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07/09/2020

~ Betty Crocker's 1950 Sour Cream Cookie Recipe ~

IMG_3659Sour cream cookies have been a favorite in households for decades -- mine included.  They are the perfect little not-too-sweet cookie.  They're soft, a bit chewy and need no adornment or intervention.  They only require a few on-hand ingredients (unless you're out of sour cream) and take moments to mix.  They're good hot, warm, at room temp, and, they keep for days in the cookie jar.  I can't think of a better use for a cup of sour cream, shortening and two eggs. I have two recipes for sour cream cookies (see Cook's note below), and both or great.  The first of the two recipes, the one I'm posting today, is the one my mom made.  It came straight from the pages of the 1950 edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook and appears on page 182.

The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook (1950) is said to be the most-sold cookbook in modern-day American culinary history.

6a0120a8551282970b0263ec27886e200cWith well over 6,000 hard and soft-cover volumes in my cooking library, on my short list of favorites, two, written Betty Crocker and General Mills quality for "tattered-spine, stained-page" status:  The 1950 edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook (which belonged to my mother/see photo below), and, the 1972 edition of Betty Crocker's Cookbook (which was a bridal shower gift to me in 1974). Appearance wise, by celebrity-driven, modern-day, glossy-paged, pro-photographed standards, both are unsophisticated and plebeian.  If one can get past first impressions, one would know: These books were written for the ages. They're full of kitchen-tested never-goes-out-of-date recipes written for success.

IMG_3622The Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book, with it's signature bright red cover, is said to be the most-sold cookbook in American history.  It was the brain-child of General Mills in order for them to sell more flour -- and the reason for the imaginary "Betty Crocker" persona to be invented.  As it turned out, the General Mills test kitchens turned out to be the best-of-the-best when it came to writing recipes for anyone of any experience level to use (again and again) and appreciate.  It meant that any young bride of 1950 with a stove and an oven and an interest in cooking could become the family's culinary virtuoso -- the family's own "Betty Crocker".

The Betty Crocker Picture cookbook was written in an era when 30% of the family budget went toward food.  Housewives shopped several times a week, in several stores (the butcher, the baker, the all-purpose small-by-today's-standards grocery store).  They cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner.  On special occasions and holidays, they entertained friends and family too.  They had no concept of take-out, eat-out and delivery on the scale we have become accustomed to.  At all times, they had relatively no access to out-of-the ordinary ingredients.  They made due nicely thanks to the Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook, that taught that marvelous meals could be prepared, by anyone with a desire to cook, using ordinary, readily-available ingredients.

From the pages an iconic book full of user-friendly recipes:  

IMG_3671Betty Crocker's 1950 Picture Book Sour Cream Cookie Recipe.

IMG_36283  cups all-purpose flour  (Note:  The recipe calls for 2 3/4 cups of flour and that measurement works just fine.  I use 3, which yields puffier, rather than flatter cookies.)

1/2  teaspoon baking soda

1/2  teaspoon baking powder

1/2  teaspoon salt

1/2  cup shortening

1 1/2  cups sugar

2  large eggs

1  cup sour cream

2  teaspoons pure vanilla extract (Note:  The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, which is great.  I used two because who doesn't like double vanilla?)

Note before starting:  I've written the recipe in my own words, making my own minor changes. For example:  They refrigerate the bowl of cookie dough for 1 hour.  I refrigerate it for a shorter 15-30 minutes, then refrigerate each pan of unbaked cookies for 15 minutes prior to baking them.  My way gets me started baking sooner, finished baking faster, and eating cookies quicker.

IMG_3548 IMG_3632 IMG_3632 IMG_3632 IMG_3632 IMG_3632 IMG_3632~Step 1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, over medium-high speed of hand-held electric mixer, place and cream together shortening, sugar and eggs, until light and fluffy, 1-1 1/2 minutes, using a large rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl constantly.  Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in sour cream and vanilla, about 30 seconds.  In 2-3 increments, incorporate the flour mixture into the sour cream mixture, 1-1 1/2 minutes.  Cover bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.  Do not refrigerate any longer.

IMG_3646 IMG_3646 IMG_3653~Step 2. Working one pan at a time, using a 1 1/2" cookie scoop as a measure, drop balls of dough, about 2" apart onto a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan that has been lined with parchment (15 per pan).  Refrigerate pan of unbaked cookies for 15 minutes.  Bake on center rack of preheated 350° oven, until cookies are just set and barely-browning around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and use a spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.  Repeat process until all cookies are baked.

All baked, cooled & ready for any family to enjoy:

IMG_3666Betty Crocker's 1950 Sour Cream Cookie Recipe:  Recipe yields 4 dozen 2"-round cookies.

Special Equipment List: hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 4, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; 4 sheets parchment paper; plastic wrap; 1 1/2" ice-cream scoop; thin spatula; large wire cooling rack

IMG_3616Cook's Note: McCall's Cookie Collection was the first in a darling series of eighteen, 7 1/2" x 9", paperback books (McCalls Cookbook Collection*), 64 pages each.  I bought the collection, once-a-month, in the grocery store, for $1.40 each.  At our Riverside market, they'd display them near the checkout so we couldn't miss it -- and they sold out quickly.  Their recipes were tested, and, of the many I tried (several from each book each month), we, of course, liked some things better than others, but, I can report no recipe fails.  This personal favorite-of-mine cookie recipe appears on Page 23. ~ McCalls 1974 Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

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