The Best Sugar Cookies and the Best of Neighbors

MP900216155Many years ago, when the baby boomers who are now starting to collect social security were toddlers, there was a community of young families in Ohio. The homes were well-built, just like Fulton Homes are built today, and a neighborhood grew where there had been nothing but wheat and corn fields just a few years before.

One neighbor, Ruth Chrisman, was a favorite of everyone. You could count on her to watch your kids while you ran to the store, and sickness and grief was solaced by her support and one of her tasty casseroles. She was also a pleasure just to talk to, and her two boys were always available to mow lawns or run errands.

One year, she baked the tastiest sugar cookies anyone on her street had ever tasted. And because generosity was part of her nature, she shared the recipe with everyone who asked, and for the next year, and the next, and the next, those sugar cookies were a staple in the neighborhood every holiday.

So now, decades later, Ruth’s sugar cookie recipe is here for your benefit too. But even more, it’s here to acknowledge that the everyday kindness and pleasure that a neighbor can give should live long after the neighbor is gone and the original community of families has grown up and moved away.

The homes, and the neighborhood, are still there 50 years later because, like Fulton Homes, these people built houses and communities designed to last. And here at Fulton Homes as we head toward 2015, we hope you too are fortunate enough to be part of a warm and friendly community and have a neighbor in your life as wonderful as Ruth.

Ruth Chrisman’s Special Sugar Cookies

 Ingredients:

1 cup butter (softened)

2 cups sugar (granulated)

2 eggs, beaten

5 cups flour (unbleached white)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp soda

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup sour cream (light (low-fat) sour cream works best)

Mix the flour, salt and soda together and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the 2 eggs and vanilla and blend. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream in two or three sections. Put plastic over the bowl and chill in the refrigerator a few hours to overnight.

Taking small segments of the dough and leaving the rest in the refrigerator, roll the dough to ¼ inch thick on a floured board, thinner if you want crisper cookies. Be generous with the flour so that the cookies don’t stick to the board. Cut with the cookie cutters of your choice and lay on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are just a bit brown around the edges. Cool for 5 minutes then move to cooling rack. Ice and decorate to your preference.

 Butter-cream Icing

Blend in a bowl: 3 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/3 cup softened or melted butter, ½ teaspoon vanilla and about 3 tablespoons of milk, using more or less to get the consistency you want. Color in smaller batches with food coloring if desired. This is enough frosting to handle all the cookies if they are rolled to ¼ inch thick.

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