She said these cookies were “no damn good”

My grandmother disliked this recipe so much she took a fountain pen and made sure she’d never make the same mistake twice.

these cookies are no damn good

I’ve always been amused by this one-and-only note in a cookbook I inherited from her. Is it really all THAT bad? I mean, this is a published cookbook and all…

american woman's cookbook

Curiosity got the better of me. I had to try it for myself. Here’s the full recipe:

refrigerator cookies recipe

It sounds simple enough. There are no weird ingredients or instructions. What could go wrong?

I’m skeptical, so I cut the recipe in half. And I’m not making any variations. Less waste if it goes south.

First, cream the “wet” stuff…

crisco and brown sugar

I won’t eat icing made with shortening (ugh!!!) so I won’t want to lick the beater after this creams.

Mix in the dry stuff.

adding dry ingredients

More mixing. Isn’t this thrilling?

mixing dough

The finished dough has the look and consistency of slightly wet sand. But I’m not at the beach.

cookie dough fail

I’ve seen graham cracker crumb crusts looking about like this. Maybe there is still hope.

I tried to make rolls. Honest! But it wasn’t easy getting the dough to cooperate.

crumbly cookie dough

Waxed paper seems 1950s vintage appropriate for this recipe. After much man handling (woman handling?) they’re ready to pop in the fridge.

cookie dough in wax paper rolls

………………………… That’s a looooong interlude in which I go to bed, get up again and go to work.

I took them out of the fridge. They had plenty of time to chill and hopefully congeal magically into cookie dough.

Can I make “thin slices”? Heck no!

the cookie crumbles

Crumbly cookie disaster!

She was right! This recipe IS “no damn good”!

I turned off the oven and shoved all the crumbly “dough” into a plastic container in the fridge.

Can this dough be saved? How would you fix it?

14 Comments on “She said these cookies were “no damn good””

  1. neatokeenetsy says:

    I have no idea how to save it, but I sure got a kick out of this post! I’m so glad you tried it. Now you know!

  2. luray says:

    It wasn’t like Grandma to swear, much less to leave it for posterity in blue Scripto ink, so this recipe must be bad indeed!

  3. This is so funny! I can just hear your grandma saying this. She must have been so mad at those cookies. I wonder if she tried them more than once. I told Joel he had to read it too. The only thing I can think to salvage them is, first to try one panfull as is. They might melt together with heat. If that doesn’t work I might try adding some butter, melted, just enough to make them stick. If I was to try the recipe again, I’d use half brown and half white sugar. Brown just does not cream well.

  4. Make a cookie “pizza” topped with chocolate chips & nuts & coconut

  5. luray says:

    Okay, I did five minutes of digging and found this same cookbook (with a 1939 copyright, what year is Grandma’s copy?) at There is no recipe for “Standard Refrigerator Cookies” in it. But there is a recipe for “Icebox Cookies.” Makes 3 doz. Here are the proportions: 1 1/2 c butter & shortening, 2 c brown sugar, 5 c flour, 4 eggs. So a lot more liquid ingredients to bind the dry. Grandma’s recipe wouldn’t work no matter what she did! And with all that shortening in it . . . I’d throw it out to the squirrels. 🙂

    • janeray says:

      So that has double the flour and three more eggs than I used. Before I indulge the local pigeons I might try salvaging it. More kitchen mishaps that no one will ever post on Pinterest!

  6. That is the greatest comment and the “damn” just makes it classic. Can only imagine her frustration over a recipe that did not work.

  7. Danielle says:

    I can only imagine your Grandmother laughing and telling you “I told you so”.