Millie Gaul’s Amish Sugar Cookies

On Tuesday we had a fun celebration party for some friends of ours. You can read all about the dinner menu on posts from earlier this week. Today’s post is about the fabulous sugar cookies pictured above. Tomorrow I will be sharing the recipes for the two sorbets, Strawberry Citrus Sorbet and Coconut-Lime Sorbet.

You might be wondering who in the world Millie Gaul is. I have to admit that I honestly don’t know but I feel she has been a part of our family for many years.  And I bet that she is/was a sweetheart! Anyone who would have cookies as wonderful as these named after them would have to be quite a gem!

I clipped this recipe from a newspaper back in the 80’s and these cookies have been present at special family gatherings over the years. I’m not sure why I first tried them because I remember thinking that the recipe was a bit strange. The unusual ingredient list called for butter and vegetable oil. I thought that would make them greasy and yucky. Boy, was wrong. They are absolutely delicious and they literally melt in you mouth!

Unadorned, they do not look particularly spectacular, but don’t be fooled!  Usually after taking the first nibble, the comment “Oh my goodness!!” is the common response.  As you will see in the pictures below, this little plain jane cookie can be dressed up to look quite special. I sometimes glaze them with a super easy lemon frosting and then just drizzle a bit of decoration icing on top of the glaze. I am definitely not a fancy-dancy cookie decorator, as you can see, but I have had fun coming up with simple new looks.
I made these for Valentine’s Day this year.
I call these cookies “A Hint of Spring” – I took a bike ride one cool crisp late winter day.  The sweet melody of the birds, the sight of tiny buds on the dead-looking tree branches  and the way the air “smelled” that day gave me hope that, yes, spring would be visiting us again this year! When I got home I was inspired to make these cookies!
They are easy to make – just take a bit of time as the dough needs to be refrigerated for several hours before baking . Your house will smell amazing as they bake and they certainly won’t last in the cookie jar for long – especially if my husband is in the house. Did you know that he can open any, I mean any, cookie jar without making a sound? But that’s a story for another time…….. 🙂
Millie Gaul’s Amish Sugar Cookies
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In mixing bowl, cream the sugars and the butter. Mix in egg and set aside. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and cream of tartar. Add the oil and the flour mixture alternately to creamed sugars, mixing after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Cover and chill in refrigerator three to four hours or overnight. (If I am in a big hurry, which is most of the time, I just stick the dough in the freezer for about 30 minutes and then proceed with recipe.)

2. Roll dough into small balls, 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Place on cookies sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and flatten with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar. (I have always had a problem in the past with the dough sticking to the bottom of the glass. I finally figured out a great trick – I place a small piece of parchment paper on top of the ball of dough, then flatten with the glass and there is no sticking – YEH!) 

3. Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

Lemon Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Whisk together the sugar and the lemon juice until smooth. Spread onto cookies to edges. Place cookies on cooling rack to allow excess icing to drip off.

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