Never-Fail Vintage Christmas Cookie Recipes

Posted on Dec 8 2010 - 8:59am by RetroRuth

So, I am in full-bore, pedal to the floor, “I can’t take it anymore” Christmas Cookie mode.  Seriously.  The list of cookies I am making this year has been referred to as  “obnoxiously overacheiving”, “disgusting” and “insane”. 

But I LOVE making Christmas Cookies, so everyone else can just cram it with sugared walnuts. 🙂

In that happy spirit, I bring you some tried and true holiday cookie recipes that were submitted by You, the Marvelous Readers, last year. And even one that was featured in the Mid-Century Menu and was a total winner. For a change!  So, enjoy the recipes!

This great sugar cookie recipe is from Sara In AZ, one of NPR’s fabulous authors:
This from my great-grandmother Lena, who lived in and around Brussels, Wisconsin all of her life.
She has passed away now, but this cookie recipe is a nice way to remember her.
Lena’s Christmas Sugar Cookies
1 3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Shortening (1/2 Butter and 1/2 Crisco)
3 Eggs
1 Cup Sour Cream
4 Cups Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp. Salt
Vanilla (no amount was given, so I guess just a dash?)
Blend together Sugar, Shortening, Eggs, Sour Cream, and vanilla
Sift together Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and then mix into Sugar mixture
Roll out and cut the cookies. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 8-12 mins. at 350.
 This recipe has been in my family forever, though I have not made these cookies in a really long time. I remember her making them and they were the best – big and fluffy and tasty. I am sure if I made them now, they would not be nearly as good as I remember hers tasting!
Sara even included this amazing picture of her Grandma Lena on her wedding day!
Sara's Grandparents
What a cute couple!  Thanks, Sara!
This next recipe was a suggestion from Barbara and is a hilarious classic spice cookie:
The book’s intro to recipe:
“Once, in an elevator en route to my office, I was eating some spice cookies which I had made from a recipe in my big fat cookbook.
I gave one to the Elevator Lady, and she tasted it.
‘My,’ she said reflectively, ‘I can sure make a better spice cooky than that.’ So she brought me her recipe, and she was quite right. This is a short, rich, ginger-snap sort of a cooky, and the recipe makes plenty.”
Elevator Lady Spice Cookies
From Peg Bracken’s I Hate to Cook Book

Mix together:
¾ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
¼ cup molasses

Then sift together and stir in:
2 cups flour
2 tsp soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp powdered cloves
¾ tsp powdered ginger

Now mix it all together, and form it into walnut-sized balls.
Put them two inches apart on a greased cooky sheet
and bake at 375 degrees for ten to twelve minutes.

The next recipe is from Annie B., who sent the Spritz Cookie recipe out of the 1950’s Mirro Cookbook.  A another classic.  Thanks, Annie!
For the Mirro Cookie Press

1 cup shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 beaten egg
2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract

Cream the shortening and add sugar gradually. Add the egg and beat well. Gradually add sifted flour, salt and baking powder and mix well.

Fill the cookie press and press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.

And finally, my family’s favorite cookie!  This one was made by my mother one Christmas when she was stuck at home, 8 months pregant with my older sister and bored out of her mind.  She made a TON of cookies that year, but this was my Dad’s favorite.  It is so good and fun, and we make it every year!

 Coconut Top Hats

Cookie Dough

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar,  packed

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

Cream butter, add sugar gradually and then beat in yolk and vanilla. Blend in flour and salt. Shape dough in 1o inch roll and wrap in wax paper. Chill overnight.

Coconut Topping

2 cups chopped coconut

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 egg white

1 Tablespoon water

Combine above ingredients. Chill.

Cut chilled cookie dough into 1/8 inch slices. Shape 1 tsp coconut mixture to fit cookie. Baked 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.

1 cup chocolate chips, melted

Marachino cherries, cut in half

Remove cookies from pan. Place 1 tsp melted chocolate on top of cooled cookie. Decorate with cherry half.

And now, from the Mid-Century Menu last Christmas…Jim Dandies!


This cookie was a total winner.  In fact, I am making it again this year!

Soup Cookies 076

Happy Baking!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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5 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Alex December 8, 2010 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    I actually needed Annie B’s recipe. She sent me a cookie press for Christmas, and I’m using it to make cookies for the office party. I even bought special sparkly sugars to top them with.

  2. Barbara December 8, 2010 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    Those Elevator Lady Cookies are easy to make, the recipe makes a ton and they are GOOD!!

    • RetroRuth December 9, 2010 at 9:22 am - Reply

      I will second that, Barbara! The Elevator Lady Cookies are awesome! They go on my Christmas cookie list every year.

      Alex! Happy to see you! I ADORE those spritz cookies. Lots of good Christmas memories in those little guys.

  3. sablemable December 10, 2010 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Saraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! You look like your Grammy and that’s a compliment! Beautiful Grammy, beautiful Saraaaaaaaaa! I love her spit curl in front!

    Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuth! You’ve got me in the mood for Christmas cookies, you rascal you! I can feel the tonnage attaching itself on my waistline just looking at these yummy recipes!

  4. Tammy December 16, 2012 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Your family sugar cookie recipe is like mine, the only difference is 1 tsp vanilla and some grated nutmeg in the dough. Fantastic! I look forward to them every year.

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