Vanilla Sugar Cookies #FBCookieSwap

The cookie gnomes were at it again this year. I made three batches of these cookies (translation: 108 cookies) and out of those I only got to eat a small handful. Every time I turned around the cookie canister was empty again. Ok, so this year I probably shouldn't blame the cookie gnomes, but rather the toddler with a sweet tooth (he's so much like his mama!) Every time I turned around I noticed he was munching on what I had wrongfully assumed were his bell pepper slices. It wasn't until later I would find the cookie crumb trail he left from the kitchen to my bed, where he was sneaking off to eat his ill gotten gains. 

I've raised a sneaky kid, that is for sure, but at least the kid has good taste. These cookies, which are a modified version of my grandmother's sour cream sugar cookies, are absolutely delicious. They're slightly crisp on the outside, nice and chewy on the inside, and pretty much everything you would ever want in a cookie. This year I decided to send these beauties out during the Great Food Blogger Cookies Swap hosted by Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil. This is my second year participating in the swap which is partnered with Cookies for Kids' Cancer to raise money to fund new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer. As part of the swap I sent out cookies to Garlic + Zest, CopyKat Recipes, and The Greek Glutton. In return these lovely ladies sent me cookies:

Brown Butter Chocolate Butterscotch Cranberry Cookies from Steph's Bite by Bite

Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies Dipped in Chocolate & Crushed Peppermint Cookies from Omeletta

Brown Butter Brown Sugar Cookies from That Susan Williams

So many sugar cookies! It almost made up for the cookie gnome running off with all of mine... almost.

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Vanilla Sugar Cookies
makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1½ cups vanilla sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs
3 Tablespoons sour cream
½ teaspoon lemon extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup vanilla sugar or colored sanding sugar (for rolling)

Directions

  • Before you begin you'll need to make 2 cups of vanilla sugar (keep in mind it won't be ready to use for at least two weeks.) You can also purchase it pre-made from Penzeys or Amazon, but it's very expensive.
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and vanilla sugar until fluffy. With the mixer still running slowly add in eggs, sour cream, and lemon extract. Add flour, baking soda, and salt; stir until well combined. The dough should be dense and sticky.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Shape dough into balls and roll in colored sanding sugar, vanilla sugar, or a mixture of both. Press balls flat with the palm of you hand and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 9 - 11 minutes, or until cookies are a very light golden brown.

Notes

If you don't have unsalted butter, use can omit the salt and use salted butter without any issue.

Disclosure

This posts contains my Amazon affiliate links.  I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. The revenue generated from these links helps to cover my expenses in running this blog so I can continue to provide you with quality content.

Great Gifts for the Blogger or Writer in Your Life

Writers are notoriously easy to shop for. Most of them would be happy if you gave them a Fun Book, a Procrastination Pen, or a Moleskine Notebook. However, you and I both know that you won't be the only one to think of the basics. If you're looking for something a little bit different this year these tools will help the blogger or writer in your life stay organized and productive even on the go.
For the writer on the go:

Evernote Commuter Bag - I've wanted this bag since it first came out and one day I will find a way to make it mine. The front of the bag folds down, giving you easy access to everything inside. This is an absolutely brilliant design!

Contigo Autoseal Stainless Steel Travel Mug - Finally a travel mug that doesn't leak and keeps beverages hot or cold for hours. I've been impressed with how long my tea stays hot on a cold winter day when left in the car.

Business cards from MOO (not pictured) - even though I do most of my work online I still go through an obscene amount of business cards. Why not treat your writer to some gorgeous full-color cards this year and a new Metallic Bungee Cord Card Case to store them in. I love this design because even though I've dropped it a hundred and one times my cards still stay secure inside.

To help them organize:

Grid-It Organizer - Instead of digging in the bottom of your bag to find what you need the interweaving bands on the grid-it organizer hold even odd-sized items securely in place.

Book Darts - These thin clips hold your place without permanently marking your page.

Post-it Mobile Attach and Go Notes and Flags Dispenser - I may have a bit of a post-it addiction, most writers do, but I love these because they attach to the inside of my notebook so I always have them on hand.

Evernote Premium (not pictured) - I primarily use Evernote to organize my recipes, but it's a great way to save interesting articles I've come across online, digitally manage business cards, and keep track of meeting notes. 

Something to help with the caffeine addiction:

Writer Definition Mug by CafePress and a gift card to a local coffee shop. Like many writers caffeine is what keeps me productive. I spend every Wednesday night at one of our local coffee shops cramming as much work as I can into four short hours. It's pretty well impossible to get any writing done with a toddler running around.

Disclosure

This posts contains my Amazon affiliate links as well as several referral links.  I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. The revenue generated from these links helps to cover my expenses in running this blog so I can continue to provide you with quality content.

Tuesday Tea - Tea Co-op December Box - Simple Loose Leaf

Where to Purchase: 

You can use coupon code NotStarvingYet for a 50% discount on your first month’s membership at Simple Loose Leaf 

December Selections:

Chinese Sencha Green
Santa's Gingerbread Holiday (see our previous review)

Yunnan Noir
Jade Oolong
Honeybush Hazelnut

Chinese Sencha Green

Review:

This month when I opened my box from Simple Loose Leaf I was disappointed to see that there was only one tea that I hadn't tried before. Three of the teas ended up being from Adagio, but I was glad to see that one of my favorites from last year (Maya Tea Company's Santa's Gingerbread Holiday) made an appearance. I wasn't initially a fan of it, but during the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap someone sent me an amazing tin of Gingerbread cookies that tasted just like this tea. It really grew on me, so I'm glad I have a second chance to enjoy it.

Today I'll be reviewing the green selection from the box, Chinese Sencha Green. I'll be the first to admit that I don't tend to drink sencha often. I have to be in a very specific mood to enjoy a strong vegetal flavor in my tea. I typically pair it with something salty, such as Chinese takeout, but it also goes well with sushi. This particular sencha has a more mild flavor than I'm accustomed to. When first steeped the flavor is somewhat vegetal, but as it cools off the flavor mellows out and it becomes slightly sweet. The mild flavor wasn't what I was expecting, but since I can't order takeout tonight I find that I prefer the tea this way. 

My Rating: 74/100

Would I order this again? Yes. I have a feeling that this would be fabulous as an iced tea. 

Not Starving Yet readers, use coupon code NotStarvingYet for a 50% discount on your first month’s membership at Simple Loose Leaf 

Disclosure:

In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that Simple Loose Leaf has provided me with a free subscription to their service. As always, all opinions are my own.