ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mini Black-and-White Cookies

Anyone who's spent some time in New York bakeries, or at least seen the Seinfeld Dinner Party episode, ought to be familiar with the Black-and-White cookie. A simple cakey buttermilk cookie, iced with half vanilla, half chocolate. I made these for a church primary activity; these minis are just the right size for kids. But when it comes to looking beyond the recipe, into the deeper significance of this timeless treat, I think Jerry said it best:

Just look to the cookie.

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 T plus 1 tsp light corn syrup
2 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 T water, plus more if needed
1 T unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 350. Make cookies: sift together flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl.

2. Put butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add granulated sugar; mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk.

3. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls; drop onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until bottoms turn golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

4. Make icing: Whisk confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and the water in a small bowl until smooth. Add more water if needed to achieve a consistency slightly thicker than honey. Transfer half the icing to a small bowl. Stir in cocoa powder; thin with water to match white icing consistency.

5. Spread white icing on half of each cookie's flat side and cocoa icing on the other half. Let stand until set, 30 minutes. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. Makes about 4 dozen.

Recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spice Doodles

These are along the lines of traditional snicker doodles, only no cream of tartar, and instead of rolling them in cinnamon sugar, you roll them in pumpkin pie spice sugar. Pumpkin pie spice contains cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves, so you get a more complex flavor in these otherwise simple cookies. And I've got to say, the texture is just about perfect.

I didn't happen to have pumpkin pie spice on hand, but I did have Penzey's Cake Spice, which has all the same ingredients except anise instead of mace, so I gave that a whirl. Delicious. These are the kind of cookies that are equally popular with kids and adults. And very popular with milk.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1. Lightly grease a cookie sheet, or line with parchment or silicone; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

2. Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl stir together 2 T sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Shape dough into 1-inch balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden. Let stand for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rocky Ledge Bars

It was a Sunday afternoon and I was looking for something to pull together quickly for a dessert potluck. I didn't have all the ingredients for these, but saw the potential for exercising artistic license, so I went for it. They were awesome, if slightly undercooked because of time constraints. But what's wrong with being extra gooey? I even caught some potluckers going back for seconds.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup butterscotch chips
18 soft caramel-candy cubes, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter 9x13 pan. Line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the longer sides. Brush parchment with butter (not overhang.)

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mix butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until well combined. Mix in flour mixture until combined. Fold in half of each of the marshmallows, chocolates, butterscotch chips and caramels.

3. Spread batter in prepared pan. Scatter remaining marshmallows, chocolates, butterscotch chips and caramels on top. Bake until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 50 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. Lift out of pan, and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes.

4. Remove parchment, and cut into about 16 triangles. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

So above is the actual recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies (chunky and nutty chapter.) And here's what I did instead:
  • Omitted chopped white chocolate and butterscotch chips.
  • Added salted peanuts and chopped milk chocolate.
  • Omitted chopped semisweet chocolate and instead used chopped bittersweet chocolate with almonds (bought "on accident" at Trader Joe's when I meant to buy regular bittersweet, but easily found a use for it.)
  • Kept the marshmallows, caramels and other ingredients the same.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Carrot Cake Cookies

More like inside-out carrot cake cookies, with the delectably creamy cream cheese frosting on the inside. These cookies are one of the few exceptions I make to include raisins in a cookie. Like white chocolate and a few other suspect ingredients, they do have their place in the baking world, and this is one of them. The cookies are so bendy soft, sweet and spicy, and the filling so creamy. You can wrap these individually and freeze them for a frozen summer treat as well, or just to make them last longer.

Be sure to read ahead - you need your butter and eggs room temperature, and the dough chills for an hour so make sure you have enough time.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3 large)
1 cup raisins
Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In an electric mixer beat butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium until well combined.

2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger; stir to combine. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix on low until just blended. Mix in oats, carrots, and raisins. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350. Place balls of dough on prepared sheets, 2 inches apart (they really spread!) Bake 12 to 15 minutes, rotating halfway through, until brown and crisp. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Spread about 2 tsp frosting onto flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich together with remaining cookies. Can be stored in refrigerator in airtight container up to 3 days.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners' sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Big Fat n' Fudgy Shoebox Brownies

We were having a friend over for Family Home Evening. I hadn't gone shopping for the week so I had to work with cupboard staples. I also had to clean the house so I needed something fast, that didn't require scooping, rolling, cutting, etc. Perfect time to try these big fat brownies from Marcy Goldman.

