Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mrs. Richards' Treasured Cookies

Mrs. Richards’ Butter Cookies
*3/4 pound butter (three sticks)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk (or fruit juice)
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 cups all-purpose flour (or enough to make a stiff dough)
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, milk and
vanilla and beat together. Then add flour and baking powder. Mix well together. THE DOUGH WILL BE SOFT. Let sit for one-half hour. Roll on a lightly floured board to about one-half inch thick. Cut and place on ungreased baking sheet. (I usually cover the baking sheet with parchment paper first.) Bake at 375- to 400-degrees for 5 to 7 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks or cloth-covered table-top. Cool slightly. Then frost.
*Three sticks of butter is equal to 1 1/2 cups butter that is not precut. I melt the butter then add the sugar and mix well.
Frosting for Cookies
1 stick butter
1 small package powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Few drops food coloring
Melt the butter and pour over powdered sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add milk, vanilla and food coloring. Beat until smooth. More milk may be needed but be cautious because it doesn’t take much to make it runny. Spread on cookies and decorate as desired. (Candy hearts for Valentine’s Day, etc.)

Story behind the cookies: My Grandmother Vivian Smith, a teacher, and her parents, the owners of a pharmacy and drug store in Huntington, Utah, were kind and generous to the Mrs. Richards who was the possessor of this recipe during a difficult time in her life. The one thing that she treasured was the recipe for these cookies. Everyone loved them when she made them but she did not share the recipe with any. Community legend had it that her family had baked them for the king before they found themselves as converts to the LDS Church and in Utah. One day, Mrs. Richards came to my Grandmother and told her that she had little to treasure but this recipe. She gave a copy to my grandmother who was allowed to share it with her parents. Mrs. Richards told my grandmother that she could share it with family. Since all are dead now, I do not feel a need to keep it as secret and have shared it a bit more. Grandmother did share it with her sisters-in-law and, through Aunt Pearle Smith, Russ Farrer, her grandson, who baked at Brick Oven in Provo, Utah, for awhile, made these cookies for sale while he was employed there. When he left, he kept the recipe.
Myrna Great-Grandmother Mina Ericksen Pritchett, her daughter Vivian Pritchett Smith, my mother, Elaine Smith Pitts and her sister, Renee Smith Childs, and I have all made these cookies and received countless compliments for them. My children have the recipe. It is still treasured.
I began making these cookies as a child with my grandmother who always made them for Christmas and for Valentine’s Day, as well as for most major holidays, and “just because.”

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