Nothing beats Grandma’s cooking. Some of my favorite memories of my Grandma are of all the different Christmas cookies she used to make. My favorite cookie of all was something I always called Twists because that is what my dad called them, and they looked like a ribbon of dough with a twist in the middle so the name stuck for me.
My Grandma passed away when I was in my early 20’s, and being relatively young, I did not realize the importance of asking her for her recipes beforehand. Thankfully, years later, my aunt found this recipe, and we came to find out the official name was not Twists but rather Starlight Sugar Crisps.
These cookies are more of a cross between a cookie and a pastry. They are a bit more labor intensive to make than most cookies, but the sweet, flaky goodness is always worth it in the end. I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I always have.
1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
3 ½ cup sifted all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ cup butter
½ cup shortening
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup sour cream
3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 cup sugar
Colored sugar sprinkles (optional)
Stir yeast into warm water and let stand until it foams. Sift flour with salt; cut in butter and shortening. Blend in eggs, sour cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and yeast. Mix well. Cover and chill for at least two hours (dough may be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days and baked as needed). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar and remaining vanilla extract. Sprinkle a hard surface (such as a table, countertop, or board) with ½ cup of the vanilla sugar mixture. Roll out half of the dough into a 16″ by 8″ rectangle and sprinkle this with 1 tablespoon more vanilla sugar. Fold one end of the dough over the center. Fold the opposite end of the dough over to make three layers. Turn this ¼ way around and repeat rolling and folding twice, sprinkling the board with additional vanilla sugar as needed. Roll about ¼” thick. Cut into 4″ by 1″ strips. Twist each strip in the middle two or three times. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Add a light dusting of colored sugar sprinkles, if desired. Repeat entire process with the remaining dough. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Recipe yields approximately 5 dozen cookies.