Just three days to Christmas! I am finishing my last minute baking and cookie decorating this afternoon. I prepared a traditional family favorite that my mother, my sister and I made when I was growing up. Her mother and aunt also made this same cookie each year. The taste is so crisp, yet tender and very delicious, no doubt due to the fact that this sugar cookie recipe contains sour cream. The wind is howling outside and the weather is cool, yet I am cozy and warm in my house as I decorate the cookies with frosting and colorful sprinkles. It sure brings back good memories of my childhood and the Christmas celebrations that we enjoyed with my parents, brother, sister and my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. My Grandma Stahn had us over to her home each Christmas Eve after the kids in my family participated in our annual Christmas play at our little Lutheran church in my small hometown. After we opened up our Christmas presents and ate our ate our tasty late Christmas Eve supper consisting of of all types of Christmas cookies, fudge, open face sandwiches, cheese and crackers, Chex snack mix, summer sausage and divinity, we always gathered at my grandmother’s piano and sang Christmas carols while she played the piano. Our favorite songs included Silent night sang in both English and German, Frosty the Snowman, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, Up on the Rooftop and of course Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Another favorite Christmas memory was the time my brother, sister and I found our Christmas present after we snooped around the house for it while my parents were out at a dance for the evening. We had asked for a record player for months. My brother, sister and myself were very elated when we found the phongraph on the top shelf of our hallway closet. We had to put on our best act on Christmas Eve so that we looked surprised when we opened up our cherished gift! My sister and I listened to the top forty tunes on our favorite rock and roll radio station WLS from Chicago while we washed and dried the supper dishes or finished our home work at the dining room table.We were fans of the Beatles, Monkees, and many other artists of that era. I was probably in sixth or seventh grade, my brother was a ninth or tenth grader and my sister was only in the second or third grade when we found that record player up in the closet. Now we could purchase all of our favorite top forty records since we had a record player to play them on. My dad worked at Woolworths. When we wanted a new record, we would put in a request for the record that we wanted and give him 99 cents and he would purchase the record or album and bring it home. Albums were four or five dollars so I had to save my allowance and babysiting income up for those! The year was about 1969 I guess.
Christmas is indeed a very special holiday that is very close to my heart. I really enjoy the entire season since I love to decorate my home and trim the Christmas tree along with my husband as we sip on hot apple cider and listen along to our favorite Christmas songs. Choosing each particular person’s gift, especially the kids involved in my life is so much fun. Last but not least, I wrap each gift and write out my Christmas cards while again listening to my favorite Christmas carols on CBN Radio.com or one of my many Christmas CD’s.
Christmas is also a very special time of the year for me since I celebrate the birth of my savior Jesus Christ. I enjoy attending a Christmas church service to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. I also love to sing along with my favorite Christmas songs such as Hark the Harold Angels Sing, It came Upon A Midnight Clear, Mary, Have You Heard and countless others at the Christmas church services.
I tend to modify my recipes frequently to reduce the sugar, fat, sodium, cholesterol and calorie content. I also add higher fiber ingredients such as ground flaxseed, chia seeds and whole wheat flour in many of my recipes on my Honeydews Kitchen food and nutrition blog. I did not alter this recipe in any way since it is a family favorite. I would recommend that you consume this cookie and your other favorite holiday recipes containing more sugar, fat or sodium content in moderation, if you choose not to modify your recipes. Be very mindful of eating slowly and using smaller portions of your favorite recipes this time of year. Plan to prepare a fresh veggie platter with a yogurt and reduced fat sour cream based dip or slices of fresh fruit with a reduced fat cream cheese based dip to trim off a few calories and grams of fat this holiday season
.When I was attending college majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics, I decided to do some holiday baking in my small apartment. Since I was very excited about all the benefits of nutrition and a little over zealous concerning the benefits of healthy foods, I substituted whole wheat flour in this recipe in place of the all purpose white flour. The cookies looked very good, but were a little on the tough and chewy side due to the addition of the whole wheat flour. My family and friends teased me about that for quite a while. If a person wanted to add some whole wheat flour to a rolled out cookie recipe , I would suggest substituting 25% whole wheat pastry flour in place of some of the all purpose flour in the cookie so that these cookies will still have a crisp and tender consistency.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup regular or reduced-fat sour cream
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 TB milk
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- Decorations: red and green colored sugar and multi-colored sprinkles
- Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream well until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer. Beat in eggs. add sour cream and vanilla and mix until well combined. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and, baking soda. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be sticky and very soft. Divide the dough in half and shape into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or until the dough is firm enough to roll out. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and line your baking sheets with parchment paper, if possible. On a well floured surface, roll out each portion of dough with a rolling pin to approximately ¼-inch thickness. Cut out the cookies with a floured cookie cutter. Place cookies at least 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to remain on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before using a spatula to carefully remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- After the cookies have cooled completely, prepare the frosting by combining all of the frosting ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and stir well until well combined. If the frosting appears to be too thin, add a small amount more of powdered sugar and stir well until it is a good spreading consistency. If the frosting, appears to be too thick add, 1-2 tsp more of milk and stir until it is a good consistency for spreading on the cookies. Decorate the cookies by sprinkling on colored sugar or other festive sprinkles. Let cookies set out on your cupboard until the frosting is well set and then store the cookies in an airtight container until serving time.
Readers, I wish you each a very blessed Christmas season and a happy and healthy New Year! I have enjoyed authoring Honeydews Kitchen. I plan to change the name of my food and nutrition blog to Vintage Nutrition Kitchen. You can continue to read my food blog featuring my favorite healthy recipes. I have had more time to spend in my kitchen since my recent retirement. I love to experiment and “tweak” the recipes to improve their nutritional profile without sacrificing good taste. Check out my next blog at VintageNutritionKitchen.com