The Sugar Cookie Experiment: Recipe #1

The Sugar Cookie Experiment

Recipe #1: Grandma DeMayo’s Sugar Cookie

Labor Day was this past week, which means summer is now waving goodbye and fall is smugly grinning hello. Meanwhile, I began my hunt for the sugar cookie recipe that tops the rest with my 8 weeks of baking, known as the Sugar Cookie Experiment. In my baking files, aka my kitchen drawer, I hold several recipes, which have been shared with me by loved ones and friends, as well as, a few famous renowned recipes that I’m hoping live up to their hype.

Get your Aprons Ready

Our first homemade cookie is from my Great Grandmother, Mary DeMayo. She was a go-getter from Sicily, who moved to New York when she was a child. I’m not sure how she obtained this exact recipe, but I hold warm memories in my heart of her cookies. Specifically, this cookie. They were ALWAYS begging my name in a mustard-yellow cookie jar that sat on her kitchen counter; I ALWAYS was allowed one after school when my grandma and I would hang out in the evening.

sugar cookie
The magic envelope passed to me from my grandmother with unreadable recipes was like decoding cursive hieroglyphics.

Before her cookies hardened, my Grandma DeMayo used to drizzle light, dusty, colored sprinkles on top. Ya know, the sugar plum crystallized looking kind? One week in her ceramic jar would be pink sprinkled cookies. Next, it would be green sprinkles. She only used those two colors and the mystery of which one I would randomly pick made me smile every time.

Now, she passed away only 5 years ago, when she was 94, and for some reason, I have zero memory of even eating these cookies after childhood. Until…….my grandma gives me the worn envelope of barely readable recipe cards she’s saved from our family. I felt so honored I got to keep the originals. After some heavy duty squinting and cursive decoding, I figured out how to make these.

Here now I can focus on the results of my 5 key points as stated in my first blog entry guidelines.

  1. ingredients
  2. texture
  3. consistency
  4. flavor
  5. overall taste

Scorecard of Grandma DeMayo’s Cookie

  1. Some of the ingredients were old school buttery options I would probably never use now. I mean, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t butter! (ha!). But, what did people know back then about substitution options anyways? I won’t hold it against a recipe for fill-ins. Also, I used cream of tartar in this recipe. Other recipes don’t call for it but many sugar cookies do. What are your thoughts on using it in your cookie recipes?
  2. The texture is exactly what I was aiming for. Fluffy and puffy in the center and super delicate crunch on the outside. Win.

    sugar cookie
    Flattened with a sugar coated glass bottom, the dough was consistent throughout.
  3. The consistency was steady, however, I may have added a bit too much butter or oil. My cookies came out a tad greasier than I wanted. And I mean, a smidge of a tad too greasy. If I were to bake them again, I’m sure I would nail the recipe perfectly.
  4. Goals of flavor were definitely what I wanted. This one tasted of buttery vanilla. The recipe calls for light rolling in sugar before baking, so I had a few taste testers who said it was too sweet for them. I loved it with and without the rolled sugar, therefore, leaving that up for personal preference.
  5. Overall, I love this nostalgic and bakeable recipe. I completely place it in the Christmas Cookie category. The flavor and homey coziness vibes are just what I’m looking for, while its taste is irreplaceable and unique, which I love. However, it screams holidays and it doesn’t go well with frosting.

sugar cookie
Shimmering with sugar sparkle, I didn’t add the colored sprinkles my Great Grandma used to coat, I’m saving that for Christmas.

No joke, biting into this cookie felt like I was standing in my Great Grandma’s kitchen, watching her watch me eat the cookie. I guess that’s the best part about baking and the warmth behind recipes. They’re the symbols of love and memories. The good times you had with the people you shared your best moments with.

I’ll continue to bake this for years on and on and I’m proud I took a chance at even trying to compare to Mary DeMayo.

Check back next week for mystery recipe #2. It’s too bad you can’t sample taste test through the computer. Maybe one day. (pondering face emoji).



Meanwhile…. Bake on Bookies!

Love, Meg