas cookies when I was growing up. After success with the last two runs of roll out cookies, and requests that the next batch be crunchier, I asked mom for her recipe, turns out it’s based on the sugar cookie recipe from McCall’s cookbook (with my mom’s adaptations as noted). It came together easily and was really easy to work with. I had best success actually cutting the dough a bit on the warm side, then chilling it to move the cookies too cookie sheets, for the more delicate designs, I chilled longer so I could pretty much peel them off the parchment with my barehands. It worked well with my most intricate cookie cutters, but it did puff up and spread a little while cooking, especially when rolled to ¼ inch thick – so I started rolling closer to ⅛ inch thick. Which meant we ended up with about 100 cookies using cutters ranging in size from about 4cm (1.5 inches) to 8cm (3 inches) (not counting ~5 broken ones and…. probably ~5 that got eaten before I managed to count them). So – from now on, I’m at least halving this.

I made this batch as easter cookies, swapping the nutmeg for cardamom. The cookies spread a little more than I would’ve liked, looking at Stella Park’s notes, I’m thinking creaming the butter and sugar longer might help. She also uses eggs from the fridge, I’m not sure how much that will change, these cookies were all chilled before baked. Others have said more flour prevents spread. I may sit down and look at the sugar/fat/flour ratios.


There were so many cookies, I did a variety of decorations, just to shake it up. My favourites were rose water glaze, and egg yolk painted cookies. I also did coloured sugar and a marshmallow glaze, which, needs a little work and I think I have a better use for. Coloured sugar and egg yolk painted kept their crunch well. I liked the rose flavour with the cardamom. With the marshmallow glaze, I was trying to go for a “peep cookie” but didn’t really get there. It took a long time to set and softened these crunchy cookies even more than regular glaze did. I did a good number of stained glass cookies with this batch too, leaving some with plain “leading” and decorating the cookie “window frames” with some of the other methods.