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Susquehanna Life

Grandmom Weber’s Heavy Butter Cookies & Sufganiyot

Nov 17, 2017 02:45AM ● By Melanie Heisinger
Most of my ancestors were Pennsylvania Dutch of German descent. They were primarily farmers who came to this country, often to escape religious persecution in Europe. Their cooking reflects both the German heritage and the hearty foods associated with the physical work involved in farming.

Grandmom Weber’s Heavy Butter Cookies

(Pictured above)

My Grandmom Weber made this Pennsylvania Dutch butter cookie recipe in bulk every Christmas. She put the cookies in empty pretzel or potato chip cans and gave one to each of her eight children for their families. Additionally, she had an endless supply at her house for visitors. Years ago, my mother rekindled the tradition of making these cookies every holiday season and then it was passed down to me.

This is half of Grandmom’s original recipe. It’s not a fancy cookie recipe nor as sweet as most. The texture is perfect for dunking, although the cookies are absolutely delicious as is.


3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, preferably unsalted, room temperature
2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk, room temperature
8 cups, more or less, all-purpose flour


Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat well. Beat in the nutmeg. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk. Add to creamed mixture, alternating with flour. (Start with less flour and gradually add more until dough is the consistency for rolling, keeping in mind it will stiffen further when it chills.) Chill dough in several batches.
Preheat oven to 375° F. When the dough is well chilled, remove from refrigerator, one batch at a time. It might need to soften slightly before rolling. Roll to thickness of about 1/4-inch. Cut out with medium cookie cutters. Place on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely. Store in an airtight container. These cookies are best if stored for several days before serving. Yields about 10 dozen cookies.
Used with permission from Teri Ranck Foster –

Susquehanna Life magazine has not tested this recipe and disclaims any responsibility for the outcome of its preparation.



Sufganiyot, the Israeli name for “jelly doughnut,” is a popular Hanukkah food in Israel.

Total Time: 1 hour prep; 45 minutes cook


1 package active dry yeast
1 tsp granulated sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole milk
6 T margarine
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup seedless red raspberry jelly
confectioners' sugar


In large bowl, mix yeast, 1 tsp granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F); let stand until yeast mixture foams, about 5 minutes.

With wooden spoon, stir flour, milk, margarine, salt, nutmeg, eggs, and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar into yeast mixture until evenly blended (dough will be very sticky). Cover bowl with clean cloth towel, and let dough rise in warm place (80 to 85 degrees F) until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

With floured hands, punch down dough. Turn dough onto heavily floured surface; let rest 10 minutes. With floured hands, pat dough 1/2-inch thick. With floured 3-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Place rounds, about 2 inches apart, on lightly floured cookie sheets. Gently press trimmings together; press and cut as above. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat until temperature reaches 375 degrees F on deep-fry thermometer. With wide metal spatula, carefully place 2 or 3 doughnuts in hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes, turning over once. With large slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to wire racks lined with paper towels to drain; repeat with remaining dough.
When doughnuts are cool enough to handle, with small sharp knife, pierce doughnuts from 1 side almost to opposite side. Place jelly in decorating bag fitted with 1/4-inch round tip. Squeeze small amount of jelly into each doughnut through slit. Cool doughnuts completely on wire rack. Sprinkle doughnuts with confectioners' sugar to serve.

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