I'm always in awe whenever I page through Betty Crocker's old-school "cooky" book. Sure, the pictures are pretty retro, but that's not what amazes me. What I love is how quaint everything looks: you feel like hosting some kind of a cookie tea party just to arrange huge plates of thumbprint and spritz cookies everywhere in the house. Someone's walking through the hall? Let him choose between five different kinds! Someone else has decided to step out onto the patio? Have a chocolate crinkle!
To be a bit more realistic, I don't think I would be able to find more than ten kinds of cookies in my apartment, and I don't really have a hallway...or a patio for that matter. But a girl can dream, right?
I was invited for dinner at JB's for Easter. Now, before I get into the details, you have to know that his parents are sort of...intimidating. Let's just say I've seen his dad twice in over five years--the second time being this particular Easter. I wanted to bring some kind of gift, something nice and oh-hello-would-you-like-a-quaint-cookie-sounding. JB suggested I bake "something we can have with some tea after dinner", and I took that as my cue to envision my Betty Crocker fantasy. I paged through the book, settling on some sour-cream sugar cookies that I wanted to top with some cute Easter-colored sanding sugar. The recipe was for a rolled cookie, but I figured making drop cookies would be nice and quick without sacrificing the yummy taste.
I could hardly keep my hands off them when they came out of the oven: they were soft, tasty, and really adorable-looking. But I didn't want to start Easter dinner off on a wrong note, so I didn't eat all thirty of them. Twenty went straight into a plastic favor bag, and off to dinner we went. Everyone was basically very very full by the time dinner was over, so JB assured they would taste the cookies tomorrow. He sure did. I got a call on Monday morning, along the lines of "Did you actually taste your cookies??? I couldn't even eat one." So apparently, they got a "plastic-y" taste from the bag, but he made such a deal about it: imagine hearing "I actually had to hide these from my parents". Yeah. Nice, right?
I couldn't really understand why the ones I had tasted were so good and his were "awful", so I asked him to bring some to class on Tuesday. He handed one over to me, waiting for some kind of dramatic Heimlich-maneuver-inducing reaction on my part. Well, he sure was disappointed. They tasted just fine, maybe a little too moist from being in that plastic bag for so long, but nothing to kick and scream about. Turns out the slight taste from the nutmeg threw him and family off, or something. Weird.
Then came the revelation: "I don't understand why you made these tiny cookies and not some huge chewy cookies with chopped Snickers or something." I guess he won't be invited to my Betty Crocker Cooky Blowout. I'll save the Plantation Fruit Bars for the real cookie lovers on the patio.
Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies
adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book
makes 4 to 5 dozen 2-inch cookies
Note: I halved the recipe and they turned out fine! (Well, as long as you like sugar cookies, I guess, which some people apparently do not!)
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 TS vanilla
2 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 TS baking powder
1/2 TS baking soda
1/2 TS salt
1/4 TS nutmeg
1/2 c. sour cream
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, and mix thoroughly.
In a medium bowl, blend dry ingredients together. Add to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream.
Refrigerate dough at least 20 minutes.
Drop tablespoon-sized dollops of dough onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten with palm and top with sanding sugar.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned on the edges.
Cool on wire rack. Can be stored for a few days in an airtight container, but these are best eaten fresh.