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What are Sweet Cream and Sour Cream?

 I found my late mother's delicious crisp sugar cookie recipe that none of her daughters has ever made. It calls for 3 teaspoons of sour or sweet cream. What is sour or sweet cream? Is it a liquid or a solid like butter? I checked with Central Market here in Dallas and they do not sell anything called sweet cream. Where do I buy it?

 Congratulations on finding that recipe! We get so many questions from people who want our help tracking down or recreating recipes that no longer exist. It is heartbreaking to tell people over and over that that dish – that childhood memory – has likely passed away forever. There is almost an infinite number of recipes and variations, and so many cooks from earlier generations especially threw in a little of this and a little of that, so that even if you find a similar recipe, the dish may not taste like what your ancestor made. It hardly seems necessary to say, but the only way to preserve old family recipes and tastes is to ask your relatives for their special recipes now, while they're still with us.

And to the good cooks of the world: you may think most of your dishes are nothing special, that you just throw this and that together, but some of your recipes may be special to friends and family, and it is pretty easy these days to put together a recipe collection that will keep your loved ones well fed and happy when you're no longer here to see to it yourself. A personalized recipe collection – even a very small one – is a very thoughtful gift that may be loved for years and even generations.

Now then, what was your question?

Oh yeah, sweet cream is fresh cream, as opposed to sour cream. The recipe lets you use either sour cream or heavy cream (or whipping cream). We would make two batches, one with sour cream and one with heavy cream, and see which tastes more like the cookies your mom used to make. To her, it probably saved a trip to the store to use whichever type of cream she had on hand. But one or the other is more likely to strike a chord in your memory as the "real" version of mom's sugar cookies.

You can save yourself the teensiest bit of effort, by the way, if you remember that 3 teaspoons is 1 tablespoon.

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