Heritage in the Kitchen With The Perfect Sugar Cookies

By Jan 28, 2015January 31st, 201737 Comments

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My love of cooking and being in the kitchen was sparked at a young age. I have lots of warm memories that revolve around helping in the kitchen, celebrating family, and being around food. I was encouraged to participate, creating an active memory process that helped build a heritage of recipes that I treasure so much today. Each recipe triggers such a deep recollection of times, smells, thoughts, and even feelings.

My grandma always liked to make the best sugar cookies I have ever eaten! They were soft, thick, and chewy. Every cookie was piled high with a simple powdered sugar icing, and a bazillion colorful sprinkles. When she would have my sister and me over to bake and frost, we would whip up dozen after dozen of these magical cookies.

This sugar cookie recipe is perfect for making cutouts and cookies that are easy to decorate. Bonus: marbleized frosting technique included.

The Perfect Sugar Cookies For Cutouts And Decorating

Sugar Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 C Butter
  • 2/3 C Sugar
  • ½ t Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 t Almond extract
  • 2 ½ C Flour

Mix butter and sugar. Add salt, eggs, and extract. Add flour and mix well. Roll out to about ¼ inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Frost with icing when cool.

Sugar Cookie Icing

  • Mix powdered sugar with milk (a tablespoon at a time) until smooth.
  • Add coloring and flavoring if desired.

Perfect sugar cookies with marbleized frosting and sprinkles. Perfect for Valentine's Day.

Marbleized Frosting Technique

To marbleize your frosting, add a base coat to your cookie. Make sure it’s thick enough to cover, but not so thick that it’s running over the edges. Next, using a second color (the more contrast, the better) add a squiggle of frosting down the length of the cookie. It doesn’t need to be perfect to look great in the end! Then, using a tooth pick or another pointy object, draw lines up and down the cookie frosting to create the marbled pattern.

These sugar cookies are great for making cutouts and getting creative with your decorating with a fun marbling technique.

Here’s another great technique for decorating your cookies:

Create A Recipe Memory Collection

When I was a newlywed, my mother gave me the best gift I never knew I really needed! It was a book of all of our favorite family recipes gathered into one spot, a collection of my heritage. Each and every recipe had a few quick jotted sentences at the bottom of the page. A tid bit of a remembrance, a memorable story that would make me laugh, like the time my sister and I accidentally tipped the cookie sheet while it was still in the oven and watched all of the Mexican Wedding Cakes roll to the bottom!

At first, I set the book aside, thinking I could find newer and better recipes. But over time, I realized the true value in those old tried and true recipes. I found myself using my family recipes for nearly every meal.

When my grandmother died, I had a yearning for her. I would often spend many hours of the day thinking of her, and every time I did, my thoughts would lead to our time in the kitchen together. I wanted those sugar cookies again, I needed those cookies again! One day, I finally opened my cupboard and reached for her recipe. I invited my grandmother’s memory to accompany me in the kitchen as I mixed and rolled, baked, and frosted. It was therapeutic.

mary hugs emily on grandmas birthday

From that point on, I’ve made it a priority to hunt for my recipe heritage, including those amazing sugar cookies I used to make with my grandma. I’ve even got quite a collection from my husband’s side of the family that will also be a great gift to pass along to my children when they leave home and get married.

You can start your own recipe memory collection. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

  1. Ask family members, friends, even co-workers to record recipes that mean something to you. Don’t be afraid to ask! You’d be surprised by how willing people are to share their recipes.
  2. Gather your collections into one spot. It doesn’t have to be fancy, even a simple notebook would work. Make sure it’s something that is easily accessible from your kitchen. When you want to make Great Aunt Hilda’s meatloaf, make it easy to find.
  3. Jot down a few words about each recipe. A quick memory, a few sentences from a childhood story, something meaningful that you don’t want to forget. Something you can pass along someday. You could even add photos if you want!
  4. Leave space for new recipes. Just because they are meaningful does not mean they have to be old! I treasure the butter cream icing recipe from my best friend’s wedding cake!

Collecting your own recipe heritage starts with you! Invite your memories and relatives that have passed on into the kitchen while you cook. I still love wrapping myself in my grandma’s old apron and mixing up a batch of our favorite sugar cookies. It makes them so much sweeter!

These cookies look fancy, but they are really simple to make when you use the recipe for the perfect sugar cookies for cutouts.

About Emily Louise

Emily is a apron-wearing, camera-wielding, mother and pilots wife who has found her niche in discovering a reason to celebrate every day and enjoying the simple things life has to offer.


  • Those look lovely and yummy!

  • Akaleistar says:

    The cookies are beautiful, and I love the idea about starting a recipe memory collection!

  • Lauren says:

    These are amazing!! My cookies never turn out like that. lol

  • Lizzie says:

    My mum has passed down some great stuff to me, which I know will always come in handy!