Apparently 11 x 7 brownie pans can be hard to find. I bought one once at Safeway in Colorado years ago, but if you don't have one or can't find one an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square pan is almost as good. Double the recipe to use a 9 x 13 pan.

There's not much more to say about these brownies; the title pretty much says it all. The "shoebox" part comes from older times when people would pack up brownies in shoeboxes? I suppose these days we might call them "Big Fat n' Fudgy Gladware Brownies" but it just doesn't have the same ring. So maybe Big Fat n' Fudgy is enough. More than enough.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
7 oz. semisweet chocolate, cut into chunks
2 T cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350. Generously spray 11 x 7 pan with nonstick cooking spray and place pan on a parchment lined baking sheet.

2. Melt butter and chocolate over low heat in a heavy bottomed 1 quart saucepan and stir until smooth. Add cocoa. Remove from heat, spoon into a medium bowl, and let cool to room temperature.

3. Add sugar, vanilla, and eggs, stirring until smooth. Fold in flour, salt and then walnuts and stir to make a smooth batter.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until brownies seem just set. It is tricky to test these, but if you do underbake them, just freeze brownies and serve well chilled.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bookstore Cafe Apricot Squares

When choosing recipes to try, I always have to weigh if they're worth the trouble. I'm not a fussy baker, and I'm not a perfectionist. I also have small children and, if I really want to face reality, other responsibilities in life, so I can't always spend all day and all my dishes on one recipe.

This one was borderline on the trouble front.

First, there are a few more steps than I'm accustomed to taking; for instance, all the food processing is a hassle for me because my processor is small so I had to do it in batches. But I thought it was worth trying because these squares just sounded so good!

Second, Red loves apricots so I knew he'd like these.

Third, I was kind of excited about trying the author's grating-frozen-dough technique for the topping.

Finally, it was a good excuse to finally get myself a powdered sugar shaker:

On the taste front, it was surprising. The crust/topping was not as sweet as I expected; hence, the powdered sugar plays a functional as well as decorative role. I liked them, but, you know, there's no chocolate, so... My tasters returned mixed reviews, some liked them, some didn't, but the best reaction came from my friend's husband whose mother is Austrian. We had dropped a plate by earlier in the week, and by Sunday I'd kind of forgotten. He sought me out at church to rave and exclaim how amazing they were. His wife said they're just like something his mother would make. It's hard to get a better recommendation than that!

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup ground walnuts, optional
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 T shortening
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 to 6 T whipping cream

3/4 cup orange juice
2 T fresh lemon juice
4 cups dried apricots (preferably Californian)
1/3 cup sugar

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

1. For crust, place flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nuts in a food processor. Add butter and shortening and pulse to make a mealy mixture. Add eggs, vanilla and cream and pulse to form a soft dough. Turn out pastry onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently to form a firm but soft dough. Wrap in two equal sections. Refrigerate half of dough for an hour and place other half in freezer.

2. For filling, place all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat, tossing fruit to soften, about 8 to 12 minutes. Let cool about 15 minutes and then puree in food processor. Chill well.

3. Preheat oven to 350. Generously spray an 11x7 inch pan or 9x9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and place pan on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Pat out refrigerated dough in prepared pan. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool well.

4. Meanwhile, coarsely grate remaining frozen pastry on a box grater. Spread apricot filling on baked pastry bottom, then shower frozen grated pastry over apricot. Place pan on prepared baking sheet. Bake until top pastry is done, about 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan and then dust with confectioners' sugar.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Birthday Cake Cones

So after the family party, and the preschool party, we finally had Hazel's "official" birthday party last weekend - finally the end of birthdays for our family this year! She had a "park party" at the park next door so portable, non-utensil edibles were essential. It was the perfect chance to make cupcake cones!
The first time I'd ever heard of cupcake cones was when I was working in a middle school in Colorado. One day around lunchtime there was a hubbub in the teacher's lunchroom. The home ec teacher was in there making these in the microwave and handing them out to teachers for dessert - talk about fun!

