A Variety Cookie of My Own

I am in awe of people who can take a recipe, make changes to it, and call it their own. Flavor profiles and what goes best with what are areas of culinary knowledge that I am "less than knowledgeable" about.  I do understand the very basics of the process, but that's about it.

I'm a pretty good cookie baker, according to my resident taster, so yesterday I decided that I would attempt to make a cookie that I could really say was mine. I dug out my recipe box that an aunt lovingly made and gave to me as a wedding present and found my mother's recipe for 'Variety Cookies."
Mother's recipe is similar to a sugar cookie but not quite as sweet. The "variety" part is that you could add cocoa to it and make a delicious chocolate sugar cookie. This is one of my favorite recipes. I decided that I'd use this recipe for my first real foray into recipe building.

As you can see, the recipe is very basic.

I thought about the spices I enjoy, cardamon, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. I knew that using all of these spices be overpowering so I settled on cardamon and nutmeg.

The recipe uses shortening so I substituted half of the amount for butter. This gave it a richer flavor. Instead of milk I used half and half.

This recipe makes great dough for cut out cookies, but I rolled them in a small balls, flattened them with a sugared glass, and then pressed in sliced almonds. 

One of my neighbor's dropped by as the first pan was coming out of the oven and I enlisted her as my taste tester. Her critique gave them high marks for presentation, tenderness and flavor. Coming from her, this is high praise!

I am very pleased with the outcome of my little cooking experiment. I do believe that I now have a "variety cookie of my own".

Sugar and Spice Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen

3 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus additional sugar for pressing cookies
2 tablespoons half and half
1 egg
1/2  teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I used freshly grated nutmeg.)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Cream shortening, butter, and sugar. Add egg, half and half, and vanilla.

Sift flour, cardamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder together and add to creamed mixture. Mix well.

Roll into balls, using a tablespoon for measurement. Place on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Wet the bottom of a flat bottomed glass, dip bottom in sugar, and press cookie dough ball to the size of a silver dollar. Press sliced almonds into top of cookie dough.

Bake in a 350 F preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let cookies cook for 2 to 3 minutes on cookie sheet and them transfer to cooling rack to finish cooling.

Store in a cookie jar or other air tight container. Freezes well.



  1. I love the spices and almonds. I'm going to have to try these!

  2. I know what you mean. Oh, I would love to be able to build a recipe from scratch. I think you've done an excellent job with these cookies. I would love to be in your neighbor's place and be I the one to try the cookies.


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