Amish Cookies

This is the face of a monster.


This is a face that destroys on a whim.


This is a face that -without pause- devastates the entire population…

Of cookie jars.

This is my cookie monster baby.

Allow me to illustrate.  The Evil Genius and I went to Houston before Christmas and the boys’ soon-to-be-nominated-for-sainthood Nana (a.k.a. My Mom) babysat the entire mini-horde.  My Mom is fun.  All kinds of fun.  Proof?  This is her just last month.

That’s right.  That’s MY mom, on the climbing wall of a playground, wearing a skirt and cotton shoes.  I told you she was all kinds of fun.

But I was telling you about the cookie monster.

Nana had plans for these boys.  They were going to sled, camp in the living room, hike through the snow, play board games, make glue and poster board collages, eat homemade pizza, go to her favorite coffee house,watch movies, make Christmas ornaments and decorate Christmas cookies while having a frosting war.* And they were going to accomplish this in three days.  Did I mention my mom is fun?

*A frosting war is a Christmas tradition started by my mom wherein she flings frosting at the children and they fling it back at her.  It involves a great amount of butter, laughter, sugar and paper towels.

The time came for the Christmas cookies.  According to reports, the boys all enthusiastically decorated a double batch of sugar cookies shaped like trees, bells, gingerbread men and whatnot.  When the job was done and the cookies were stacked to be nibbled after dinner, the whole company retired to the living room to fulfill the ‘watching movies’ portion of the programme.

Forty-five minutes into the movie, Liam asked, “Where’s Leif?”

Leif was discovered in the kitchen with a plate empty of cookies (save one), sticky fingers and a smile that stretched from the tip of one pink ear to the other.  And a fierce sugar buzz.  Leif killed the Christmas cookies.

Today’s cookie recipe is one that I watched my Grandma make hundreds of times at the camp where I lived as a child.* Hey.  My Grandma is fun, too.  (My Mom learned from the best, you know.) I ate my way through more of these cookies than I could ever count as a kid and I’m still in love with them.

*Lake Louise United Methodist Camp.  Shout out to Boyne Falls, Michigan!

I’m not sure why these were called Amish Cookies but I have a guess.  They make abundant use of humble ingredients to turn out a cookie that manages to be  delicately caramel flavored, crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and surprisingly sturdy all at the same time..  These cookies don’t fall apart when you dunk them in a tall glass of cold milk.  And they hold together beautifully when crammed into my apron pockets for stolen bites when the kids aren’t looking.  I do believe these are the perfect cookies.

The recipe, as written by my Grandma, suggests chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, chopped dates, coconut and other goodies as stir-ins.  Around these parts, I split the cookie dough into two bowls and stir raisins into one half and chocolate chips into the other.  This makes everyone happy; including the cookie monster.

And if I find that I’ve let down my guard and left the room before securing the cookies I don’t panic.  If my little monster eats his way through a cooling rack of these, at least I’ll have snuck some fruit and oats into him.

For a printer-friendly, photo-free, just-the-facts version of this recipe, click here!

Amish Cookies

Adapted from my Grandma Shaffer’s Lake Louise Amish Cookies recipe.


  • 3/4 cup softened butter (6 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil or shortening (6 ounces)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (14 ounces by weight)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3- 1/2 cups all purpose flour (15 ounces by weight)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda (not a misprint!)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder (also not a misprint!)
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (Don’t forget, you can make your own!)
  • Optional: 1 -1/2 cups of any of the following ingredients: chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, coconut, chopped dates, dried cherries, or chocolate chunks.

Preheat oven to  350°F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, and coconut oil or shortening on low speed until they the sugar starts combining with the fat.  Turn the mixer to medium high speed and whip until the mixture is fluffy and the sugar is completely distributed.

Add the egg, molasses and vanilla extract to the butter and beat on medium speed until even.

In a separate bowl, use a whisk to combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and powder, and the rolled oats.  Add this to the butter mixture along with the buttermilk and beat until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the optional goodies.

On a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet, drop generously rounded tablespoons of the cookie dough three inches apart. Form the cookie dough into balls.

Use a flat bottomed drinking glass dipped in sugar to gently flatten the cookie dough.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the bottoms and edges of the cookies are lightly browned and the cookies are set. Allow cookies to rest on the cookie sheets for one minute before transferring to a cooling rack.  Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

…And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t leave this little guy in the room alone with a batch of these cookies…


  1. Shelly says

    I was looking for a new cookie recipe to make with my daughter when I stumbled upon this one, Oh my goodness they are amazing. they taste like cookies I get from a local bakery, but now I can bake them myself and save the $2.50 they charge per cookie. Thank You!!!

    • Rebecca says

      Janel- You do need to make these. Urgently.

      Shelly- Oooh, I helped you stick it to the man? Bonus! I live for making things at home better than I can buy them!

  2. says

    I found you by being a member of Tasty Kitchen, but I love your blog and your recipes! And my mom, who is 95, loves all books Amish! She still loves to read and Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter (sp!) are her favorite authors, although I have no idea if they portray anything “real” about the Amish. One of my favorite artists, Pat Buckley Moss is also a lover of Amish and Mennonite cultures….um, I guess I’m just rambling!! Thanks for giving us so many down to earth and wonderful recipes here.

  3. says

    My husband would LOVE these! Great recipe – love your site! Pssst…I am a former Flint, Michigan resident transplanted to Oklahoma…love Traverse City! Go Blue!

  4. Traci says

    I can’t wait to try these! I have a few cookie monsters lurking around the kitchen here. I’m sure they’ll love them. I was born and raised in Elk Rapids – later lived in the UP and now in GR – I love your stories about those places I grew up around. :)

  5. DeeDee says

    These have become my go-to cookie. Endlessly adaptable to whatever goodies I have on hand (right now heath bars, cranberries and dark choc. chips.)

    I also just noticed this was tagged as a breakfast food. Brilliant!

  6. Alexis S says

    We made these today and they were sooooo gooooood!!! And so easy to make too – I just started using a scale and boy is that so much easier and quicker. Thanks for the recipe! I have no doubt we will make them again… and again and again! :-)


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