My mother and I have a recipe for a cookie that dates back probably to my maternal great-grandmother, if not my great-great-grandmother.

The first time I saw the recipe, it was written in my grandmother’s Victorian-style handwriting.

The recipe card had been used so much, it was falling apart. We wanted to keep this little piece of my grandmother’s heritage safe for future generations. I now have my grandmother’s original recipe box with that recipe and others in it but I don’t use that copy. I do like to open the box and look at the recipes and smile because I remember my grandmother when I see her handwriting.

The recipe is called “Mother’s Shaker Cookies.” It’s a cookie that can either be rolled out and cut into shapes or used as a drop cookie. I like it both ways.

It’s also one of those recipes we made at Christmas time. It’s a sugar cookie with lemon flavoring. I’ve tried it with vanilla flavoring but it just doesn’t taste the same (Probably because that’s how we always made it when I was a child).

I could help make these cookies when I was little. I helped add the flour, sugar, butter and all the other ingredients. I couldn’t help with the final stirring because the dough was always thick since we were going to roll it out and cut shapes in it.

I did get to help roll the dough out. Mother used waxed paper under the dough, sprinkled it with flour and away we went.

I love cookie cutters. I always have. There’s just something about taking the outlined form of something and putting it into the dough and making that shape.

I made Christmas trees, Santas, bells, stars and even gingerbread men shapes. I know it was a sugar cookie dough, but we had the gingerbread man shape so I used it.

This recipe makes about five dozen cookies so I got to make lots of shapes.

And it didn’t matter if I made a mess. When I roll out dough, I’ll admit I am messy. Flour goes everywhere. Bits of dough roll out on the countertop. It’s just one of those things that happens to me. Always has, probably always will. My mother never got upset about this. She just smiled and cleaned up the mess. When I got older, then I cleaned up the mess.

When the cookies were ready to be put in the oven, it was time to decide if we wanted to put actual icing on them, or sprinkle with little candies or colored sugars.

Usually, we did a little of both. I really preferred using the sprinkles because it was fun to do. Icing was OK, but I was usually too impatient to wait until the cookies cooled to be iced. I liked instant gratification.

Plus, if you wanted icing, the cookies really couldn’t be stacked on each other since they would stick together. With the sprinkles, stacking was easy.

The cookies bake fairly rapidly, within about 10 minutes of being placed in the oven. They have a really wonderful aroma too because of the lemon flavoring.

When rolled out, the cookies have a slight crispy edge and soft center. When made as drop cookies, they’re soft all over. I don’t really care which kind I bake — they’re both really good.

It’s funny, I don’t remember my grandmother making these cookies. I’m sure she did since it was her recipe. I just remember making them at home around Christmas time (and other holidays as well like Valentine’s Day).

I still make these cookies at my own home. They still have a wonderful aroma that takes me away back in time to being a small child on tippy-toes, watching the batter being mixed, ready and anxious to bake another batch.

Contact Teresa Atkerson at

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