Old Fashioned Ammonia Sugar Cookies

Old Fashioned Ammonia Sugar Cookies ⠀
(Makes about 10 dozen cookies)⠀

Baker’s ammonia (ammonium carbonate) is a classic leavener, called for in your grandmother’s or great-grandmother’s recipes. It creates a lighter cookie than baking soda (the modern equivalent). You can purchase it online. The ammonia smell really emerges when you bake them; but when they are done all traces of that odor are gone, and there isn’t any residual smell or taste of that rising agent. ⠀

Although shortening is higher in total fat, butter contains more saturated fat since it comes from animals and shortening is usually made from plant oils. Saturated fat is one of the so-called “bad fats” since it can cause your cholesterol levels to increase, raising your heart disease risk.⠀

1 Cup Milk (skim, 2%, or whole)⠀
4 teaspoons baker’s ammonia (See Note)⠀
2 Cups Sugar⠀
2 Cups Shortening (Crisco) ⠀
(May use 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening, but not all butter/margarine)⠀
4 Eggs⠀
2 teaspoons vanilla⠀
1 teaspoon salt⠀
6-7 Cups Flour⠀

Old fashion ammonia cookies

Put milk in a small bowl and add the baking ammonia to make certain that the ammonia is completely dissolved and not in clumps. Set aside. ⠀

Cream sugar and shortening together. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and salt.⠀

Mix in flour and milk, alternately, adding flour just until you have a stiff dough.⠀

Chill for at least an hour, longer is better.⠀

Roll out to about 1/8th of an inch, and cut with cookie cutters.⠀

Bake about 8 minutes. 4 minutes on lower oven shelf and 4 minutes on middle oven shelf works well. Edges of cookies should just be beginning to turn brown.⠀


This recipe was almost too much for my 5 qt. stand mixer. I had to keep pushing the dough down when mixing the last of the flour and milk.⠀

The icing is classic royal icing.⠀