I don't know about other doctor-moms, but I have very little "free" time with my kids. Too often, a day off with them gets spent running errands or from scheduled activity to activity. I've found that I treasure unplanned, sort of spontaneous fun stuff, and I think they do, as well.
One recent weekend day, I found myself with both kids and a few free hours. Some groceries and sundries were desperately needed, so we piled into the car and headed to the nearby super-uber-market that sells everything cheap.
Before we entered the store, I laid out our basic ground rules:
No yelling, no fighting, and no running away from me.
If they could do all that, we would do a fun project.
So we did our shop, and I spied some halloween cookie cutters. They were purposefully displayed alongside theme sprinkles, food coloring, and decorator frosting. Hmmm...
I asked the kids what they thought. Two thumbs up! They excitedly helped pick out what they wanted to use.
When we got home, I made the kids wait until all the other stuff was put away, and then, we started. Babyboy only took part until the dough was made, and then he left with the spoon to watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". Babygirl owned this project.
Want to try this at home? Below, see our recipe, and photos of all the steps. Enjoy!
(And yes, the kitchen will be an ABSOLUTE MESS, there is no way around it. Flour, sprinkles, colored frosting fingerprints... and, it will have been totally worth it.)
Sugar Cookies Basic Recipe
Let the kids do as much as they can/want!
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups white flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or, even better, those nonstick silicone sheets, they are awesome. Soften the butter, but don't melt. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until really smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again. Add the flour and salt and just blend slowly until no patches of flour are visible. Squeeze the dough together as best you can and plop it onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap it up and place in the fridge. While it is chilling, make the base frosting.
3 cups powdered sugar, plus more if needed
1 stick butter
up to 1/2 cup milk
Soften the butter. Add some of the powdered sugar and beat. Add a bit of milk and beat. Keep alternating until the sugar is gone or mostly gone, and the consistency is creamy and very easy to spread. Leave it out until the cookies are ready to frost.
On a flat clean work surface, sprinkle some flour so the dough doesn't stick. Divide the chilled dough into thirds or fourths, and place on work surface. Flour up a rolling pin, and roll away. When about 1/4 inch thick, cut into shapes using cookie cutters.
When first sheet is full, place in oven and bake for around 6-8 minutes, until golden. These burn really easily. Repeat for the rest of the dough.
Cool completely. We decorated like this: We made several base colors from the creamy frosting, orange, gray and white. I spread the base frosting onto the cookies with a plastic knife, and my daughter then decorated the cookies, for the most part.
(FYI: We also had bought one bottle of liquid black decorator frosting, which we used for the black bats. We tried to use it for drawing and writing, but it was too liquidy. In addition, it tasted funky, and made the kids' poop greenish. Will not use again! I'm sure there are better homemade versions out there.)
|Rolling out the sugar cookie dough and cutting out shapes|
|Yes, our kitchen is a disaster.|
|This girl is FOCUSED|
|I hope this black frosting isn't toxic.|
|Ta-da! (and yes, that is our cat's butt on the counter)|