An Old Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe

I didn’t get my holidays mixed up. Fuzz needed something edible and red for a school project and the first thing that came to mind was a batch of heart shaped cut-out cookies. In hindsight, I could have made red circles and called them “Rudolph Noses”, but that might have led to a conversation about whether Santa is real and that’s not a conversation I want to get into with a bunch of ten year olds. Of course Santa is real! Stop asking!

Cut Out Cookie Hearts

So It’s probably good I did hearts, but you can use this new cut-out dough for any shape you want.

This recipe was sent to me by my friend Linda who has used it for years. It’s from an old publication called “Everyone Likes Cookies” put out by the Rochester (New York) Gas and Electric, Home Service Department in (we suspect) the early ’60s. The cookies are not too sweet, very light, very brown, and the perfect vehicle for holding lots of frosting.

5.0 from 2 reviews
An Old Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A cut-out sugar cookie recipe
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 40
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 4 cups (18 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or reduced fat milk with a teaspoon of cream mixed in
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla plus a little almond extract if desired
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Have ready two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cut the shortening into the flour. I did this by hand, but you could probably use a food processor. Add the salt and stir well.
  3. Combine the eggs and sugar in a second bowl and beat well – I did this with a hand-held mixer.
  4. Combine the milk, vanilla and baking soda in a small cup.
  5. Add the egg mixture and the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until it’s all blended and you have a dough. At this point I chilled mine for about half an hour, but the recipe doesn’t say you have to.
  6. On a floured surface, roll a half or a quarter (I never roll it all at once) into a ¼ inch thick slab and cut out shapes. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until your cookies are golden brown (these get quite brown) and appear set. Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.
  7. Ice with royal frosting or butter cream.
Yield will vary, but a half batch gave me about 20 2-inch hearts. Linda has made this recipe with various ratios of shortening to butter and believes that the all-shortening version gives the best texture. If you like the flavor of Butter Flavored Crisco, you could try using that, but I thought the vanilla and almond were flavorful enough and didn't miss the butter flavor. Besides, you could put a lot of butter in the frosting. These cookies really do need a frosting of some sort.

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  1. says

    They look terrific. Amusingly up until last Christmas all I had were heart shaped cookie cutters for some reason :). I typically don’t do many cut out cookies, but this year I really wanted to do some traditional sugar cookies (Secret Ingredient still reigns supreme) and some Gingerbread :). Though, I doubt I could ever pull the icing off on these :).

  2. Linda says

    Anna, these look beautiful! I hope Emma and her school mates liked them, and hope the Cookie Madness readers like them, too!

  3. Jen says

    These look great. I, took am thinking of doing cut-out cookies this year. What frosting did you use?

  4. says

    Jen, I just used a basic royal frosting. There are so many recipes out there it’s probably best to just Google one that has a lot of good reviews. I don’t really measure when I make royal frosting.

  5. says

    And here I thought I’d be the only one in the blogosphere to be posting heart-shaped sugar cookies in December! What are we going to post when Valentine’s Day rolls around? 🙂

  6. nancy baggett says

    Your cookies are cute–I’m sure they were a hit. If you’d had a red bird or bell cutter, you could have been “holidayish.” too. If you are in the mood for some more seasonal sugar cookies, do take a look at my latest post. I’ve got some really eye-catching ones (including a bell and red bird and reindeer) that are actually rather easy. Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  7. debbie k says

    My father worked at the RG&E for thirty-one years, and the recepie book came out every year for this
    cookie recepie. (and still does) This is my favorite cut-out cookie recepie, and it’s not just for the holidays anymore. Many friends, family and collegues have asked for the recepie over the years, and I am always happy to share.

  8. phoebe alexander says

    In the early 70s They gave these cook books out free…….for years I made this recipe from my lil cook book…….I moved and some how my lil book got lost,for the past few years,I’ve tried other cutout recipes.just not the same !….By chance I typed the gas company cookie cutouts………thank you for posting…..One happy Gramma !

  9. Linda says

    This is the recipe I have used, I got it from RGE when I was in high school! Every year, I make these. When my children were growing up it was a tradition to decorate these- what a mess we made! Fond memories!! I substitute butter for part of the shortening, but you have to watch closely as they brown quickly. Thank you for posting this!!

  10. says

    Linda, how funny! We should just name these “Linda” cookies since it’s the recipe you use AND I got it from another Linda. I think I’ll make a batch this year with half butter and half shortening.

  11. Linda says

    Hi Anna, thanks for including this recipe in your “last minute food gifts”! Also glad to see that brings back good memories for other Rochestarians. Happy holidays to you and your family! Thanks for all your good work, I use your website and cook book so much.

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