Baking with the Girlies

Every once in a while it’s fun to bake with the kids. I say once in a while because if I had to do it all the time, my kitchen would be a mess and nothing would ever get baked. But it was Chanukah and after our trip up north, I decided that it was finally time to take the plunge and bake cookies with the Little Rocker (now 6) and Squeaker (who should probably be renamed the Independent Minded Troublemaker but I wouldn’t want to give her a label 😉 ).

6th night of Chanukah
6th night of Chanukah

We had left early in the morning to go to the Hula Valley. It’s about a 2 hour car ride, but no traffic all the way :). Squeaker has been in a bit of a bird craze, where every site of a bird sparks an insistent “Birlie birlie!!” Conveniently, we pass a park every morning where an old lady brings bread scraps for the pigeons and we get to watch the birds eat bread every morning. Always an exciting moment.

Squeaker Looks Out
Squeaker Looks Out
The ladies enjoy.
The ladies enjoy.

The Little Rocker has been learning about the fall/winter in science class, and one of the major topics that kids learn about in Israel is the migration of the birds. They focus a lot on the Hula Nature Reserve and the kinds of birds that migrate through there every season. So it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a trip.

Rocker Dude teaches the Little Rocker
Rocker Dude teaches the Little Rocker

The trip was a success, Squeaker was in an absolute “birlie-birlie” frenzy and the Little Rocker got to use her new binoculars that she received as a Chanukah present from the grandparents and Rocker Dude got to drive a golf cart – so fun all around!

Practicing with her new binoculars.
Practicing with her new binoculars.

When we got home, I decided that after such a fun day, I had the patience to make sugar cookies – complete with sprinkles (no icing, let’s not get ahead of ourselves). Also all the Christmas cookie pictures were making me envious.

You can kind of see the flocks of cranes behind the family.
You can kind of see the flocks of cranes behind the family.

I had made the sugar cookie dough a few days before and it was sitting in the fridge just waiting for us. I pulled out my box of 100 cookie cutters and set the girls to work picking out which ones they would use.

After cutting out the first batch the girls got to the sprinkles, which may have been a mistake.  All of a sudden I noticed that instead of putting colored sugar on the cookies, Squeaker was just putting it in her mouth.  Let’s just say that bedtime was rough that night and complete with a lot of jumping on the bed. So after the first batch, complete with sprinkles all over the floor, I decided that the girls had enough of sprinkles and the second batch was left plain. Patience only goes so far.

Cookies galore!
Cookies galore!

The cookies came out perfectly.  They kept their shape wonderfully and the flavor was just right. The girls could not get enough of them. The Little Rocker wanted to bring in the whole batch for her classmates. That wasn’t going to happen – I wanted cookies too!

The end result.
The end result.

By the time dinner and bath time were over, we had two batches of letters, dogs, bats, flowers and bone cookies to eat for dessert. Yum!

Recipe (From Martha Stewart):
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to a week. The dough keeps well in the freezer for up to three months.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment. Remove one dough disk; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out 1/8 inch thick, dusting dough with flour as needed. Cut shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake, rotating halfway through, until edges are golden, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on size). Cool completely on wire racks. Decorate as desired.

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