To do it in the microwave, you make a regular cake mix and fill a flat-bottomed cone up about halfway. Put it on a plate or paper towel in case it overflows. Then microwave it on HIGH for about a minute or a minute and a half. Then frost and decorate. Of course, they turn out better if you cook them properly in an oven but the microwave trick can be fun for a rainy afternoon or playdate when you need something fun and quickly gratifying to do with the kids. Or slightly older kids could make these themselves! (I'm envisioning girly sleepovers at my house in about 8 years or so...)
But here's the recipe I made for the party. The cones become a little soft and chewy but the cake keeps supremely moist in there. It comes from The Cake Mix Doctor, and it's essentially a regular devil's food mix with some cinnamon to boost the flavor. And don't forget the Special Dark Fluffy Chocolate Frosting!

28 flat-bottomed ice cream cones
1 pkg plain devil's food cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Fluffy Chocolate Frosting (recipe below)
Colored sprinkles for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350. Stand cones in ungreased mini muffin tins; set pans aside.

2. Place cake ingredients in mixing bowl and blend on low for 1 minutes. Scrape sides and mix for 2 minutes more. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into each ice cream cone. DO NOT fill more than halfway, or barely past the line where the cone widens. Place pans in oven.

3. Bake until cake springs back when lightly touched, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and cool for at least 30 minutes.

4. Frost and decorate.

Fluffy Chocolate Frosting:
8 T (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2/3 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark!)
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more if needed
1/3 cup whole milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Beat butter and cocoa powder on low 30 seconds. Add sugar, 1/3 cup milk, vanilla and salt, adn beat on low until frosting lightens and is fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add more milk if frosting is too thick or sugar, 1 T at a time, if frosting is too thin.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Bunny Buns

Yesterday my Mom (aka "Nana") came over to make Bunny Buns with me and the girls. Supposedly this is a Cummings tradition and my Aunt Janet used to come over and make them with me and my sisters, but I don't really have clear recollections of that.

Mom made the sweet roll dough ahead of time and brought it over all risen and everything, so we could get down to the fun part. The recipe is below but you could use any bread or roll dough you like. The bunny part just comes in the shaping of it. You use your hands to roll the dough out into a snake (just like playdoh - so fun for kids!) Then you fold and twist once to make the body:
And twist again to make the head:
Then you decorate with sprinkles for eyes and whiskers. You can dab your fingers in a little water and dab it on the dough if the sprinkles don't stick.

But we didn't stop at bunnies. It didn't take long for the girls to realize they could shape Easter "eggs" all on their own, so after awhile Mom and I made bunnies while the girls made eggs.
And then I made a butterfly, which I'm pretty proud of:
And of course our initials:
And now you know what we had for lunch yesterday!

Sweet Rolls:
2 cups milk
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/4 tsp sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 tsp) yeast
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
About 8 cups flour

1. Scald milk in saucepan and let it cool. In a cereal bowl, put 1 c. warm water (110 deg) and 1/4 tsp sugar. Add yeast and let bubble for about 10 minutes while the milk cools.

2. In a large bowl combine the butter, eggs, sugar and salt. Add the yeast mix and the cooled milk. Add flour 2 cups at a time, mixing to make a soft dough. Usually takes about 8 cups of flour.

3. Turn out onto floured board and knead for a few minutes, adding flour if it is too sticky, to make a pliable dough. Put back into bowl and cover with dishtowel or plastic wrap, leaving sides open. Let rise about 1 hour, or till double. Punch it down, hitting out the bubbles, and form into your rolls. Let rise a little longer and bake 10-15 minutes at 375 deg.


Cinnamon rolls - divide the dough into half after the first rising, roll out one section, dot with butter and cinnamon/sugar, roll up and slice.Repeat with other section. Bake either in a cake pan, or individual rolls in muffin tins. Frost with thinned powdered sugar frosting.

Pecan or walnut sticky buns- roll up with sugar, nuts and butter, with more at the bottom of the pan.

Cloverleaf rolls- in each muffin tin put 3 small balls of dough- let rise and bake

Dinner rolls- roll dough to about 1/2 inch, cut with a 3" round cookie cutter, brush 1/2 with melted butter, fold other half over , let rise and bake.

Monkey bread or "Pluckit"- spray Bundt pan with nonstick spray. Roll small balls of dough in cinnamon sugar and put them into the pan with nuts. Let rise and bake- longer than rolls that are separate, turn upside down on the plate to serve.

You could make any kind of fruit roll with fairly dry fruit inside and sugar and nuts, like cranberries, blueberries, chopped apples, dried apricots, peaches, sugar and orange rind, or just brown sugar for butterscotch rolls.

