Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sour Cream...Not Just for Baked Potatoes Anymore

Sour cream cookies are neither sour nor creamy, so a mention of them draws mixed reactions from different people. People who don't like sour cream tend to look rather disgusted. BUT DON'T BE MISLEAD! Sour cream cookies are perfectly delicious. With the consistency of a sugar cookie and a distinctive tangy flavor, it seems almost a travesty to frost them.

Sour Cream Cookies
passed down from Elfleda Smith
makes 4 dozen unless I bake them

2 c. sugar
1 c. shortening
2 eggs
1 c. full fat sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
3 cups flour

Cream together shortening and sugar (as always, the shortening can be substituted with softened unsalted butter) in large mixing bowl. Add two eggs and beat well. In smaller bowl, stir baking soda into sour cream. Add to the egg mixture and beat again. Add extracts and flour and mix well. Since these are cookies that will be rolled and cut, there needs to be enough flour in the dough to give it a rather stiff consistency. Just trust your instinct if you feel like you need to add more flour. If you can handle the dough and shape it, then it is just right. Cut dough into halves, wrap each in waxed paper, and refrigerate for at least three hours.

The dough should be quite stiff when you roll it. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay one of your dough balls between two sheets of waxed paper. I always sprinkle the waxed paper with a little bit of flour and keep a small measuring cup with more flour close by to keep the dough from sticking to the paper. Then, roll the dough flat with a rolling pin. I like these to be quite thick, so I roll them out to about 1/2 inch. But anywhere between that and 1/4 inch works fine. It's always good to get a bit of flour on your cookie cutters before cutting dough with them. Cut shapes and place them on a greased cookie sheet. I use a round cookie cutter for these because at this thickness, they tend to lose their shape. If you find the dough getting too soft, just refrigerate for about twenty minutes. Continue cutting until you use up both dough balls. Bake at 350 degrees until edges are lightly brown. You don't want to let these get too brown, or they get too crunchy. Nobody likes that...

For a slightly tangier flavor, you can add a bit of lemon zest to the dough or cut the vanilla out altogether and add two teaspoons of lemon extract. If you must frost them, just don't tell my dad you did it. He likes them, and pretty much everything else, frosting free.

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