Mmmm, Christmas cookies (anytime)

December 27, 2008

sugar-cookieDid you eat up all your cookies yet? We stirred up one more batch of sugar cookies earlier this week, a special family recipe passed down from my grandma and perfected by my aunt. I haven’t been back to my hometown at Christmas for many years, but one mention of these thick, moist cookies and I’m right there in Bowman, North Dakota, after the annual Dec. 24 meal of oyster stew and Brussels sprouts, searching for the cookie with my name on it. You don’t need to get that fancy when you’re decorating these — in fact, Aunt Gail says, store-bought icing works perfectly well — and you don’t need to make them only at Christmas.

Gail’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Yield: About 5 dozen
1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream the shortening and sugar with a mixer. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat well. In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, then add them to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream, beating well after each addition. The dough will be soft and sticky. Roll out a third of the dough on a floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness (or to taste — we prefer them quite thick) and cut with cookie cutters. Transfer to an ungreased, unlined cookie sheet. They can be decorated now with sugar sprinkles, if you like, or baked plain at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, until they’re done but not brown. Not even a tiny bit at the edges. Cool them on a wire rack and frost them with your choice of icing. They store well in the freezer, if you can get them there before they’re scarfed up!

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