1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
1 tablespoon vanilla, ¼ tsp orange, ¼ tsp lemon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, to taste
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
*Add 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice to 1/4 cup milk to make it “sour.”
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and sugar till smooth. Add the buttermilk or sour milk and vanilla & extracts, again beating till well-combined. The mixture may look a bit curdled; Do not fret.
Add the nutmeg, flour, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients, and beat until the mixture forms a cohesive dough.
Drop the dough in round blobs onto a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. They should be a bit bigger than a ping-pong ball, a bit smaller than a golf ball. Using a cookie scoop makes this task extremely simple. Leave about 2 inches between the dough balls, as they’ll spread as they bake.
Bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven for about 16 to 18 minutes, or until they’re just beginning to brown around the bottom edges. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack. As they cool, they’ll become crisp. If you want them to remain crisp, store them in an airtight container when they’re totally cool. If you want them to get a bit chewy, store them in a bag with a slice of apple or a sugar softener. Yield: about 1 1/2 dozen 3-inch cookies.