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07/07/2020

~ McCall's 1974 Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies ~

IMG_3599Nineteen Seventy-Four.  I was nineteen years young, a new bride, and, living in our first apartment here in downtown Happy Valley.  I was the secretary to the Vice-President of Lending for our towns premier bank.  I drove a hot, little lime-green Fiat, got my first miniature poodle and named him Caesar, and, I loved to cook.  Life was good (and it still is).  While times change and people change, a good recipe does not -- it just gets better and better with age.  This is one such recipe, and, these cookies evoke these and more memories every time I bake them.

IMG_3542McCall'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 worked -- 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.

*Titles:  Cookie collection, casserole cookbook, cookless cookbook, salads and salad dressings, cakes and pies, marvelous meats, dessert discoveries, family-style cookbook, company cookbook, do-ahead party cookbook, coast-to-coast cooking, world-wide cooking, fish 'n' fowl, show-off cookbook, cocktail time cookbook, home-baked breads, book of merry eating, picnic and patio cookbook.  A plastic cookbook holder and recipe index could be purchased anytime for $2.25.

From the pages a little book full of fun, user-friendly recipes:

IMG_3604These are the perfect little not-too-sweet cookie -- soft, a bit chewy and need no decoration 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, a cup of butter and two eggs!

IMG_3546For the cookies:

3 1/4  cups all-purpose flour (Note:  The recipe calls for 3 cups of flour and that measurement works just fine.  I use 3 1/4 cups, which yields puffier, rather than flatter cookies.)

1  teaspoon baking powder

1/2  teaspoon baking soda

1/2  teaspoon salt

1  cup salted butter, at room temperature, very soft (2 sticks)

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?)

For the topping:

store-bought Sugar 'n Cinnamon mixture (Note:  The recipes says to mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  Store-bought Sugar 'n Cinnamon is simply easier.)

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 short 15 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_3551 IMG_3551 IMG_3551 IMG_3551 IMG_3551 IMG_3551~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 butter, 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 the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Do not refrigerate any longer.

IMG_3575 IMG_3575 IMG_3575 IMG_3575 IMG_3575~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).  Sprinkle tops with sugar 'n cinnamon.  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 thin spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.  Repeat  process, until all cookies are baked.

Yes, overall, 1974 was a very, very good year:

IMG_3616McCall's 1974 Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies:  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_3030Cook's Note: While this is one of the easiest cookie recipes in my repertoire, it is also one of the most used.  After the butter and cream cheese come to room temp, start-to-finish, I can be done baking them in under an hour (including cleanup). The end result is a not-too-sweet, melt-in-your-mouth cookie that takes-the-edge-off any cravings for overly-indulgent sweets.  For me, nibbling on one after breakfast in the morning, on the run in the middle of the day, or parked in front of the television in the evening, is a sweet spot during a busy day.  Try my ~ Melt-in-Your-Mouth Tangy Cream Cheese 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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