Sugar Cookies – Straight Up!

My father liked his cookies just the way he liked his martinis: straight up! He’s been gone for years now, but Father’s Day (closely followed by his birthday) is coming soon, which always makes me nostalgic.

Here's to you, Pop!

Here’s to you, Pop!

So I’m bringing you his favorite treat, my grandma’s Sugar Cookies. No sprinkles, no frosting. But just as a martini needs an olive, he insisted that this cookie needed a single raisin right in the middle. I’ll admit, I like to put a very thin sugar glaze on mine, or a light dusting of sugar, which doesn’t overpower the sugar cookie experience at all. But I’ll leave that up to you.

Glazed, sugared, or adorned with a raisin...your choice!

Glazed, sugared, or adorned with a raisin…your choice!

These aren’t crunchy sugar cookies that can be cut into shapes; they’re soft and sweet and puffy. For Christmas and Dad’s birthday I would make four or five different types of cookie dough and freeze cookie-sized scoops of dough in zipper bags. Dad loved being able to bake a few cookies at a time. But without a doubt, the sugar cookie dough was eaten first! Sugar cookies glazed horizontal

Here’s Grandma’s recipe. Don’t leave out the nutmeg – it really adds a lovely, light flavor. And yes, Grandma…I measured my ingredients. Pretty much.

Soft Sugar Cookies
No bells or whistles - these sugar cookies are the real deal. Soft, tender, and sweet. A little plain, but that's what makes them so charming. Add a thin powdered sugar glaze when cookies are cool, or sprinkle them with sugar before baking if you'd like. Makes about 4 dozen.
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Raisins
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.
  3. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg.
  5. Beginning with the flour mixture, and ending with the sour cream, add alternately in three increments to the creamed mixture in the bowl. Cover and chill for an hour (or more).
  6. Heat oven to 375 F.
  7. On a floured surface or between two pieces of parchment, roll the dough out to a thickness of ¼-inch. Cut into circles using a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press one raisin directly in the middle of each cookie. (Sprinkle with sugar if you wish.)
  8. Bake 11-12 minutes, until barely golden on bottom edges.
  9. Cool on a rack.


Cream the butter and sugar.

Cream the butter and sugar.

Sift the dry ingredients.

Sift the dry ingredients.

Add one third of the dry ingredients...

Add one third of the dry ingredients…

Add one third of the sour cream....etc.

Add one third of the sour cream….etc.

Roll and cut.

Roll and cut.

...and sit on the porch with a cold glass of milk and a plate of cookies!

…and sit on the porch with a cold glass of milk and a plate of cookies!

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