I called my mother one fall day to find out if she still had the recipe for one of our family's favorite cookies. She easily recalled Grandma Parker's popular treats, "Everybody liked her sugar cookie recipe so much, and Grandpa used to watch them in the oven so they wouldn't bake too much."
On a blustery Saturday afternoon my nine-year-old daughter, Nora, and I went to Mom's to copy the recipe and, as long as we were there, bake the cookies. The resulting recipe, below, is a modified version of the original, that we both adapted over the years to suit our cooking styles and dietary sensibilities.
The last step before slipping these into the oven--flattening the cookies with a glass--is a great task for little helpers (once they learn to restrain themselves from squashing them into oblivion, that is).
Secret Family Recipe
Sour Cream (Buttermilk) Sugar Cookies
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2 c. sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. or a 6-ounce bag chocolate chips (or more to taste; I always end up using about 1-1/3 c.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F).
Cream the butter, gradually adding the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and eggs, blending well. Sift together the dry ingredients and stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. (Beat only enough to mix, so as not to make the cookies too tough.)
Drop by teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet, then flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped first in water, then in sugar (be sure you re-dip the glass in the sugar after each cookie so it doesn't get too sticky). Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the edges are a little brown and the center springs back when touched. Makes about 60 cookies.