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50 Old-School Cookie Recipes Grandma Knew By Heart

Even when Grandma eyeballed the measurements and ad-libbed the steps, her cookies always seemed to come out perfect. Here are the cookie recipes you begged her to write down.

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Vanilla Meringue Cookies

Grandma was a master of the meringue. This meringue cookie is light, airy morsels and the treat to settle a sweets craving. —Jenni Sharp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Homemade Chocolate Shortbread Exps Ucsbz17 8378 C05 05 3b 3

Homemade Chocolate Shortbread

This recipe has been in my files for a long time...probably from when I first learned to bake. Any chocolate lover will like these melt-in-your-mouth cookies. I make them year-round with variations. They're even richer with a thin coat of icing or as a sandwich cookie with frosting in the middle. —Sarah Bueckert, Austin, Manitoba
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Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

My mother insisted that my grandmother write down one recipe for her when Mom got married in 1942: the how to make peanut butter cookies from scratch recipe. That was a real effort because Grandma was a traditional pioneer-type cook who used a little of this or that until it felt right. This treasured recipe is the only one she ever wrote down! —Janet Hall, Clinton, Wisconsin
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Cream Wafers

My sons used to help me make these cookies, and now my oldest granddaughter helps. When the smaller grandchildren are home, they help, too. The cute little sandwich cookies are tender, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth good! —Linda Clinkenbeard, Vincennes, Indiana
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Amish Sugar Cookies

These easy-to-make, old-fashioned sugar cookies simply melt in your mouth! I've passed this recipe around to many friends. After I gave it to my sister, she entered the cookies in a local fair and won best of show. —Sylvia Ford, Kennett, Missouri
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Coconut Washboards

This simple yet satisfying coconut cookie recipe has been around for generations. Pressing a fork into the top gives the look of an old-fashioned washboard. —Tommie Sue Shaw, McAlester, Oklahoma
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Big Soft Ginger Cookies

These nicely spiced, big soft ginger cookies are perfect for folks who like the flavor of ginger but don't care for crunchy gingersnaps. —Barbara Gray, Boise, Idaho
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Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

I packed chocolate chips, raisins, nuts and cinnamon into my oatmeal cookie recipe. These soft
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Scottish Shortbread

Scottish settlers first came to this area over 150 years ago. My mother herself was Scottish, and—as with most of my favorite recipes—she passed this shortbread recipe on to me. I make a triple batch of it each year at Christmas, to enjoy and as gifts. —Rose Mabee, Selkirk, Manitoba
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Buttery Spritz Cookies

This tender spritz cookie recipe is very eye-catching on my Christmas cookie tray. The dough is easy to work with, so it's fun to make these spritz cookies into a variety of festive shapes. This is hands down the best spritz cookie recipe ever. —Beverly Launius, Sandwich, Illinois
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Grandma Krause's Coconut Cookies

When my two daughters were young, their great-grandma made them coconut cookies with oats. Thankfully, she shared the recipe. —Debra Dorn, Dunnellon, Florida
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Butter Cookies

This great butter cookie recipe is a favorite of my nephews, who love the creamy frosting. —Ruth Griggs, South Hill, Virginia
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Double Butterscotch Cookies

This is a very old recipe that's been in the family for generations. Sometimes I'll omit the toffee bits and add miniature chocolate chips or coconut instead. —Beverly Duncan, Lakeville, Ohio
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Chocolate Coconut Neapolitans

These yummy striped cookies with a chocolaty twist are easy and fun to make, but they do need some time in the freezer. —Lena Marie Brownell, Rockland, Massachusetts
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Mom's Buttermilk Cookies

I treasure my mother’s recipe for these comforting cookie pillows. The tender treats are topped with thick frosting and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. —Jane Darling, Simi Valley, California
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Peanut Butter Chippers

The smell of peanut butter and chocolate always brings my cookie-hungry family running to the kitchen. The recipe is so quick and easy, I often stir up a batch while making dinner. —Pat Doerflinger, Centerview, Missouri
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Mexican Wedding Cakes

