As much as I enjoy coming up with new recipes in the kitchen, I consider Christmas a time for traditions, and baking these Aunt Della’s cookies has been one of my family’s holiday traditions as far back as I can remember. We’re not exactly sure where the recipe originated at this point, but my mom got the recipe from her mom, who we think got it from a friend of hers…who either got the recipe herself from an Aunt Della or from someone else who had an Aunt Della. So basically we have no idea who Aunt Della is, but we certainly love her cookie recipe!
Aunt Della’s cookies are simple, unassuming sugar cookies that just about melt in your mouth and are instantly addictive. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s virtually impossible to eat just one. My mother and I decorate them with sprinkles (green and red colored sugar and multicolored nonpareils), but my grandmother also uses chopped walnuts and shredded coconut – completely up to you!
A word to the wise: while Aunt Della’s cookies are great to have around to nosh on, to give to neighbors, or to set out for Santa, these are relatively fragile cookies and do NOT pack well, so if you’re looking for baked goods to send to faraway family and friends, you’d be better off with something sturdier, like brown butter oatmeal cookies, chocolate espresso crinkle cookies, or Nutella Rice Krispies chocolate chip cookies. My mom once sent some of these to her brother in another state, and he told her that they arrived in crumbs…very, very tasty crumbs that he ate with a spoon. I think that’s a good testament as to how irresistible Aunt Della’s cookies are, no?
What are some of your family’s favorite holiday treats?
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 5-6 tablespoons colored sugars
- Cream together powdered and granulated sugars, margarine, and oil, and mix until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Stir into the sugar mixture and mix until smooth.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll the dough into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter, then dip in colored sugars. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, with at least 1 1/2 inches between cookies.
- To flatten the cookies slightly, press with the bottom of a small glass. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until light brown.
These are a thing of beauty! For me, it’s not Christmas without the fruitcake to go along with the cookies.
Thanks! Fruitcake is one of my favorites too – I’m lucky to have fantastic fruitcake bakers in my family, so I’ve never been subjected to the stereotypically awful fruitcake bricks.
Cake Lover says
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”
I have also frozen the dough for these cookies – it worked wonderfully!
Good to know! Do you freeze the dough in individually rolled balls or as a big chunk?
Cake Lover says
a big chunk!
wow, these are pretty and look tasty. Can you substitute the sugar for honey? Will this still work?
Thanks! I don’t have much experience with using honey in place of sugar, so I can’t say for sure – but I have heard that you’re supposed to lower the baking temperature ~25 degrees if you’re replacing sugar with honey. If you try it with honey, please do report back! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
oh… these cookies made my stomach growl…
Have a wonderful week ahead! 🙂
You and me both! Thanks 🙂
HomeSweetJones (@HomeSweetJones) says
What an awesome history. I hope Aunt Della sees this post someday and has her heart warmed that generations of strangers have been crediting her with these delicious looking cookies. Yum!
It would be pretty awesome if she (or one of her family members) saw the recipe and recognized it! Probably a long shot, but anything is possible, right? 🙂
I NEED MY CAKE PANTS FOR THESE!! These are so cheerful and adorable, and so many of them!! I love it! The recipe is so simple and I need a sugar cookie recipe, I don’t have a back pocket one. This is going to be it! I’ll try it soon and let you know how it goes!!
Cake pants for sure! I’m glad these caught your eye – let me know how they turn out 🙂
So pretty and festive!
Thanks, Cake Chica!
These look simply wonderful! I love me a good sugar cookie, especially around the holidays.
Thanks! I’m sure you’ll adore these if you give them a try 🙂
Oh, so pretty! I haven’t made sugar cookies yet this Christmas season. Must try. They look delicious
Thank you! I think we all have long baking “to-do” lists this season…I’ve barely even started! If you try these, let me know how they turn out 🙂
These are delicious… and for some reason right now are vaguely reminding me of ‘Where’s Waldo’. Definitely a great tradition!
Thanks! I can kind of see what you mean about “Where’s Waldo,” except here “Where’s the cookie with(out) the dog hair” would probably be more likely…(#PetOwnerProblems)