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Grandma's Old-Fashioned Applesauce Cookie Recipe

I grew up watching and helping my mother make homemade cookies. They were always in our school lunch boxes. Here, I share some family faves.

Plate of applesauce cookies for one?

Plate of applesauce cookies for one?

My Grandmother's Recipe Folder

Slowly but surely, I have been making an effort to go through the many accumulated possessions that were retained by my mother all these many years. My dear mother passed on into the next life several years ago now. My husband, mother, and I shared a home for the last few years of her life, so I have been able to leisurely do this job as I wish.

The things that have taken the longest time to process are personal paper items like cards, old letters, photos, recipes, and similar items. Buried amidst all of this, I recently discovered an entire recipe folder that contained mostly handwritten recipes that belonged to my maternal grandmother. Much of it is in her handwriting, and some of it is in the handwriting of other relatives or friends.

Some recipes were written on the back of actual letters, while others were scribbled on receipts of various kinds or even little bits of scrap paper of all hues and sizes. In some cases, the paper is very fragile and could crumble away easily. The well-spattered pages of other recipes were obviously favorites and referred to often when following directions.

Altogether, it is a treasure trove of links to the past for various reasons. I decided to try out some of the recipes before passing the actual pages on to family members who may be interested in preserving these handwritten gems for posterity purposes.

My dear maternal grandma.

My dear maternal grandma.

Applesauce Cookies

I decided to try this first of many recipes that I will be following because I happened to have all of the ingredients on-hand in our pantry and refrigerator, so I don't have to shop for ingredients in the grocery store.

Back in the days when my grandma was making these cookies, she would have been using her own homemade applesauce, which was delicious and came from trees in her own yard when she lived in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

Following the directions exactly, I ended up with exactly fifty cookies, not the "6 1/2 dozen" that the recipe states that this will make.

These applesauce cookies are not overly sweet (which I like), and they are nicely and aromatically spiced. They would make the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon coffee or tea break.

My hubby tasted them, as did I, and we both agreed that they will make a nice addition to the cookie assortment that I give out as annual Christmas gifts to some of our friends. In fact, if I find other good recipes in my grandmother's old recipe file, I may alter the usual assortment quite a bit this next year. Time will tell!

I will give the directions as they were written, but if you happen to have a convection oven, multiple tins of cookies can be baked at the same time, and the time spent in the oven can be cut down as well. Eight to nine minutes was all it took to have these applesauce cookies rise and achieve a nice golden-brown appearance while being baked in the convection oven instead of the 15 to 20 minutes noted in the recipe.

Be sure to cool the cookies completely before packaging them up in a cookie tin or cookie jar.

My grandma's original handwritten recipe for applesauce cookies.

My grandma's original handwritten recipe for applesauce cookies.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

1 hour

1 hour 15 min

50 cookies


  • 1/2 cup shortening, (I used Crisco)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, I used a large one
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dates, (I used raisins)
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped, (I used walnuts)


  1. Cream the shortening and sugar together. After they are well-blended, add the egg to the creamed mixture and beat until light and fluffy.
  2. Sift the flour together with the cinnamon, cloves, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  3. Add the sifted ingredients alternating with the applesauce to the creamed mixture, and blend together.
  4. Add the raisins and nuts and mix until blended.
  5. Drop by teaspoons onto greased cookie baking sheets. (I use the product Pam cooking spray, and it works well.)
  6. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes until well browned.
  7. Cool on wire racks.

How Do You Like These Old-Fashioned Cookies?

If you decide to make this applesauce cookie recipe, please leave a comment below as to how you like them. These would be perfect cookies to tuck into a lunch box or picnic basket for a sweet treat that also has some nutritive value. It is sure to be a winning recipe for your family and friends!

Stay tuned for some more old-fashioned recipes dating back to my grandma's era. I think I'll go grab an applesauce cookie right now, along with an afternoon cup of herbal tea. Wish you were here to join me!

Questions & Answers

Question: Instead of shortening could I use butter for an old fashioned applesauce recipe?

Answer: You could try substituting butter for the shortening in this old fashioned applesauce cookie recipe, but truthfully I have not had much luck in doing so with other recipes. Please let me know if it works for you.

Question: What was your grandmother's name?

Answer: My grandmother's name was Regina. Everyone called her by her nickname, Reggie. Of course, to me, she was Grandma.

© 2012 Peggy Woods