Sour Cream-Nutmeg Sugar Cookies
When I was a kid, I would only eat my mom’s Christmas cookies (and her lasagna). Even when there were classroom parties at school with a bounty of homemade cookies, none of them were as good as Mom’s, and thus, I just ignored them.
My mom got the recipe for these sour-cream nutmeg sugar cookies from my grandma, who got it from a co-worker.
What makes it so special? Two things – flavor and texture. The flavor largely comes from a generous spoonful of nutmeg. While most sugar cookie cutouts have very little flavor other than sugary dough, these ones have a spiced, holiday flavor.
And the sour cream keeps them extremely soft (sour cream is also one of the secret ingredients in my lemon curd cake).
They even stay soft for about two weeks after they’re baked (just like my melomakarona recipe!) – an impressive feat for a sugar cookie.
While our family sugar cookies usually get a casual smear of milk-powdered sugar-vanilla frosting, here I experimented with royal icing and luster dust (a shimmery substance used for painting sparkly designs onto your cookies) just for the heck of it.
Turns out, luster dust is pretty fun! So shimmery (more so than the camera can capture), and a chance to unleash your inner artist! I might even brush some luster dust onto my heart cookies the next time I make them.
Oh, another thing about our family Christmas cookies? We have a lot of weird shapes in our cookie cutter arsenal. Nobody is really sure why we have a lion, a chicken and a shamrock mixed in with the Santa and Christmas tree cutters.
They were acquired sometime in the last century, and have just become a family tradition. We embrace the oddity, and have even started adding new odd shapes, like a fox and Michigan’s lower peninsula.
Sour Cream-Nutmeg Sugar Cookies
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3-1/2 cups flour (plus more if needed)
- Beat sugar, butter, sour cream, egg and baking soda at medium speed until well combined. Mix in vanilla and nutmeg.
- Gradually beat in flour. You want the dough to be not too dry, but not too sticky. If it's too sticky, gradually add a bit more flour. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In batches, roll chunks of dough to about 1/8-inch thickness (use floured surface and floured rolling pin). Cut it using your favorite cookie cutters. Bake cookies 8 minutes or until they just begin to brown around the edges (start checking them at 6 minutes). They will be very soft when they come out of the oven. Carefully transfer to wax paper and let cool completely.
- Frost as desired. If you'd like to decorate with royal icing and luster dust like I've done here, follow this tutorial from Bon Appetit
Can you freeze these cookies to decorate at a later date? Also, my daughter detests nutmeg. Have you tried any other spices such as allspice, ginger or pumpkin spice?
Hi Mandie! Yes, these cookies freeze great. And in fact, I have! This recipe right here is the same exact dough (albeit a half batch), but with ginger in place of the nutmeg: https://foxeslovelemons.com/candied-meyer-lemon-cookies/.
They were delicious with ginger. I think any of the spices you’ve mentioned would work great, although even though nutmeg to ginger was a 1:1 swap as far as amount, I’m not sure for the others you’ve mentioned. Allspice may be overwhelming in an equal amount? Pumpkin pie spice may not be strong enough? That part, I’m not sure about. Please let me know what you end up trying. Happy Baking!
LOL, I’ve made these for years and we lovingly call them “Fat Cookies” because of all the butter and sour cream….not to mention the cream cheese frosting I use!
Haha I love that, Ann. Hilarious but delicious.
My mom also made sour cream & nutmeg cut out Christmas cookies and so I have never been a fan of other regular old sugar cookie recipes either. I’m not sure if this is exactly what our recipe was but it’s close enough for me. And I’m not sure what we did to ours growing up but think we added too much flour, rolled too thin or always over baked due to distracted cooking, but ours were thin and sometimes crispy which now I associated with a proper cookie. 😂 my family likes fluffier so I’ll start with properly dealt with dough and then abuse the last half to be brown and crispy. Can’t wait.
“Abuse the last half to be brown and crispy.” I LOLed, Carol, but I know exactly what you mean. These cookies have to be watched like a hawk, and honestly, pulled before you *think* they are done, to main their fluffiness and softness. Good luck this year 🙂
We must have grown up around the same time- I remember the cookie! I asked my mother for the recipe and she some how lost the recipe along the way. Well, I just made the dought and can’t wait to make them to bring back a childhood memory. Thank you for sharing!
Oh my gosh, I am so glad to hear this, Cindy. I hope your cookies turned out amazing and are everything you remembered!
