While browsing through some of my grandmother's recipes, I stumbled across the cookie recipe that my mother used to win a blue ribbon for 4H. 4H is a club sort of like the Girl Scouts in which boys and girls can show off their farming, cooking and sewing abilities. Each of the four H's has a meaning: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. 4H promotes knowledge and skills that enable young people to become productive members of their communities. Each year, members showcase their talents at county fairs. The winners from each of the local counties can then go on to the state fair.
As a kid, I remember looking forward to helping my mother make these cookies at Christmas time. We would decorate them with sprinkles, colored sugar and even frosting. We would have a great time with the family -- everyone gathered around the kitchen table decorating cookies. Anticipation of that first batch of warm cookies coming out of the oven made our mouths water. There is nothing like warm cookies as a reward for hard work. You could create your own family cookie party, giving children a chance to express themselves while decorating the cookies. Children can also start learning how to cook by helping you measure and mix up the batter. Little hands are great for forming the balls with a little supervision.
Mom recommends that you press these with a greased glass, or take the glass and dip it in a little bit of sugar and then press. You can also press them out with a sugared fork. She recommends that if you wish to make cutouts, make sure not to roll them thinner than 1/4-inch thick. You can place decorating sugar into a salt shaker so that little elves can help by sprinkling it over the cookies. Once the cookies are completely cooled, you can frost them. A plastic baggie with the corner clipped off makes a great way to pipe frosting over the top. Gum drops and licorice whips can be used to make faces. Coconut can be colored with a few drops of food coloring for hair. Let your kids get creative and make their own goofy faces.
You will want to place the cookies on waxed paper to cool after removing them from the oven. I like to let them sit on the pan for a few minutes before removing them. These cookies are really soft coming out of the oven. They usually stay soft if they're stored in a sealed container. Should the cookies start to harden, you can put a slice or two of bread in with them and they will soften up again.
Cream sugar, salt, oil and egg together. Mix together the flour and cream of tartar. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture until you can form a ball. Form into balls about the size of a walnut. Grease the bottom of a glass and press the balls flat on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar or colored sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until edges are brown. (4H Blue Ribbon Winner, 1967 )