If this weekend’s winter weather still has you wanting for some indoor snuggle time with your little ones, plan an afternoon activity sure to sweeten your season.
Cooking with your kids is an excellent way to not only bond with your Boston Baby, but kill two birds with one stone (cooking a meal and entertaining your munchkin). It also serves as the perfect plan for an afternoon indoors.
Since this is the week to show loved ones you care, Boston Babies wanted to supply you with this easy and fun family friendly recipe for Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies. It can serve as a scrumptious dessert, thoughtful “thank you” treat for your children’s teachers and childcare providers or simply a project to participate in with your little ones.
See below for the ingredients and steps needed to create these personalized cookies:
*Curtesy of Williams-Sonoma
*Healthier options or substitutions noted
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks/185g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
*can substitute with margarine
- 1 cup (250g) sugar
- food coloring gel (optional)
*use 1-3 drops of red food coloring to create pink cookies below; perfect for Valentine’s Day
- 1 egg
*can substitute with egg beaters
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preparation: Dough Mixture
*Boston Babies suggests prepping the dough mixture the night before. This divides the “work time” and attention span for your little one and allows you to have an afternoon activity ready to go for the next day!
- Over a small bowl, sift together the flour and the salt (*optional). Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed for 2 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to medium, slowly add the sugar and a few drops of food coloring gel and beat for 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Stop the mixer and add half the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed. Add the remaining flour and continue beating until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 2 equal balls. Shape each into a disk and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Process: Cookie Cutter Time!
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 3/16 or 1/4 inch (4.5 to 6mm).
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
- If you want to “personalize” your cookies (and have the cookie cutter kit from Williams-Sonoma):
- Slide your selected message into the cookie cutters.
- Dip the cutters into flour just before using and cut out the shapes.
- Hold each cutter over a prepared baking sheet and depress the plunger to remove the cutout shape. At this point, the plunger will also imprint the message on the tops of the cookies.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Gather up the scraps, re-roll them and cut out additional cookies.
- Refrigerate the cookies until firm, 20-30 minutes.
It is just as effective if you place the cookie cutter in the dough, press down for the shape, and then press down again on the plunger for the message before picking up the cutter and gently moving the excess dough away from your cookie and using a small spatula to pick up the cookie and place it on the cookie sheet. If you do not wish to personalize your cookies, you can just use the cutters to cut out the shape, without pushing down for the message. In addition, simple heart cookie cutters can be found anywhere, such as at Williams-Sonoma and Crate and Barrel.
Finale: Baking and Cooling
- Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges, 12-15 minutes.
- If baking more than one sheet at a time, switch the sheets between the racks and rotate them 180 degrees halfway through baking.
- Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies directly onto the racks and let cool completely.
- Decorate as desired (or leave the cookies plan, pretty and slightly healthier!)
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Makes 12-15 cookies.