RECIPE: My Nana's Frosted Vanilla Cookies

This past Monday (January 11th) marks 15 years since my Nana passed away. Recently, I found myself thinking of her quite a bit in recent weeks as she always made the holidays such a gourmet delight - she was an AMAZING cook. Every Christmas, she would make these simple, yet tasty frosted cookies, that all of the granddaughters (there were six of us) would have consumed in a few hours.

After she passed I was afraid the recipe was lost forever as I had no idea what the cookies were called. Frankly, I think it was just a recipe she came up with one day. Fortunately, my mom wrote it down on a recipe card and discovered it a few months ago.

This week I baked a batch to remember my Nana, and I think she would be proud of my effort. I don't ever want this recipe to be lost in the cyber world again so here is her recipie for these basic frosted cookies. Bake a batch and share them with those you love!

From the Kitchen of Martha Leo:

Frosted Vanilla Cookies (1/2 batch)


3 Eggs (room temperature)

1/2 Cup Butter-Flavored Crisco

1/4 Cup Milk

3/4 Cup Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 - 3 Cups Flour

1 Teaspoon Lemon or Orange Extract (optional)

Sprinkles (optional)

Frosting (depending on batch size)

1 Cup Confectioners’ sugar

1 Cup Evaporated milk

Pinch of Salt

1 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter


  1. Cream the sugar, Crisco, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, and optional lemon/orange extract with an electric mixer

  2. Add all three eggs, well beaten before added

  3. Add the milk last

  4. Work the rest of the time with your hands, and slowly add flour until the dough is soft and can be shaped easily

  5. Pull small amount and roll into balls about the size of a golf ball

  6. Place balls on a baking sheet and place in the freezer or fridge for a half hour - this will help them hold the shape and prevent them from flattening out in the oven

  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 177 degrees Celsius)

  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly golden

  9. Remove from the oven and let cool

  10. For the frosting, mix equal parts confectioners’ sugar and evaporated milk, along with a little salt and tablespoon of unsalted butter, in a bowl. Combine until the consistency is a bit like toothpaste. If the mixture is too stiff, add more evaporated milk. If the mixture is too runny, add more sugar.

  11. Divide frosting into separate bowls and add 1-2 drops of food coloring depending on how many colors you plan to make. (Note: Nana's were always pink and green for Christmas time.)

  12. Spread frosting on each cookie, add sprinkles (optional) and let sit until frosting has had a chance to harden

  13. Enjoy!

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