Followed the recipe. Had high hopes, but the texture was not favorable to us – they came out thick and soft, but…fluffy almost, and reminded us of a biscuit ish cookie. The recipe lacks salt too, which didn’t help flavor. Used fresh grated nutmeg. The cookies did hold their shape though, which was nice.
Sorry these cookies weren’t what you were looking for, SK. My family likes the soft and fluffy texture, but it might not be for everyone.
I had lost my grandma”s recipe last year in a house fire, so one of those small things that hit me when trying to make that holiday cheer. THANKFULLY I found this recipe and it will now be our family traditional Christmas cookie. The dough amount looks surprisingly small-but rolls out easily after being chilled (life got busy and sat for a week in the fridge in a container with a lid). I used the baking soda as mentioned in a previous review and they turned out AMAZING. Husband wasn’t a fan of grandma”s recipe but said I should receive a cookie award for these. Kids loved decorating them. Sturdy enough for little hands to grab, soft and chewy, subtle nutmeg flavor and holds details of cookie cutters very well.
Wanted to mention, though the dough looked like a small amount, it made 8 trays of cookies.
Oh my gosh, Kris, thank you so much for this sweet message. I am so glad that this recipe was able to bring you some holiday cheer after what sounds like a very tough year. Happy New Year!
Love this recipe. Can the dough be frozen?
To be honest, we haven’t ever tried to freeze this dough, Jane. However, I talked to a friend with lots of baking experience, and she says just about any type of cookie dough can be frozen. She thinks it’ll be fine! If you do end up trying it, please let me know how it turns out 🙂
Thanks for this recipe. It is a tradition for me to make them with my grandbabies for Christmas every year. They love them! I kinda like them thick so I add 1 teaspoon of of baking powder to each batch! Never had a problem with stickiness, just add flour accordingly. They love decorating them too!
I’m so glad to hear these are a hit with you and your grandchildren, Linda!
I’m not sure if this comment will be noticed, as it’s years later but making this recipe and my dough is incredibly sticky even with an additional 1/4 of flour already added. I put it in the fridge anyway, even though the dough is still very cold from the frozen butter I beat to a pulp prior to mixing everything in. I am nervous to add too much flour, but also wondering if I will just have to spoon the mixture onto the pan rather than roll out.
Hi Sheena! It IS a sticky dough. Make sure the dough is throughly chilled before you try to roll out the cookies, and make sure your surface and rolling pin are well floured. Good luck!
I like your problem-solving skills, lady 🙂
I love all things weird, odd and random so I think your cookie cutter shapes are fabulous! I’m especially digging the fox, even though they break easily. Just sweep the broken bits directly into your mouth. Problems solved!
Fabulous! I am in love with those foxes. 🙂
Nice looking cookies Lori! I like the addition of sour cream in the cookies – I’ll need to give them a try! Do you grate your own nutmeg? Pinned…
Thank you, Deb! While I love freshly-grated nutmeg generally, I don’t use it for this. Because we’ve always made this recipe using jarred ground nutmeg, I stick with that. I’m afraid that freshly grated would be overpowering, and I don’t want to ruin a batch of cookies finding out. I do make sure to have a new, freshly-opened jar of ground nutmeg, though!
Your cookies looks GREAT. I love the different shapes…stories are such a big part of holiday traditions.
Thanks so much, Betsy! This “trial batch” is already long gone. Can’t wait to bake the next batch, but am waiting until a few days before Christmas 🙂
Make sure you make extra for ole Dad.
I am happy to participate in the cookie tradition – both in the giving, to your mom, of new shapes (Michigan, palm tree, wolf, and a new one upcoming this year) and the tasting. I can literally polish off 5 to 6 of these bad boys a day around the holidays. Though, most of the time, my brain outweighs the stomach and I limit it to 2 or 3. They are just soooooooo good!
Thanks for sharing this recipe! I am adding it to my binder and to my list of cookies to bake this holiday!
Yay! I hope you love them as much as my family does! One tip I forgot to mention – make sure you have PLENTY of flour on your board and rolling pin when you’re rolling them out. The dough is pretty sticky. Oh, and put the extra dough back in the fridge when you’re not working with it. Good luck!
Great job, Lor!! Of course, it touched my heart. Love the foxes!! ~Mom
I’m glad. Sadly, these will be the only foxes you see – I’m not making more. They’re too delicate, and they break as soon as you try to move them anywhere. Crate & Barrel obviously didn’t test those cookie cutters!