Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sweet Enough to Eat - Making Valentine Cookies

I'm slightly unsettled by the rapid rate in which Evelyn is growing up. Ah, well...what can I really do about it? In other news, look what we had for snack today!

I have been waiting all week for the perfect opportunity to make a little cookie magic with my two little dumplings. Cookie baking is not something to do when kids are crabby or distracted, nor is it any fun when the house is all kinds of disheveled. And for those reasons it took us several days into the week to pass the grade. (I even scrubbed the stovetop for this one. A++, I say.)

I just wanted the stars to aline and stress to be low so that we could actually enjoy the experience, and I could focus simply on my babies and some sugar cookies - not a pile of dishes in the sink. And so it was.

While Evelyn was playing with toys and Grace took her morning nap, I busted out the Simpson Family Cookbook to find the classic sugar cookie recipe that Eric's grandma is known for. These cookies have been favors at many of our family's weddings, and they often show up at parties and holidays. They are de-lish-us! And seriously, check out this cookbook. It's legit.

Put together by Eric's relatives and full of recipes from the Simpson family. Even the pictures were taken by family members! I love love love it. *Bookmarking pages 76 and 77, respectively.*

So I mixed and refrigerated and decided that after nap time we would roll out the dough and do a little cookie cutting. It was several hours later that I realized nap time was not going to take place during regularly scheduled programming, and so I gave up trying to force a toddler to sleep, and we cut out the cookies pre-nap. Take that, Mr. Sandman.

Evelyn was more interested in eating cookie dough than cutting out heart shapes. But that's okay - she's under 20 months old. (But not for long...boohoo...did I mention anything about her growing up yet?)

**Random side note. I have stood up several times today only to find that I have a wet butt. I can't figure this one out, friends. Why is this happening to me? I'm fairly certain that the problem doesn't rest with me, but I'm starting to wonder. Okay, carry on.**

Finally, after all of our cookies were safely in the oven doing their thing, the girls decided that sleep was an option. Thank you, Jesus. Naps are blessings. I love my kids dearly, but I'm just saying....

After a little refresher for one and all, we were able to do the one thing that makes sugar cookie baking so worth it. There is something magical in buttercream frosting and pretty sprinkles. Who can resist a good sprinkle? And...cue tears of motherhood joy...Evelyn did SUCH a good job.

I thought that surely Evelyn, as she does with most things, would lose interest one cookie in. I thought she'd just take handfuls of sprinkles and throw them across the room. I fully expected to give myself a good grade for effort, but what I didn't expect was a fun learning experience and a new technique in motor skills for my daughter. I'm starting to believe that everything is a teachable moment at this age.

My heart smiled big time as I noticed Evelyn intently watching how I decorated a cookie. I watched her first dip a finger into the tiny cup of colored sugar, expecting to somehow pick it up, and getting no results. And then I was shocked when she listened as I told her to use her "alligator pinchers" to pick it up with her chubby cherubic fingers. I watched in amazement when she followed my instructions. And then - success!

She did it over and over and over again until every last cookie was decorated. If I would have had a shiny gold star on hand I would've slapped that sucker right onto Evelyn's apron. But since hearts were the shape of choice today, we settled on enjoying a delicious reward instead.

And now, here's an encouragement for you to have a little cookie fun of your own! Enjoy our family's super sacred sugar cookie and buttercream frosting recipes - straight from The Simpson Family Cookbook! (You'll see that the recipes in this book are extra special, because family members have added in their own notes here and there.)

Mary's Sugar Cookies
...Beulah Robert

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 cup butter (can use half margarine)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Mix sugar and butter. Add egg and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Stir dry ingredients in and blend. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours. Divide dough in half and roll to 3/16" thick on lightly floured pastry cloth. I add sugar to the flour on the pastry cloth - makes cookies crispy. Place on lightly sprayed baking sheet or used parchment paper. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or delicately golden.

Butter Cream Icing 
...Beulah Robert

1/2 softened margarine
1/2 solid vegetable shortening
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk

Cream margarine and shortening. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. When all the sugar has been mixed in, the icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at HIGH speed until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth or lid until you are ready to use. Use paste or gel colorings to tint. Can be used to decorate or can be spread. This is what makes sugar cookies so tasty. 

Note: This icing is thick but creamy. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks. 

Bon appetit! 


Meagan said...

Looks like you will be the cookie maker at the bakery!! lol

Pettijohn said...

You little girl is so cute and she looks full of curosity at the same time. Looks like you guys had alot of fun.

Sarah said...

Meagan, that is a GREAT idea!!! haha

Thanks for the recipe Adrien, while I was reading and my mouth was watering I was going to ask for it :)

Stefanie said...

yummy! Thank's for sharing! I'll have to give that a try!

Babysteps23 said...

That family recipe book is awesome! My extended family has been wanting to put one together for a long time. My sister made me a cookbook where she photo copied a lot of our family's recipes and my favorite part about them are the hand written notes and suggestions. Especially those recipes where the family members are no longer with us.

Adrien said...

Haha, yes, the cookies WILL be in the bakery. :) And I hope you guys really do try them. They're yummy!

Having the family cookbook is a treasure. I'm really glad that there are people who have the initiative to do that for their families!

Sara said...

I'm so glad you posted the recipe, as I read I was thinking of asking for it. Thanks, Adrien! :)


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