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grandma vera’s sugar cookies

When my sister and I were little, we would always leave Santa a hearty snack. Scratch that, Santa got a full meal from the Nelson girls. Per Dad’s advice, we always left a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a couple of from 3 to 6 Christmas cookies, a tall glass of milk, and some carrots for the reindeer (because you cannot forget the reindeer).


You can’t leave Santa any old Christmas cookies. Dad also told us that Santa’s favorite cookies were Grandma Vera’s Sugar Cookies.  While I never questioned how Dad knew all of Santa’s favorite things, I did agree with Santa that my favorite cookies were Grandma Vera’s, too. These are my grandmother’s take on traditional sugar cookies, with hints of nutmeg and vanilla and homemade frosting.

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We have made these cookies for as long as I can remember, no matter where we are for the holidays (you better believe the cookie cutters traveled with us to Hawaii Christmas of 2007), no matter the occasion my mom is known to send a big box of pink hearts around Valentine’s Day) and in all shapes and sizes (we stick to our traditional guns—Christmas trees, stars and bells, but have been known to create Christmas cacti, the USA, maybe a Texas Longhorn or two). It’s still unclear why we have or where we procured a United States cookie cutter. From my family to yours,


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

photo 11

grandma vera's sugar cookies

grandma vera's sugar cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • For the dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • For the frosting:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • Whipping cream (you gotta eyeball it, not too much so it becomes runny)
  • Vanilla (to taste)


  • Cream together the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and whipping cream.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking power, salt and nutmeg (I have also just combined these in a bowl without sifting and the cookies turn out just fine).
  • Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed sugar and butter mixture (a stand mixer helps!)
  • Wrap dough in aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight (if you can't refrigerate overnight, that's ok! Give it at least 2 hours in the fridge)
  • Roll dough out until thin. Use lots of flour as the dough can be sticky (I usually make a huge mess!). Use your favorite shapes to cut out cookies, and place on cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • While the cookies are baking I usually make the frosting.
  • Beat ingredients together. Slowly add whipping cream until you get a creamy, thick consistency (you don’t want the frosting to be too runny). Add the vanilla last; I usually taste until I get a good flavor.
  • Then separate the frosting into different bowls, and add food coloring (we’ve had blue, yellow and even purple cookies before).
  • Frost cookies once they are cool.
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