Today, we are specifically talking about vintage cookies, a collection of 21 authentic cookie recipes handed down from generation to generation.
Generally, when vintage is used to describe clothes or furniture, it refers to things between 40 and 99 years old.
If something is one hundred years or older, it is considered antique.
I have always thought of vintage as something from a previous generation, but who knows how accurate that conclusion is?
Of course, vintage also has meaning when discussing grape harvesting and wine making, which is a discussion for another day.
On the shorter side of things, it can be considered classic if something has been around twenty years!
Vintage cookie recipes are typically handed down through family members.
There are often strong emotions connected with them because of the memories made while baking the cookies with family and friends.
The vintage Christmas cookies are definitely “tried and true” because they were made every single year in celebration of the holiday!
There are a few decorated vintage cookies but not nearly as many as today, with sugar packaged in various forms and in such vast supply.
Vintage chocolate chip cookies and vintage sugar cookies are perhaps the most popular, with many different variations of them floating around.
If, in looking through your recipe collection, you have some vintage recipes with measurements not commonly used or ambiguous temperatures like “moderate oven,” this post may prove very helpful for interpreting them!
I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane, as I am sure you are familiar with more than a few of the vintage cookies on this list!
PS: Check out the link from Bartleby at the very bottom with lots of vintage cookie recipes from Fannie Farmer in 1918, too!!
The oldest known vintage cookies would be pizzelles, or wafer cookies, originating in Italy perhaps as early as the eighth century.
They are thin waffle-style cookies for special occasions and are made with a pizzelle iron, similar to a waffle maker.
Pizzelles are made with only a few ingredients: eggs, sugar, flour, oil, and anise.
The best tip is to lay them flat in a single layer after cooking to air dry for a couple of hours!
Chocolate ones can be made with a little less flour and unsweetened cocoa powder.
This recipe for vintage cookies comes from the 1940s during WWII when food rationing was in place.
The main ingredients for these soft peanut drop cookies are butter, honey, egg, flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and peanuts.
It does need time to chill before baking.
If peanuts are not your preference, dried cranberries or chocolate chips are equally tasty substitutes.
The recipe makes four dozen, so that you could do some of each!
This recipe is handwritten on a notecard and references the Robert Show Cookbook of 1936.
Many vintage cookie recipes are handwritten, adding to the nostalgia, especially as cursive writing is not as widely taught or used anymore.
These cookies’ ingredients are combined, rolled out, cut, and coated with egg and colored sugar.
It seems they would fit almost any need or holiday!
Vintage Christmas cookies with backstory are always intriguing.
This regionally made German cookie called Clutzens seems to have surfaced in Anamosa, Iowa.
Sometimes simple cookies like these can be found in small areas and do not necessarily have a wide reach but are treasured among families.
The ingredients are similar to pizzelles with the added ingredients of butter, lard (rendered and clarified pork fat), evaporated milk, and baking powder.
They can be baked less to be soft or more to be crispy.
Ah, the creme de la creme of vintage chocolate chip cookies, the original Toll House cookie!
Probably the most famous chocolate chip recipe of all time, which began in 1939.
Ruth Wakefield created them in the Toll House Inn in New England!
Gotta love the positive marketing of the good old days.
This was when the “chips” still had to be broken apart from chocolate bars.
These hermit vintage cookies strike me as the perfect example of how to use fruit to sweeten a recipe.
They are generally accepted to have come from the 1800s and may be referred to as raisin cookies if no dates are used.
This recipe uses a warm spice profile of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, raisins, and chopped dates.
A smidge of the unusual with sour milk, so have a little vinegar on hand to do that, and some comments said they remembered the recipe with black coffee as an ingredient.
There is a reason why butter vintage sugar cookies recipes are the gold standard!
So many recipes have been developed from them like these snickerdoodles!
Who loves the cinnamon sugar coating as much as me?
This Grandma’s recipe includes butter, white sugar, eggs, flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
The instructions include chilling the dough before scooping into balls and rolling in the sugar and cinnamon mix for baking.
Quaker Oats has their own branded vintage cookies recipe that was released on its Quaker Oats box in 1955 for none other than oatmeal cookies!
These easy drop cookies are familiar, and their slight chewiness is comforting no matter how old you are!
Nothing fancy, just delicious!
Indeed, you could include a variety of creative add-ins like coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, or raisins.
Gingerbread decorated vintage cookies belong on this list!
This recipe combines two printings from 1866 and 1868 from Mrs. Winslow’s Domestic Recipe Book.
They set themself apart with the blend of spice seasonings and molasses.
The icing recipe includes powdered sugar, vanilla extract, maple syrup (optional), and water.
The thickness you roll them out to will determine their size after baking.
Another one of a Grandma made and passed down vintage cookie recipes here with these Valencia delights.
This one is unique because the author created this recipe with her Grandmother!
The combination of orange flavor from the grated peel in the batter with half the cookie dipped in semi-sweet chocolate was fantastic!
11. Fig Newton
Charles M. Roser from Ohio created a Fig Newton vintage cookie.
He sold the recipe to the company now Nabisco, and production of it began in 1891.
