Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sugar Cookies from the Good and Easy Cookbook

Some days, you just need to bake cookies.  This was one of those days, and the cookies were sugar cookies from a classic recipe in Betty Crocker's Good and Easy Cookbook.  My copy, which I found at an estate sale, is a 1954 first edition (fourth printing).  

I remember the recipe from when I was little, because my mom had the same cookbook.  By the time I got old enough to cook, Mom's copy of the Good and Easy Cookbook was falling apart.  But the recipe was still intact, and we made these cookies dozens of times when I was a kid.  

Stir-N-Drop Sugar Cookies

2 eggs
2/3 cup cooking (salad) oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated lemon rind
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Beat eggs; stir in oil, vanilla, lemon rind.  Blend in sugar until mixture thickens.  Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and stir into oil mixture.  
Drop with teaspoon 2" apart on ungreased baking sheet.   
Flatten with a greased glass dipped in sugar.  
Bake 8-10 minutes, just until a delicate brown.  
Remove immediately from baking sheet.

There was also a picture of how to flatten the cookies with the greased bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, inside the book.

My estate sale copy of the Cookbook is in pretty good shape for being 60 years old.  

I imagine that many women (and maybe a few men) owned the Good and Easy Cookbook in the post-World War II era.  It gave suggestions for "1000 time-saving, taste-tempting recipes and hints for busy modern homemakers."  Some of the hints were suggested menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You'd never see a recipe encouraging you
to serve a drink made with raw eggs in the early 21st century.
The idea of serving strawberry shortcake 

for breakfast is still appealing, though!
I often find mid-century cookbooks at estate sales, and most of them have one thing in common: photographs of strangely-colored food -- or do I mean strangely-colored photographs of food?  Whether the pictures develop a sort of olive green complexion over time, or the four-color printing process back then wasn't very good, the end result is sometimes sort of odd.

If you can find a copy of this old cookbook, I encourage you to take a look inside.  There are lots of good classic recipes, as well as a few that really don't stand the test of time very well. The Good and Easy Cookbook is also a time capsule, showing us what kinds of "frozen, canned and ready-mixed foods" made cooking easier for the mid-century family.

Having made the sugar cookies, I needed to find a place to store them.  I got out a classic covered glass dish by Anchor Hocking (which I also found at an estate sale) to go with my classic-recipe cookies.

The whole batch of cookies fits nicely inside the storage container.  And the heavy,clear glass lid fits neatly on top to help keep the cookies fresh until it's time for dessert.

We'll talk more about vintage Anchor Hocking glass products in a future blog post.

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