Actually, give a whole basket of sugar cookie hearts, coated with frosting and decorated with your favorite candy decorations: silver dragees, cinnamon hots, colored sugars and artistic swirls of icing. This recipe was a family secret for more than a century, but now it’s yours — it makes soft, moist cookies that keep well, and remind the recipient of your love and affection.
SECRET RECIPE SUGAR COOKIES
1 cup margarine (that’s what Grandma used – but you can substitute butter)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sour milk (or use regular milk with a teaspoon of vinegar stirred in – wait 5 min.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (may be omitted)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4-5 cups flour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together margarine, sugar and eggs until they’re mixed and fluffy. Add everything else and mix – last of all, the flour, added in one cup measures until you’ve got a moist cookie dough.
Heavily flour your work area. Thump a large batch of dough in the middle, and sprinkle generously with 1/2 cup flour. (I generally work with a quarter of the batch at a time.) Carefully fold the flour into the dough until it’s easier to work without sticking, then roll out thickly (approx. 1/4″) on your floured work area. (Add more flour whenever needed.) Cut cookies with whatever cutter you like — or use a sharp knife to cut diamonds or squares. (A floured glass can also cut circles.)
Transfer the cookie cutouts to an ungreased cookie sheet, then bake 8-10 min., until the cookies are set and beginning to brown. (This step is very important.) Do not, if at all possible, let the cookies actually brown. Remove from the cookie sheet, and let cool before frosting and decorating. (Or, if you get tired of decorating, sprinkle the cut-out shapes with colored sugar and cinnamon hots before baking….they’ll still look nice.) Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.
Put in a tissue-lined basket, add a flower or two — and give your heart away with every delicious bite!