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Monday, December 19, 2011

Yummy Soft Sugar Cookies


Cookies and Christmas just go together. Even if you resist. And what child doesn't love the fun of making cut out sugar cookies?




I come from a long tradition of non-cooks, but when I was growing up we had the cooking encyclopedia in the house that apparently everyone else had. The Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking, by Meta Givens.


I was about fourteen when Christmas cookie mania struck and I went searching for a recipe. The one in the encyclopedia (the only cookbook in the house) fit the bill.


The recipe was enormous and made seemingly hundreds of thick soft cookies with a wonderful flavor that came from the surprise ingredient of sour cream.



I suppose I thought sugar cookie recipes were everywhere. And they really are. So when I left home I never gave a thought to that old recipe until years later.



When I finally got around to asking for it, Mom had long since unloaded the Cooking Encyclopedia somewhere, and had no idea what I was talking about!


Thus began a search through vintage shops for the old thick green book with the red square on the spine. Today I would google it, or look on ebay, (even though I had no title or author's name) but I was then living in the old time century of  1977.




The major clue of authentication, though, was the somewhat unique ingredient of sour cream. My casual search went on for enough years that when I became interested in antiques, it was now routine to peruse the vintage cookbook section. And then one day there it was.



It was an odd and stunning thrill to finally find the object of my mild obsession. About twenty-five years had passed since I had last made the recipe. I marked the page, and wrote "This is the one!" in the margin.


I wish I could tell you that I now make a gigantic batch of my favorite sugar cookies every year. But rolled cookies are labor intensive, and I don't spend a lot of time near a kitchen in my daily travels anymore.


Still, my fat green cookbook has a place of honor in my collection, and still holds the secret for the most delicious sugar cookie I have ever tasted. . . .




Combine as for any other (merely regular) sugar cookie recipe.

Here are the quite dated mixing instructions as they are printed in the book:
Grease baking sheet lightly. Start oven 10 minutes before baking; set to hot (450 degrees F.) YES, 450 F. Use a 3-qt mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.
Sift flour, measure, resift 4 times with the next 4 ingredients. Cream butter or combination of shortenings until smooth, add sugar gradually, creaming well. Stir in vanilla, then beat in eggs until fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with cream in 2 or 3 portions, mixing until smooth after each.  Scrape off spoon, remove.  Cover bowl and chill in refrigerator an hour or so to firm dough for easier rolling. Remove 1/3 of dough at a time. Roll out on a slightly floured pastry cloth with stockinet-covered rolling pin 1/4-inch thick. Cut out with a 3 1/2-inch cutter. Place on a prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake 9 to 10 minutes. Remove at once to cake rack to cool. Store in a tight-covered cookie jar or box with waxed paper between layers. 40 cookies.

















I hope you're enjoying jolly cookie memories of your own!
Happy baking!
Ciao! for now!
Jacqueline



Join me at
Tabletop Tuesday

21 comments:

  1. Oh my...I have my own old timey sugar cookie recipe that I have used forever and my family loves, but it is so tempting to try this one! By the way, I am IN LOVE with that towel and your "cookies" in baker's twine is photo heaven. I'm pinning it!

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  2. Looks interesting and sounds so Yummy!

    I have an old recipe too, that both my grandma & GH /great hubby great grand had.

    Happy TTT...
    /CC

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  3. Such a cute post1 My heart skipped a beat when I saw the old pie tin, thoughts of my mama came so strong. I like them soft too! Merry Christmas. :D

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  4. Beautiful share. Love the old cutters & pin tins ... memories.
    Merry Christmas
    TTFN ~
    Hugs,
    Marydon

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  5. Love sugar cookies. Cute photos and I have never made soft ones.

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  6. What a charming story - I love hearing stories like this during the holidays! So glad you found that book and are able to make those yummy cookies whenever your heart desires it! :) Love those tins and such too!!! :) Happy Holidays to you!!!


    XOXO's,
    Jessie

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  7. Loved ths story, I always enjoy understanding what makes us collect certain things.
    I have my Grandmothers cookies that I usually make every year and the secret ingredient is pwd sugar and almond ext. I have ran out of time and have not gotten them done this year..I hate that

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  8. So glad you and the cookbook have reunited. My favorite is still Betty Crocker....that sad looking book has seen better days. I think I need to find a new one.

    hugs
    Carole
    ps...I have made no cookies yet this season....boohoo, but I have eaten plenty...hehe

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  9. What a wonderful memory and sweet pictures. I had a sort of deja vu like that one day when I saw my mothers old Better Homes and Gardens gardening book in a thrift store.

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  10. It is thrilling that you found that book. I have been cooking and cleaning up a storm today and now it is lovely to sit and see your pretty images and to visit with you.

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  11. Hi J,
    Yes it's a bake-athon in blogland tonight! Your no heat method is lovely!! A perfect vintage tribute to cookies and all that is yummy about them, they take you right back to childhood:-))
    I love how the book says "YES 45o" I woulda that it a typo!
    I'll save a sugar angel or two for you:-)
    We are off to see the big city lights, not as big as you, but fun!!
    Hugs,
    Bella

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  12. I loved reading your cookie book story! Your cookies sound good - sour cream - I'll have to try this! Thanks for sharing and I'm so glad you found your green cook book.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  13. I loved reading your cookie book story! Your cookies sound good - sour cream - I'll have to try this! Thanks for sharing and I'm so glad you found your green cook book.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  14. I do make a sugar cookie,but I have just taken down your recipe,am about to start now. Thanks for sharing Jaqueline. xx jeanetteann

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  15. I make cut out cookies today, they need to be frosted tomorrow. Love the post, Laura

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  16. ooh I know how you felt with the search for the recipe.. After we lost our house to a fire, I searched long and hard for my favorite cookbooks. Thanks for sharing your wonderful post! Merry Christmas, xo marlis

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  17. Lovely! This is such a trip down memory lane. I remember that brand of baking pan from our kitchen growing up. I liked tracing the patterns with my finger.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  18. Thank you for sharing this nostalgic story, charming photos and a new recipe for me to try!
    Karee

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  19. Enjoyed your story and pictures. All those vintage cookie cutters, linens... old book. Loved it! Happy baking! P.S. I copied your old recipe. Can't wait to try it!

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  20. Always keep my eye out for the cookies my grandmother used to make. This could be the one, but was disappointed to see that there were lots of "prop" photos but not a single photo of the actual cookie. You seriously wrote a whole post about a special cookie and then didn't even actually make the cookie?? An old neighbor said the secret to soft sugar cookies was to use lard, would also allow them to keep for a long time. Was glad to find this here because it could be the one I've been searching for.

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  21. Lovley! That was a trip down memory lane. When I bake my Grandma’s bread recipe, it takes me right back to her kitchen. A good cookbook is worth only one great recipe to me. I have done something so similar. I do like the crispy ones too though. Have to give this one a try! May even have to get the rolling pin cover and cloth!

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