  • Michelle says:

    That’s such a great idea! No one in my family was ever much of a cook, except my Dad. I think it’s a great thing to pass down to your children, though – I hope to do that someday w/ mine 🙂

  • Christine says:

    I love the terms you use…recipe heritage and recipe memory collection. I definitely want to pass down my love of cooking for the family down to my children, everything from favorite recipes to aprons and pots! I think we’ll give your sugar cookie recipe a try this week…I just made my oldest son a personalized apron for his bday! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Luci says:

    Aaaaw. So sweet! I have recipes all over from my gram. I wish I had some kind of order to them… It would also be nice to have the desire to bake like the slovak old-country cook she was!

  • Grams says:

    I have put all my recipes in MS Word and rarely print them out. I just take the laptop into the kitchen with me. But, when my son got married, I printed all of them out and put them in a binder for them. They use it often.

    I need to make a similar book for my daughter. I love the idea of hand written notes on recipes. I often make notes in my cookbooks to tweak a recipe or remind myself that I didn’t really like something.

  • Rach says:

    I have a whole book of my mom’s and grandmother’s recipes. They are so precious to me. 🙂

  • Shannon P. says:

    Mmmmmmm. Sugar cookies!!! hehe

  • Your story touched my heart. My Nana dies at age 97 two years ago, and we have so many shared memories inthe kitchen. I use her kitchen tools daily, as well as wear the apron she left in my home when she came to visit. All of my kids have a Nana apron. She also gave me all of her old recipes years before she died, as she knew how I loved her old Jewish grandmother cooking.

    Last year I made a cookbook for my niece when she married. My husband had brought home my late MIL’s recipe box, and in it were recipes from every family member. I found pictures of my niece with these people. If I had no picture, I just uesd one without her. I typed up the recipes, laid out the photos, and copied them at Staples. I put them in an Averye binder.

    It was a keepsake she can always have and use.

    I have a recipe very similar to yours, except I use vanilla not almond extract.

    • I looooved your grandma story as well! How special to have aprons and tools too! The cookbook you made for your niece sounds fantastic! I would love to see a copy! Did you keep a copy for yourself as well??

      • Yes, I kept the masters, as she has two sisters who may marry someday, as well as my own daughters. I wrote and article on Infobarrel.com about it called “How to Create a Family Keepsake Cookbook”. My cousin is engaged, and I plan on making her a scrapbook of our Nana’s recipes, along with photos of her on each page. I like thoughtful gifts!

  • Natalie C. says:

    Hallmark actually makes great binders for recipes- they hold notecards and keep things all nice and organized. Love your pictures! And sugar cookies…. great, now I’m 38 weeks preggo and craving more sugar- ha!

  • Leah says:

    I love this post! Wonderful photos and your family story too. And I do love sugar cookies and am always looking for a good recipe. Thanks!

  • Queen Mum says:

    Sugar cookies hold a place in my heart too. My mother started making jumbo sugar cookies for my father when they were first married. My mother told me stories about how she would have to make them a couple of times a week because he would eat the whole batch in a day or two. Then over the years they turned into holiday sugar cookies decorated with colored butter cream icing. I grew up making them with my brother and sister. Then I started making them at Christmas time with my 3 children. My children are grown now, but my oldest daughter is expecting her first child this year. I’m sure the special decorated sugar cookie will continue with the next generation.

  • How sweet are your memories! And I will def have to try out the recipe! Love sugar cookies!

  • Trish says:

    That is so great that you had a love of cooking from a young age. I sure didn’t! I was pushing 40 before I got into cooking and baking. I’m trying to give my young daughters a love for it now. Can’t wait to check out your blog.

  • I like the pics that you included! I will try out this recipe!

  • Susan Ayers says:

    Your so lucky! I was not lucky enough to have a grandmother that cooked/baked… believe it or not, everything I learned about cooking, I learned from my daddy… I love the pictures though… Those are treasured memories I am sure…

  • Parsley Sage says:

    Family recipes are great. And more than the wonderful food its lovely how they can instantly transport you to childhood 🙂

  • KerrieLynn says:

    Love this, my mom did something similar for me when I got married! I love finding old recipes and vintage cookbooks, so much so that I have a growing collection of cookbooks (both old and new).

    I bet my hubby would love it if I cooked in my undies too!

    Happy Cooking!
    ~KerrieLynn Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
    Blog: KLs Cupboard

  • Jaclyn says:

    This was fun to read. Sugar cookies are my favorite!!! I have a book similar to yours. When I was in preschool the moms all got together and put their family recipes in a book. I love the recipes in there! My mom went through and highlighted the ones from my family. I will be adding your recipe to my list!

  • I love family recipes! Unfortunately many are the kind with no measurements. Or that just don’t seem to be replicated like the original.