February 15, 2010
Kids in the Kitchen - Sugar Cookies
Hubby is working long hours this week, so I decided we would fill the time with baking! Although E is reading at a second grade level, her math skills are not as advanced, so I am exploring ways of incorporating math into everyday routines. Baking is a great exercise in mathematics (explaining why so many of my culinary creations go wrong)!
Before we jump into the kitchen, let me introduce you to a book that is as sweet as its title:
Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
I ran into this treasure at Barnes and Noble yesterday and my husband literally had to pry it out of my fingers. The book is a dictionary of sorts, defining words you desperately want your children to understand and emulate: honesty, courage, trustworthy, loyalty, etc. These character traits are brilliantly explained in terms of sugar cookies; for example, "COMPASSIONATE means that when you burn the cookies to a crisp, I'll be there to give you a hug." There are beautiful scenarios for each of the words, accompanied by illustrations as light and sweet as an oven-warmed cookie.
The third in a series, Sugar Cookies is my favorite: a wonderful follow-up to Valentine's Day and an equally good introduction to quality character traits.
The book includes a recipe for iced sugar cookies (of course), but I was in the mood for the soft, doughy kind. Here is the recipe we followed from All Recipes:
Soft & Chewy Sugar Cookies
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar. Measuring out ingredients is a great way to work on counting and fractions. I'll admit it, it took me a minute to figure out how to get 2/3 cup butter out of two sticks.
3. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Let your child break open the eggs... or in the case of my little don't-want-to-get-my-hands-dirty, just break.
4. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture until dough comes together. Who are we kidding? Throw into the cuisinart and push "on".
5. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in sugar. Place them on an unprepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. These cookies do not spread very much, so if you would like flatter cookies, butter the flat bottom of a drinking glass and use to gently press each ball of dough. And don't forget to snap a quick photo of your ridiculously cute baby balanced precariously on the countertop!
6. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottom is light brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks. Sorry, but I simply must show off the apron my SIL made me!
7. If you'd like, you can roll the tops of the balls in sprinkles before baking. Enjoy!