Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sugary Thankfuls

I started this week's Ten Things of Thankful post, and you'll be happy to know that I chucked it, because you would have died of boredom before you got to the end. I probably would have died of boredom before I even GOT to the end.

Then I was making cookies this evening, and not just any cookies, but an old family recipe that are a tradition in our family on Thanksgiving. They are big and cakey and have sugar sprinkled over the tops, and my extended family finds them heavenly.

My great aunt Edith (called "Ecie" by all of the cousins) got the recipe from a neighbor, and my mom grew up calling them "Josie Barth's sugar cookies." We call them "Ecie's sugar cookies." 

Here are the reasons why I'm thankful for these cookies:

My great aunt Ecie and her younger sister Daisy were like grandparents to me. I've written about them before, but suffice it to say, when visiting them, my brother and I never heard the word "no." Ecie always made the cookies when we came to spend the weekend.

Ecie, on the left, and Daisy, ca. 1973

The recipe has been in the family since probably the early 1940s.

I have Ecie's cookie cutter.

My cousins shout with joy when we get together and I bring the cookies.

I taught my cousin Delaney how to make them. It may not seem to you that making cookies is that complicated, but when I tell you there are two CUPS of buttermilk in them, you might then see why they might require training to make.

When the Great Stomach Plague went through the family last Thanksgiving while at my brother's house, my dad was the first one to bite the dust. When he finally returned to the side of the living, the first thing he wanted to eat was one of Ecie's sugar cookies.

The recipe yields about 7 dozen VERY LARGE cookies. You can feed a lot of people on that.

They leave your lips dusted with sugar.

Folks outside the family, or new to the family, don't always have a taste for them, leaving more for the ones who do!

Eating them reminds me of loved ones, both here and gone, and that makes me feel warm and sweet and tender, just like an Ecie's sugar cookie.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Stay safe! 

Ecie's Sugar Cookies

3 c. sugar

2 c. shortening (part butter)

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. buttermilk

1 tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

4 c. flour or enough to make a dough* 

Cream sugar and shortening. Add egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. I use my Kitchenaid mixer. My great aunt used a wooden spoon, a very large bowl, and muscles I don't even possess.

Refrigerate at least an hour before rolling out and cutting with cookie cutter.

*It will take a minimum of 6 cups of flour to get past the liquid stage, or as my mom's friend Betty said when she once tried to make them and called my mom in a panic, "I have SOUP!"

Flour the work surface thoroughly and work more flour into the dough before attempting to roll them out. All in all, you're probably talking 8 cups of flour.

Sprinkle each with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes for a cookie that's 4" across. Makes about 7 dozen cookies of this size. Not kidding.

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  1. am late with my commentationing, all the change in the universe no doubt*

    I got my post in early, so I suppose it only makes sense that I make the rounds late, well, it makes sense in my head (no, not a place you want to imagine)

    sugar cookies, huh? remember them mostly for the crystalline sugar on the top (fairly dense matter underneath, not at all pillowy, at least not in my memory)

    *sorry, as I note in a post this week, random and unpredictable change is not a favorite of your people

    1. Oh, my cookies are pillowy soft goodness! And you are correct. I do not like random and unpredictable change!

  2. Those cookies look delicious! Thanks for including the recipe. I'll have to try making those at least once when I am able to have a houseful of people here to help eat them.

    1. If you do, you'll have to tell me how they turn out! I wanted to send them to my brother since we couldn't be together this year, but they are too delicate to ship.

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