As part of a Mexican tradition, I tucked these tender cookies into small gift boxes for the guests at my sister's wedding a few years ago. Most folks gobbled them up before they ever got home! —Sarita Johnston, San Antonio, Texas
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Butter Meltaways

Beech Grove, Indiana field editor Sue Call suggests, "Add variety to this recipe by substituting lemon flavoring for the vanilla plus a teaspoon of lemon peel."
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Holiday Rum Balls

I use this recipe for special occasions with my wonderful family and friends. The treats are so easy to make and pack a festive rum punch. — Diane Duschanek, Council Bluffs, Iowa
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Iced Orange Cookies

I usually make these bite-size orange cookies at Christmastime, when oranges in Florida are plentiful, but they're delicious any time of year. Every time I sniff their wonderful aroma, I remember my grandmother, who shared the recipe. —Lori DiPietro, New Port Richey, Florida
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Crisp Sugar Cookies

My grandmother always had sugar cookies in her pantry, and we grandchildren would empty that big jar quickly because they were the best! I now regularly bake these wonderful cookies to share with friends. —Evelyn Poteet, Hancock, Maryland
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Grossmutter's Peppernuts

Before Christmas, my grandmother would bake peppernuts and store them until the big day. When we came home from school, the whole house would smell like anise and we knew the holiday season was about to begin. —Marilyn Kutzli, Clinton, Iowa
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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

My husband loves homemade treats, and these easy peanut butter oatmeal cookies are probably his favorite. The wheat flour and oats give these cookies a distinctive flavor.
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Spritz Cookies

It was a tradition to make these cookies with my grandmother every Christmas. Now our two daughters help me make them for the holidays. —Sharon Claussen, Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Surprise Meringues

These crisp, delicate cookies are light as a feather. Mini chocolate chips and chopped nuts are a delightful and yummy surprise in every bite. Mom knows this fun dessert is a fitting finale to a big meal. —Gloria Grant, Sterling, Illinois
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Anise Icebox Cookies

These crisp, old-fashioned spice cookies are one of my favorite anise recipes to cook up—especially around the holidays. —Sharon Nichols, Brookings, South Dakota
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Great-Grandma's Oatmeal Cookies

Not only is this recipe a favorite of my husband's, it's extra special to me because it goes back to my great-grandmother. For holidays, we like to sprinkle on colored sugar for a festive touch. —Mary Ann Konechne, Kimball, South Dakota
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Black Walnut Cookies

Black walnuts, which have a more distinctive flavor than traditional English walnuts, have a short shelf life. It's best to store them in the freezer. —Doug Black, Conover, North Carolina
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Pizzelle

This recipe was adapted from one that my Italian-born mother and grandmother followed. They used old irons on a gas stove, but now we have the convenience of electric pizzelle irons. These delectable cookies are still a traditional treat in our family. —Elizabeth Schwartz, Trevorton, Pennsylvania
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Nanny's Fruitcake Cookies

My grandmother always made a holiday fruitcake. I turned her recipe into cookies that are perfect anytime, especially with a cup of tea. —Amanda Digges, South Windsor, Connecticut
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Shortbread

I live in Missouri, but many family recipes come from New Zealand where I was born. My parents moved there when I was a year old, so I have a "Down Under" heritage. This easy shortbread recipe brings back warm memories of my childhood, and I'm going to make sure they're passed on to the next generation in my family…no matter where they live! —Allen Swenson, Camdenton, Missouri
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Frosted Anise Sugar Cookies

These soft, cake-like cookies have a pleasant anise flavor that's distinct but not overpowering. I add red and green sprinkles for Christmas, but you could decorate them to suit any occasion.—Janice Eanni, Willowick, Ohio
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Cinnamon Crescents

I've had the recipe for these crispy cinnamon-sugar roll-ups for years. They're one of my family's favorites and so easy to make. We enjoy them at breakfast with a cup of coffee. —Emily Engel, Quill Lake, Saskatchewan
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Icebox Cookies

