Our Favorite Cookies

Aunt Fanny's Cookies

Aunt Fanny's Cookies

It wouldn't be my house if there weren't some of these in the freezer for the holidays. During Rosh Hashanah and of course, for my Break-the-Fast. These are my Mom's famous butter cookies. They are probably the most-loved, most-baked cookies in my (and once, my Mom's) repertoire.

When I was growing up I didn't know they were butter cookies because my Mom made them with shortening. After I got interested in cooking I asked her why she called them butter cookies and she explained that during WWII she couldn't get butter, but everyone wanted the cookies, and so -- 

We tried them with real butter and never looked back. Except for when I need something dairy-free, and then, of course, I go back to the shortening. These cookies are fabulous, either way, though, to confess, I like the butter ones much better.

Here they are, fresh from the oven.

In our family we never actually called them butter cookies, not because of the shortening but because the recipe came from my father's Aunt Fanny. So everyone in the family called them Fanny's (recipe), which is scrawled out as "Fannies" in all the old family recipe collections.

I don't know if anyone in my family is named for Aunt Fanny, but these cookies give her kind of the same immortality.


  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, cut into chunks (or one cup cold shortening)

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • lekvar, jam, nut butter, etc.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat them in an electric mixer set at medium speed for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix another 1-2 minutes, or until the ingredients are almost blended. Add the egg yolks, salt and vanilla extract. Mix the ingredients 1-2 minutes, or until a uniform dough forms. Scoop pieces of dough and shape them into balls about 1" in diameter. Flatten the balls between your palms. Press each circle with your thumb to make an indentation in the center. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet, leaving an inch of space between them. Fill the thumb print spaces with a small amount of lekvar, jam, etc. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. You can freeze these cookies for 6 months.

Makes about 60