Old Fashioned Soft Sugar Cookies


When I first pulled this recipe from the box, I noticed that it was absent of any notes from my mom.  No “very good” or “Randy liked” or “For double batch add…”.  It was just the recipe, all by itself, but I decided to make it anyway.

Once finished, I bundled up the cookies and the Tortilla (Enchilada) casserole I had made and took them over to my friend’s house who had just moved into a new place.  You know how it is…..with the one hundred and one boxes, they were lucky to find the kitchen.

When I got there, I insisted that they gobble up the cookies, and they did because they are that considerate (or that hungry), but either way, it was nice of them.  Quite unexpectedly, my friend’s boyfriend burst from the kitchen and hugged me with such unabashed fervor that a straight jacket would be jealous of all the tightly wound arms and firm grip.

Apparently, these simple cookies were exactly like his grandmother used to make.  They had the same look, the same exact smell and the same taste.  They were memories in a single cookie for him.  I don’t know about you, but scents have an incredible lasting power for me.  I know that in time I will forget all the fine details of what my parents looked like, but in one quick moment, in one deep breath, I can get them back in full force by the scent of machinery oil, or garden roses …… or one simple sugar cookie.

This little recipe card, with its notationless front will now hold a deeper meaning.  I know that this post will be bookmarked as “Andrew’s Favorite Cookie” on a computer deep in wilds of Portland proper, and with each batch of cookies he will bring his grandma back into his kitchen and remember his fondest memories of her….. all in 10-14 minutes.

Image 1

Whip the butter.  Do it.  You’ll thank me later.

The recipe calls for you to whip it to the consistency of mayonnaise.  Do you like that even though this recipe doesn’t have mayo in it, it still had to be mentioned in the recipe?  Yeah, I thought so. Add the sugar while continuing to cream the butter.

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Add eggs one at a time and beating them well after each addition. Fluffy!

In a separate bowl, mix and sift flour, salt, baking soda and powder.  Starting with the flour, add 1/3 to the whipped butter mixture, then add half the sour cream, making sure to completely incorporate after each addition.  Add 1/3 of flour, then the other half of sour cream and ending with the last of the flour.

You will be left with fluffy, but sticky batter.

On a silpat sheet on top of a cookie sheet, or a well-greased cookie sheet, drop batter by tablespoonfuls.  Image 3

The recipe card calls for you to flatten the cookie dough scoops down, but this is some sticky dough and it stuck to my spatula…so I made the executive decision to ignore that step.

Then it called for cinnamon-sugar……just like that, all normal like…as if I had it sitting around just waiting for this recipe in a jar labeled ‘cinnamon-sugar’.  Well, if you don’t read the sarcasm in my carefully typed voice, you should note that I, in fact, did not – nor have I ever – had cinnamon-sugar hanging around my kitchen.   I pretended to know what I was doing (I do that a lot) and took a little bowl, added 1 tbsp cinnamon and 5 heaping tbsps of sugar and voila! cinnamon-sugar was bImage 4orn.

Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture generously over the little mounds of batter on the sheet and put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-14 minutes.  When they come out, they look something like what I imagine the earth looked like when lava cracked over its surface.

Once they have cooled down, they lighten up a bit and look buttery-cinnamon-sugar scrumptious.  Softest, fluffiest cookies around.

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Old Fashioned Soft Sugar Cookies

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 2-3 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: Dessert


  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 c. sifted flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • cinnamon-sugar


  1. Cream butter to consistency of mayonnaise; add sugar gradually while continuing to cream.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix and sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  5. Add to mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
  6. For 3″ cookies, drop by heaping tbsp. on well-greased cookie sheets or silicone baking sheet, well apart.
  7. Mix 1 tbsp. cinnamon with 5 tbsp. sugar and sprinkle generously over dropped cookie dough on sheet.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-14 minutes.

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Comments: 4

  1. Becky Maloney August 21, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I love everything about you, Holly Sautner. And I will be trying these soon. 🙂

    • Holly August 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

      You must realize that the fabulous cookie sheet I use to bake all my cookies and challah bread is the gorgeous one you gave me for Christmas, right?

  2. Sarah January 10, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I wanted to thank you so much for sharing your recipe. These are amazing cookies!!! They were sweet clouds of sugar and cinnamon. I ended up having to put some of the dough in the fridge and bake the rest when my husband and boys came home, so I would not be tempted to eat the whole lot.

    • Holly January 10, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      You have incredible willpower! I would have convinced myself that I needed to make all the cookies…to create world peace or something. Aren’t they so dreamy? Now you’ve got me thinking about these cookies! I better go whip some up….