Recipe from my Mom who got it from her friend in the 70's Marilyn Brough

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

We all know white "chocolate" isn't chocolate at all and shouldn't even have that name, it's ridiculous. I stay away from the stuff as a general rule. But since I am the embodiment of culinary tolerance, even I can admit it can sometimes have its place in a baked good, contributing sweetness, flavor and texture for the greater good of the finished product.

But Martha was pushing my tolerance with this first. I followed her directions perfectly, including the TWO CUPS of white chocolate, but once I had the dough all stirred up, I was like, "Are you kidding me? Can I have some cookie with my white chocolate? C'mon!"

But I scooped and baked like a good girl anyway. When they were hot I tried one, and I had to admit it was good. I took the cookies to a preschool function and they did get gobbled up, with at least two people going out of their way to tell me how much they liked them. I even ate a few more. So for this post I compromised. I still think 2 cups is too much, and next time I would more likely do 1 cup white, 1 cup semisweet, or at least 1 1/2 white, 1/2 semisweet. But that's just me and my prejudice against white "chocolate." They really are delicious no matter what.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 to 2 cups white chocolate chunks
1 3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla.
2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Mix into butter mixture on low speed until well combined. Stir in chocolate, coconut and walnuts.

3. Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire rack 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fresh Orange Cookies

These cakey, fruity cookies are very similar to the Lemon Sour Cream Cookies I posted a few weeks ago. But I like them even more. I think the flavor is stronger, and I even added in a little orange extract to the frosting to put it over the top. I took these to a preschool function and the platter came home clean.

I got about 1 Tablespoon of zest off of one large navel orange. Between the cookies and the frosting, that's the zest of four oranges, and the juice of about 2 or 2 1/2. A zested orange turns hard quickly, so eat or use the unjuiced oranges soon. We sliced them and ate them for dinner that night.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup orange juice
3 T grated orange peel

1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
1 T grated orange peel
2 to 3 T orange juice
1/2 tsp orange extract, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375. In large bowl, combine sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and eggs; blend well. Add all remaining cookie ingredients; mix well. Drop dough by rounded spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets.

2. Bake for 8 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately remove cookies from sheets.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine all frosting ingredients, adding enough orange juice for desired spreading consistency. Frost warm cookies for a shiny glaze; wait to frost cooled cookies for a more distinctive icing. Makes about 5 dozen using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop.

Per cookie: Cal 90, Fat 4g, Chol 5mg, Sod 80mg, Fiber 0g
Recipe from Pillsbury Best Cookies Cookbook

Friday, April 3, 2009

Magic Blondies

Martha, Martha, Martha. I did finally buy her Cookies book - eBay, baby! - but this one is from her website.

What's not to like? Blondie on the bottom, trail mix-ish topping on top, all packaged up like a muffin. Grab and go this magical bundle of bliss, and you're starting your day - afternoon - evening - whatever - off right!

2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp coarse salt
9 T (1 1/8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. Stir together coconut, chocolate, walnuts, and cherries in a medium bowl; set aside.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix, scraping down sides of bowl, until well combined. Mix in 1 cup coconut mixture.

4. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Sprinkle remaining coconut mixture over tops. Bake blondies until a cake tester inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 25 minutes (12 for minis.) Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days. Makes about 1 dozen full muffin size or 3 dozen mini muffin size

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nutmeg Softies

It is my personal opinion that nutmeg is an underrated and underused spice. Its flavor is one of my favorites, especially in egg nog and french toast, or anywhere it combines with vanilla. And I always double it when called for in spice combinations, like in apple pie or spiced hermits.

So I was excited and so curious when I found this recipe for a cookie that showcases nutmeg alone. The name is appropriate - the nutmeg is strong and sweet, and these roll and cut cookies are almost cake soft. Homey and comforting yet subtle. And very popular with 2-year-olds.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 to 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
Colored coarse sugar

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with electric mixter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides. Beat in sour cream, egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in the flour. Dough will be sticky. Divide dough into thirds. Cover and chill dough about 2 hours, until easy to handle.

2. Preheat oven to 350. On a lightly floured surface, roll one third of the dough at a time until about 1/4 inch thick. Using a floured 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out dough. Place cutouts on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugar. Bake about 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are firm and bottoms are golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
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