Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cookies for Christmas, a Holiday, or a Rainy Day

Grandson, seven years old.


Christmas or Holiday Cookies, or A Rainy Day Activity
 The cookie recipes come from Joy of Cooking, but the icing came from Mother. I changed the gingerbread one to make it healthier. It’s great for small children, as they can model it. I have done these recipes, first with my children, since Amy was five, and then with my grandchildren, since they were two or three years old. If they can model clay, they can do this. I remember Amy’s twins, age two and a half, sitting in front of the oven while the cookies baked. Children are very entranced by sprinkles. So when the cookies are cool, frost them and then use decorative sprinkles, colored sugars, etc. If you use the egg white brushed on before baking, use the colored sugars. Both recipes I usually double and store in refrigerator for awhile first.


Gingerbread Men
Preheat oven to 350 (when you’re about ten minutes from baking)
Blend until creamy:
1/4 cup butter or shortening
½ cup brown or white sugar (or some of both to make up ½ cup)
Beat in:
½ cup of dark molasses (I have used both cane and black strap–unsulphured)
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour (or new Super Sprout organic flour from Lindley Mills–whole wheat, sprouted and milled to a fine flour. You may be able to get it through a coop; in Chatham, you can buy it from the mill in Snow Camp area.)
1/4 cup of soy flour
Resift with:
1 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
Mix with:
1-1/4 cup whole rye or wholewheat (organic).
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in about 3 parts, alternately with 1/4 cup of water, if you roll the dough, or 1/3 cup water if you model the dough.
Bake on greased cookie sheets. Watch carefully–depending on thickness, 8-15 minutes.


Sugar Cookies
In Joy of Cooking, they are called Sand Tarts, but they’re much better than regular sugar cookies.

1-1/4 cups of sugar
Beat until soft:
3/4 cups of butter (1-1/2 sticks)
Add sugar gradually. Blend these ingredients until very soft and creamy.
Beat in:
1 egg
1 egg yolk (save the white for brushing some cookies and then adding colored sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Sift before measuring:
3 cups all-purpose flour (you might try the Super Sprout, but I haven’t yet)
Resift with 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Stir the flour gradually into the butter mixture until the ingredients are well blended. Chill the dough for several hours.
Preheat oven to 400.
Roll the dough until very thin. Bake on greased tins about 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness.


Lemon Butter Frosting (Icing)
Cream 1 stick butter until soft
Add alternately:
1 pound of powdered, confectioners’ sugar, from sifter
2-3 Tablespoons of lemon juice (sometimes one lemon–fresh is best, but you can add a little of the bottled lemon juice if most of it is fresh)
1 tablespoon of grated lemon rind.
You add a little sugar, then a little juice, and get it to a creamy, spreadable but not too soft consistency.

For variation, you can use orange juice and grated orange rind, or 1 teaspoon of vanilla and milk for liquid, e.g., for chocolate cake.

Let the cookies cool completely; then frost and decorate. If you want to make Valentine’s or Easter cookies, etc., the children can draw valentines, bunnies, etc., and then use a knife to cut around the shapes on the dough. They’re fun to make, and they taste good, too.


Granddaughter, age 9.

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