Friday, March 1, 2013

Kitchen Traditions - Grandma Hess' Sugar Cookies

This next recipe is a family favorite at Christmas time.  My Aunt Elsie always makes a cut out version of this recipe that are delicious.  They are the highly sought after "soft" sugar cookie with yummy frosting.  I was recently given a bunch of recipes from my Grandma Hess (my dad's Grandmother) to include in a family cookbook.  (ok, technically they gave me the recipes 5 years ago, but they sat in a file drawer waiting until I had time to put the cookbook together and I forgot they were in there.)

So, here is a picture of my Great Grandma Doris Hess (my Grandpa's mother) and Aunt Avis (my Grandpa's sister)...I really should stop putting up pictures like this, but its the only one I can find right now, and I like that they are in the kitchen :D

What I love about this recipe is how versatile it is.  Because it's a basic sugar cookie, you can do just about anything you want with it.  Which is really great if you want to make one batch of cookies, but make a couple of different kinds (which I did!).

Also, it's made of simple ingredients that I usually have on hand...Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda, Shortening, Salt, Sour Cream, Eggs & Baking Powder.  You also need some sort of flavoring (vanilla, lemon or orange are suggested).

Preheat your oven.  The recipe said 425°, My oven runs hot, so I didn't go that high.  I set it at 350° and most of the time, I ended up around 400°, which worked well.

Next, measure out 1 cup of shortening.  I love to use my Pampered Chef measure all cup for shortening, it just works so well!

Add sugar and eggs and cream together.  This is also a good time to add whatever flavoring you choose (I forgot until later, but now would be easiest!).

In a separate bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the sour cream.

In yet another bowl (oh the dishes this recipe creates :/ ), combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Alternately add the sour cream mixture and the flour mixture to the egg/sugar/shortening.

Here you have your basic sugar cookie dough...Now you have some choices to make.  I find the dough to still be a little wet at this point, so I added some more flour, but that really depends on what you want to do with it. For cut out cookies, you'll need to add about another 3-4 cups of flour until it's workable.  Or, you can add just about anything you want at this point.

These were just going to Bible Study, so I wanted something simple.  I started out with basic drop cookies rolled in colored sugar.  Using my smallest cookie scoop, I measured out balls of dough and dropped them into a separate bowl of colored sugar.

I have a bunch of crazy sugar colors that I never really have a reason to use (I usually only bake around Christmas, so red, green and maybe some blue are all I usually have use for).  So I decided to use those up...they are a little spring-y too, so that's nice on a cold winter day. :)

Roll it around in the sugar until its covered.  Then place on a greased cookie sheet.

The original recipe didn't have a baking time, probably because there were so many options of different cookies.  For these, I started with 6 minutes (again, fearing the super hot oven), and then added another 2 minutes.  8 minutes worked perfectly for the second batch.

After two trays of these, I was running out of patience and it was getting late, so I decided to make the rest of the dough into bar cookies.  I added some mini chocolate chips, some toffee bits and some coconut to the dough and spread it into a pan.  I didn't measure, but maybe 1 cup of each?

I left the oven at about 400° for this, and all told baked them for about 14 minutes.  

They turned out pretty good.  I wasn't crazy about the flavor of the bar cookies, but everyone else seemed to like them.  Maybe some butterscotch chips, or a different flavor would have made them interesting.  Although, this is coming from the girl who doesn't love chocolate chips because they are plain and boring.  Also, I had a coupon for free donuts that was expiring, so had already eaten 2 donuts that day.  So maybe I had just overloaded my taste buds with sugar and they couldn't appreciate these cookies.  I think I'll go eat one of the leftovers now to run a little experiment! :)

Please be sure and comment to let me know what you think and/or if you try these for yourself!

Grace and love,

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