Granny T's Puffy Sugar Cookies {Recipe}

When I was a kid, every holiday - every holiday - was met with the presence of my great-grandmother's sugar cookies. This is her recipe, modified for modern times. Hers called for "lard" or "oleo" and a few other ingredients that we just don't have laying around the kitchen anymore. One note: Using Parkay in the place of butter makes these cookies extra-yummy. I use butter because, after looking into the ingredients in margarine, it's been banned from my fridge. The butter also causes these cookies to not puff up as much as the margarine. I think it's because there isn't any water in the butter.

Now, I make cookies a little differently than everyone else. I absolutely hate the two-bowl method of making anything, so I've devised a way of getting all of the ingredients into the dough without making a huge mess or ruining the chemical reactions that must take place for these cookies to be "puffy".

What you will need:
2 c. granulated sugar
2 Eggs
1 c. Butter or Margarine (see my note up above)
1 c. sour cream (you can substitute buttermilk, but you'll need extra flour)

1 tsp. Salt (I use Kosher)
1 tsp. Baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder (make sure it's not super-old!)
1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract (the alcohol will bake out)

1/4 tsp. each of Pure almond extract and Pure lemon extract

4 1/2 - 5 1/2 c. All-Purpose flour (unbleached is better for you!)

1) Cream the sugar, butter, and eggs. Then add the sour cream and mix it in, too.

2) All at once, add the following ingredients: salt, baking soda, baking powder, and all extracts. Beat WELL!

3) Add flour 1 cup at a time. You can use the mixer until the dough gets too thick. That's when I call in the recruits!

4) The dough will be pretty sticky. I usually divide it into 2-4 parts and wrap it in waxed paper. It needs to go into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I have gotten busy and left it in for days and it's still fine (3-4 days, tops!) This is a necessary step. It allows some of the moisture to get pulled into the flour and the flavors from the extracts to get all integrated and stuff.

Oh, and don't forget to pay your recruits for their hard work by making them clean up the beaters and spoons! (I use fresh eggs from the farmer's market - I'm not too worried about salmonella!)

5) Set the oven to 400*F. Grease your pans! I put foil on them, too. Can you tell why?

6) Use lots of flour (dough will still be sticky) to roll the dough. Roll it to about 1/4" thick. You can roll it a little thicker, even. Cut your cookies, dipping the cutter into flour often to prevent sticking. I usually use a canning ring. Cookie cutters that have lots of curves and angles will be pointless - these cookies puff up a lot and the shape ends up looking like a blob.

7) Bake for around 5-7 minutes. You're going to want to keep checking on these! The photo above shows what they will look like when they're done. The photo below shows what happens when I have to clean up a potty accident and forget about the cookies! They are still good, just not super-soft.

8) Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack. you don't have to have a rack, though. I usually end up with way more cookies than rack space, so I just put waxed paper on the counter and put them there. Once they are completely cool, you can store them in an airtight container. They go stale after about two days so, eat them up! (Not that you'll have any problems with people not gobbling them down.)

9) These cookies are AMAZING with Wilton's Buttercream Icing. I like a nice, thick layer on mine!

Make sure that you let your little ones help decorate them. (And make sure it's not just before bedtime - the sugar will have them bouncing off the walls!)

My oldest added the piped decoration to these. It was a great time to get out my cake decorating kit!

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