I've mentioned before how much I love collecting and using cookbooks. I don't indulge myself in a lot of things in life, but I do enjoy buying cookbooks when I want to. They just plain out make me happy, much like they did my mom, I guess. But I use mine all the time, and I only remember her using hers when she wanted to make something "fancy".
When we were getting ready to move from our Seattle area home in July, I got rid of so much stuff. I donated bags and bags of clothes, shoes, household items, and even furniture. It made me sad to let it all go at first, but then I felt lighter and happy that I got rid of things that no longer were useful, or that had memories it was time to let go of.
I got rid of a lot of books too, mostly novels and decorating books, and some self-help books that I'm now embarrassed that I ever bought in the first place. But I kept every single cookbook, some that I've had for more than thirty years.
Decades ago, before everyone has turned into a self-proclaimed stylist, there was a Southern gentleman named Lee Bailey. When his first cookbook came out, I immediately fell in love with everything he did. I just loved his the South meets New York City way of approaching his home and life in the kitchen.
He became a well know lifestyle writer and opened home-furnishing stores in New York and across the country. He also went on to write more cookbooks, and I have everyone of them.
So here I am, thirty-plus years later still using this dear man's cookbooks to make my grandchildren a recipe for the best sugar cookies I ever tasted in my entire life. Mr. Bailey has passed on, but he still lives on for me in the beautiful books he created for home cooks just like me.
When I say these Cracked Sugar Cookies are the best, I'm not exaggerating. They are just downright delicious, and actually very easy to make. The cookbook says that Mr. Bailey got the recipe from his Louisiana cousin, and that it's been around for a long, long time. I like that.
Recipe for Lee Bailey's Cracked Sugar Cookies
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 large egg yokes, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. (Or use parchment paper like I did)
Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the yokes and vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients together, then add to the batter in 4 parts, mixing well after each addition.
Form the dough into balls the size of a walnut and place balls on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Do not flatten. Bake for approximately 11 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough until used up.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
-Post by Patricia