This cookie recipe from my 91-year-old grandmother was my grandfather's favorite. She still makes them and sends us home with the dough so that we can make more whenever we want, I love to make a fresh batch when company drops in. —Chris Paulsen, Glendale, Arizona
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Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies Exps Thn17 166861 D06 21 5b 5

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Here's proof that peanut butter and chocolate just belong together. These peanut butter blossoms are an easy family favorite and never fail to make my children smile. —Tammie Merrill, Wake Forest, North Carolina
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Buttery Orange Sugar Cookies

My husband's grandmother made a variety of cookies every year for her grandkids at Christmastime. She would box them up and give each child his or her own box. This crisp, orange flavored cookie is one of my favorites from her collection.—Heather McKillip, Aurora, Illinois
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Little Italy Pignoli Cookies

Both of my grandmas came from Italy. Of all the wonderful desserts they made, these cookies were always my family's favorite. Now I make them for every get-together. They are easy and use just five ingredients!
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Lemon Slice Sugar Cookies

These lemon slice cookies are a refreshing variation of my grandmother's sugar cookies. Lemon pudding mix and icing add a subtle tartness that tingles your taste buds. —Melissa Turkington, Camano Island, Washington
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Blackberry Peekaboo Cookies

My grandmother bakes this recipe every year for the holidays. She uses homemade blackberry jam that she makes fresh every summer. These cookies are so delicious! —Jacquie Franklin, Hot Springs, Montana
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Two-Tone Butter Cookies

During the hectic holiday season, you'll appreciate the ease of these irresistible butter cookies from Kathy Kittell of Lenexa, Kansas. It's wonderful to pull the two-tone dough from the freezer and bake a festive batch in no time.
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Oat & Coconut Icebox Cookies

This recipe was passed down through my family from Grandma Irene and is a favorite of my dad and cousin Dennis. It's a true cookie lover's cookie: crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and perfectly dunkable. —Lori Rowe, Tigerton, Wisconsin
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Hazelnut Almond Biscotti

Pour a cup of coffee and indulge! Crisp, crunchy biscotti cookies are perfect for dunking. Hazelnuts and almonds make my favorite version even better. —Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Star Anise-Honey Cookies

When I was growing up, my mother made many desserts and pastries with anise. Today, I continue the tradition with these cookies, which are flavorful and great for decorating in a variety of ways.—Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Chocolate Almond Wafers

When my children were younger, we’d make dozens of cookies and candies each season. Then we’d pack up assortments and deliver them to our friends and family. These wafers were always a favorite. —Phyl Broich-Wessling, Garner, Iowa
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Pistachio Shortbread Sandwiches

We tasted these melt-in-your-mouth morsels at a Christmas party several years ago, and I have since tweaked the recipe to include pistachios. The cookies disappear so quickly at parties, you just might have to watch the plate—and check the kids' pockets! —Lorraine Caland, Shuniah, Ontario
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Nutty Rice Krispie Cookies

My mom and I used to make these treats for Christmas every year. The no-stovetop prep means the kids can help you mix up this easy batch of fun! —Savanna Chapdelaine, Orlando, Florida
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Kourambiethes

My daughter-in-law gave me this recipe. Her grandmother was born in Greece and bakes these cookies for special occasions, including Christmas.—Carol Dale, Greenville, Texas
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Oatmeal Rollout Cookies

For special events, my mother would bring these cookies to the rural school I attended. She decorated each cookie with a student's name written in frosting.—Sally Gores, Almena, Wisconsin
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Baki's Old-World Cookies

My uncles have always called these "cupcake cookies" because of the unique, pretty way they're baked. My maternal grandmother mixed many batches. —Marilyn Louise Riggenbach, Ravenna, Ohio
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Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies

This cookie's always been a favorite with my kids, and a best-seller at bake sales. If you want to gild the lily, you can add toasted chopped walnuts or pecans to the frosting. —Linda Ross, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Nicole Doster
Nicole is a writer, editor and lover of Italian food. In her spare time, you’ll find her thumbing through vintage cookbooks or testing out recipes in her tiny kitchen.

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