This one is an oldie. My aunt shared it with my mom back in 1974, and it’s been Mom’s go-to cutout cookie recipe ever since.
I generally follow the instructions. And then I get mad because chilling the dough thoroughly means that it has to sit out for at least 30 minutes before it softens enough to roll out. Grrr. This time, I chilled the dough for only 30 minutes, while I cleaned up the mixer and did a few dishes. They rolled out fine. So, yeah, the original chill time is a little excessive.
There are 2 spices listed: nutmeg and cardamom. The original recipe called for nutmeg. Mom uses cardamom when she wants a cookie that’s a little more exotic-tasting, or when she doesn’t want the little flecks of nutmeg to show in the finished cookies. You could use whatever spice you like. Same for the extract – use lemon or almond instead of vanilla. And for heaven’s sake, if you’re using nutmeg and you have it, use fresh-grated!
When I was young, we often “painted” these cookies with a simple icing made from powdered sugar, a few drops of extract, and just enough milk to make it the consistency of poster paint. (It really doesn’t take much at all.) Tint with food coloring, and use basic craft paintbrushes to apply. If you make it a little thicker, you can use a bag with a small round decorating tip to make designs.
As with all rolled cookies, gather and re-roll your scraps, but try not to do so too many times because any flour used for sprinkling as you roll makes the cookies tougher when it’s worked in.
Sour Cream Cutout Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or cardamom
Beat together butter, sugar and egg until fluffy.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well to combine.
Form into ball, wrap or cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. (* I found that 30 minutes was sufficient, and then did not require sitting time out of the fridge to soften up enough to roll easily.)
When chilled, remove dough from refrigerator. Turn oven on to 375˚F. Roll small amounts of dough to desired thickness, cut, and place on cookie sheets (I like to line with parchment so they don’t stick). Bake 7-10 minutes, depending on size and shape. They should not get brown, but be very slightly darker than “pasty white.” Cool on sheets for a couple of minutes, then remove to cooling racks.
If decorating, let cookies cool completely before doing so.