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I had an unexpected “free” evening this past week. Wednesday nights is generally my women’s bible study but we took the week off since several of us were out of town. With a little extra time on my plate, I decided to do some baking with Milo.
I love cooking with my kids and do it often. I actually have no memory of cooking with my mother at all. My parents divorced when I was 5 and I lived with my Dad. My dad was NOT a cook – I’m not even sure what we used to eat. It always worked out, but I think we had a lot of hot dogs and tv dinners and drive-thru – which was fine with me! I sort of remember my mom cooking before they divorced but I never remember being part of it. My paternal grandmother, Elinor, was somewhat of a rustic cook. She did lots of canning and jamming. She cooked eggs and bacon every single morning. It is such a comforting feeling to wake up to the smell of eggs & bacon and coffee brewing. And I do remember her and my aunts all working for hours on Thanksgiving and Christmas to prepare large meals for the whole family… My maternal grandmother, Ruby Lee, wasn’t really a cook either. She was a single woman for most of her life – a career woman actually. She was one of the first women in her area to attend college and was a well-known bookkeeper in a small town in Louisiana. I went to live with her my sophomore year of high school and lived with her (or nearby) until I was finished with college and in my 20s. She would roast chicken from time to time or make noodles or dumplings but not very often. In fact every single Sunday after church we’d head over to the Piggly Wiggly (which at some point became a Brookshire Bros.) and hit up the buffet for our lunch. I don’t have any recollections of her baking anything…pies, cookies, cakes – nada… She loved Little Debbie snack cakes though and ALWAYS had a nice supply tucked away in the bread box. I remember we would have the missionaries over once a month for dinner or lunch. She’d have me make them grilled cheese sandwiches every time. She used to say it was because everyone loved my grilled cheese sandwiches but now I think it’s because she didn’t want to cook! That memory makes me giggle. My grilled cheese sandwiches are not that great, not bad, but not great. So anyway, I have always made an attempt to really cook with my kiddos. I want them to have those memories with their mama that I long for.
This is a classic sugar cookie recipe from pg 41 of Martha Stewart’s Handmade Christmas. (click to enlarge if you need.)
I halved the recipe because it was most likely going to just be me and Milo. It doesn’t make a ton though. I think making the whole thing would be fine – you might just have 2 batches to bake. But NO WHERE near 7 dozen… I’m not sure cookies could be that small! And if they were, that would make me mad! kidding. Also, the first thing the recipe says is preheat your oven to 350. Don’t do that. You won’t be baking for a couple hours (the dough has to chill).
So first thing is cut up your butter into a bowl (2 sticks for whole recipe; 1 stick for half).
Then add your sugar. (3/4 cup for whole; 6 tablespoons for half)
^ Milo’s favorite part is counting out scoops of whatever ingredient is needed. He’s really good about getting good scoops too!
Next beat the butter and sugar for a couple minutes until smooth. You’ll probably have to clean out your beaters a couple of times.
Next up separate 2 yolks (1 if your halving the recipe) from your eggs (I obviously did this part). Add the yolks and beat again for a couple of minutes. Then add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tablespoon orange liqueur or cognac and beat again. I just added the tsp of vanilla cause we don’t have liqueur or cognac. Next up add 2 1/2 cups (or 1 & 1/4 if your halving) of flour.
Then add 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and a pinch of salt. We added slightly under a tsp of baking powder (since we were halving).
Then beat again. Start on low speed and work your way up until it’s dough consistency. Then put down some plastic wrap and pile your dough on top.
Then refrigerate for at least an hour.
After an hour or so we got our dough out and at this point I preheated the over to 350. Then I put parchment paper on our cookie sheet and also a piece down on the counter with some flour. I rolled the dough out pretty thin and let Milo (with some instruction) cut with the cookie cutters – the third project we’ve used them on.
At this point you can brush them with an egg wash (1 egg yolk & 1 tablespoon of cream), or you could decorate with royal icing or whatever you want. I bought colored sugar topping because I knew Milo would love it.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Ours must be “big” because it took nearly the whole 15 minutes. When you see them start to turn golden, they are done.
Fun, huh? Such an easy peasy recipe – I mean a 3 year old can do it!
The last thing you do is enjoy those cookies.
Ours were pretty much gone within a few minutes. I think we’ll make them again this weekend because they are simple and we obviously have all the ingredients. I think cooking and crafting with your kids (even if it’s a nephew or niece) is so important. They will cherish those memories forever and hopefully pass them on to their kiddos.