If you are like me, your Pinterest boards for the holidays have been exploding but the actual productivity factor in reality has felt like it’s at a stand still. That’s were I’m at, guys. So many ideas, so little time. In an effort to refocus and reenergize, I’ve finally buckled down to work on some projects with and for my girls because, hey, that’s what this whole season is all about; being with your family, creating special memories, starting new traditions, and creating fun stuff just because…well, you can!
This edible project has been brewing in my lil’ old brain for quite some time and I’m pretty excited at how well it turned out. Lilly and Gracie *both* had a blast (which is awesome because sometimes it’s hard finding a project that a 3.5 year old AND a 1.5 year like equally as much), and it was a fun activity that resulted in a delicious treat.
I highly recommend making up a batch of these particular sugar cookies. They’re easy, delicious, and perfect for little hands to help decorate. Don’t give up on the dough! It may seem crumbly at first, but work and knead it with your hands and give it the full 30 minutes to set up in the fridge. It makes all the difference in the world! I don’t have room in my freezer to freeze the cut outs before they hit the oven so I pop them into the fridge for 10 minutes if I can. This just helps the cookies hold their shape and not spread.
My Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe
(adapted from Confetti Cakes, by Elisa Strauss)
2 1/3 plus 2 Tablespoons flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 room temperature egg
1. Mix together flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
2. Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla extract and egg with an electric mixer.
3. Add dry ingredients in two batches until dough comes together.
4. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead it with your hands until it can form a ball. Split the dough into four pieces and flatten each ball into a thick disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5. Take dough out of the fridge and roll it out, one ball at a time, onto a floured surface. You want the dough to be about 1/4 inch thick. If you like soft, cake like cookies, your dough can be a little bit thicker. If you like crispier sugar cookies, get as close to 1/4 inch thick as you can. Mine always end up somewhere in the middle.
6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for ten minutes. I use air bake cookie sheets (non-stick) but if you are worried about cookies sticking, use parchment paper or a silpat.
7. Let the cookies COOL COMPLETELY before you try to get them off of the baking sheet.
After your cookies are bake and COMPLETELY COOL, you can get to work on the coloring book part. This part requires the use of some type of fondant. If you can find it, I prefer Satin Ice to Wilton brand fondant, but either will do (I’ve found that kids actually like to eat fondant- go figure 😉 ). But my preferred coloring book surface of choice would definitely be homemade marshmallow fondant. If you’ve got the time and the willpower, make that instead (you just need marshmallows, water, and powdered sugar). Try out this video tutorial here.
Roll your fondant out nice and thing, and use your cookie cutters to cut out the same amount of shapes as you have cookies. Leave them alone for a moment and lightly brush the tops of each cookie with a mixture of water and vanilla extract (I just mixed a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract with a little bowl of water). This is your fondant “glue”. Before the vanilla water mixture dries, very, very, VERY gently, lift and remove the fondant shapes from their surface and transfer them to the top of your prepared cookies being careful not to pull or distort the fondant before getting it onto your cookie.
*The flatter you can keep your fondant once it’s on your cookies, the better. This will help with the next step.
At this point, you need to place your fondant covered cookies into an airtight container (don’t stack them) and let them be overnight. This will help the fondant set up a bit on top so it’s a good drawing surface.
In the morning, or after 10-12 hours, use a black Wilton Icing Writer/Food Writer (there are a few different brands floating around out there) to draw the outlines of whatever shapes you created. This is the fun part! I made the turkey out of a cupcake. Just stare at your shapes for awhile and see what they start to look like.
Once the black lines are dry, you are good to go! Hand them over to your kiddos with the food coloring markers and let them go to town!
(They even liked drawing on the cookies that didn’t have fondant, ha.)
Oh no! Marker on her finger tip! Catastrophe.
Any-whoo, I hope you give them a try- I’m planning a new batch for Christmas (I think this same project with Christmas Ornament shapes would be super cute). Post a picture of your littles on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram (@sweetersidemom) so I can share! Happy Holidays – for the first time this season! Woot woot!