These can be made with fresh or dried figs, although the recipes are slightly different.
At home, the cookie dough is rolled out and the fig filling blended in a food processor, making a thick paste.
Then assemble and bake!
The time invested is worth the effort!
Betty Crocker has vintage chocolate chip cookies recipes in her cookbook as well.
This recipe comes from the 1969 cookbook in their “Heirloom Recipes” collection.
The original picture of the page from the cookbook is included.
The recipe uses shortening and butter, white and brown sugar, nuts, and chocolate “pieces.”
Hard to believe a recipe could make SEVEN dozen cookies!
Versions of vintage sugar cookie recipes are believed to have originated and been circulated in the 1700s by the Amish or Pennsylvania Dutch folks.
In examining this ingredient list, it is no wonder they are amazing!
They include oil and butter, as well as granulated and powdered sugar!
Cream of tartar may not be in your cabinet, so lemon juice or white vinegar are easy substitutions.
It is incredible that people have enjoyed these for hundreds of years!
Another Grandma can be thanked for these vintage cookies called ranger cookies.
It is definitely different from old-fashioned oats, flaked coconut, and Rice Krispies.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Rice Krispies in cookies before, so this is interesting.
There is a Ranger cookie recipe that was published in 1935, and Rice Krispie cereal was started in 1928.
So, there is a good bit of history here.
They are drop cookies with a very complex texture.
Vintage Christmas cookies come from all corners of the world!
The springerle cookies hail from Bavaria and Austria, with recipes that date back to the 1600s.
They are made of egg, flour, butter, and sugar with anise as the flavor.
They can be made in many shapes, but often they were imprinted with images from specially carved springerle rolling pins or press boards.
There is quite the evolution of pictures on those rolling pins, from Biblical scenes to holidays to everyday life.
Decorated vintage cookies are gorgeous and delicious!
This recipe was handed down through several family generations.
The cookie recipe includes butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, flour, and baking powder.
The frosting comprises powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and butter.
The combination is phenomenal!
These can be as fancy or simple as you like!
Sometimes vintage cookie recipes can be found in unusual places.
In this case, this pineapple cookie recipe was printed in a Rochester Gas & Electric home service booklet.
Many of these booklets were published in the 1960s and 1970s as a marketing arm for new services or products.
These cookies are soft and fluffy with a hint of tropical.
The icing glaze is that little something extra.
I am a big fan of butterscotch, and I knew I would find vintage cookies that used it in my search.
Butterscotch chips became widely available in 1960, so the recipe had to include the ingredients to create the flavor.
Here I present a butterscotch icebox cookie recipe from 1936.
The dough is kept chilled until needed and then sliced and baked!
The smell and taste will win everyone over!
Rumford Baking Powder company ran an ad in the newspaper in the 1940s during the sugar rationing for cookies sweetened with honey.
This recipe of cranberry honey walnut drops was one of the entries that now fall under vintage cookies!
This recipe reprint added maple syrup, chopped cranberries, and walnuts.
This post is a collection of original handwritten vintage Christmas cookie recipes from antique shops, estate sales, or donations.
You can click on each one for a typed-up format of each recipe.
I want to highlight the second recipe titled “Sandies.”
Many names call these cookies, but in the end, they are all varying shortbread cookie versions rolled in powdered sugar.
Here I found a treasure trove of a list of vintage cookies, gingerbreads, and wafers from The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook titled “Fannie Farmer Cookbook,” with many printings beginning in 1896.
This page has no particular format, but it lists forty-nine recipes with sparse instructions for a charming back-to-basics read.
Chocolate Fruit cookies, entry number 34, caught my eye with ingredients listed as seeded raisins and finely chopped nut meats.
The bottom line
The word vintage brings to mind many things.
When nostalgia takes over, and you want to enjoy or serve vintage cookies that you had as a kid or that you remember watching Grandma make, this list can help!
Oh, and here’s a bonus: during research, I came across this incredible list of “Gingerbreads, Cookies, and Wafers” from The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, featuring Fannie Farmer on Bartleby.com.
From Fairy Gingerbread to Spice Cookies to Jelly Jumbles, this is one long list of incredible vintage cookie recipes, written simply, but wow, what an authentic look back to 1918.
(Take a peek at the whole cookbook here.)
- Pizzelle Della Nonna
- Grandma’s War Time Peanut Drop Cookies
- Sour Cream Cookie
- Original Toll House Cookie
- Classic Hermit Cookies
- Grandma’s Snickerdoodles
- Quaker Famous Oatmeal Cookies
- Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cookie
- Valencia Delights
- Fig Newton
- Heirloom Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Amish Sugar Cookies
- Grandma’s Ranger Cookies
- Springerle Cookies
- Old-Fashioned Frosted Butter Cookies
- Vintage RG&E Pineapple Cookies
- Butterscotch Icebox Cookies
- Cranberry–Honey Walnut Drops
- Traditional Christmas Cookies
- Chocolate Fruit Cookies & More
- Find your favorite recipe from our Vintage Cookies list.
- Gather all the ingredients needed.
- Start baking and make us proud!