Now, we're not talking about the typical confections that one could bake at Christmas - you know the ones I'm talking about - fudge, bourbon balls, thumbprints, lace, etc. There's only one kind of cookie that is on the agenda for this day - SUGAR COOKIES...with lots of soft gooey icing and sprinkles!
The fun starts the night before...somebody has to make all that dough! The two oldest grandchildren (19 and 17 years) come over and start the baking in the evening. Grandpa and Kyle are a team, and Kellie and I team up. We make 4 batches of dough, as there are 9 grandchildren who love sugar cookies too! Did I mention that Kellie and I make prettier cookies and...we are faster too?? Duh!
We use a tried and true sugar cookie recipe that Dave got from my nephew's wife Roberta:
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
6 cups flour
We chill the dough for about 30 minutes before rolling it out to 1/4 inch thick and cutting the shapes.
We bake for 9 minutes in a 375 degree oven. They look rather pasty, but they make a nice soft cookie.
Over the years I have collected a lot cookie cutters - tin, copper, plastic...all shapes and sizes. I even found some alphabet shapes, so that each grandchild can have there own initial in cookie dough!
I think the pool table in our family room gets more use as a buffet table, a place to fold the laundry, a nice big surface to cut out a dress pattern, rather than a game of 9-Ball. On Cookie Day, it gets covered with brown paper. I mark off a square for each child and as they make their little creations, they put them in their own designated square.
I also cover the kitchen table with a plastic table cloth for the decorating. I used to think that the older the kids got, the neater they would be. Not so...by the end of the day, the kitchen is a disaster...there are sprinkles everywhere and frosting in places I wouldn't expect, etc.
The morning of Cookie Day, I make the icing. I use a recipe that I have always used to frost cakes (even my wedding cakes back in the day!) as nobody seems to like that hard crusty frosting typical of store bought sugar cookies.
2 boxes XXX sugar
2 cubes butter
2 tsps vanilla
1/2 cup milk
pinch salt, if the butter is unsalted
Beat the crap out of it! I also add a touch of corn syrup to thin as necessary.
I make 4 batches for all those cookies, as I hate to run out...and because much of the icing ends up sticking to fingers, smeared on the chairs and down in the tummies. I use Wilton's cake colors of red and green, along with some white, pink, blue and "brown". The icing goes in bowls with little appetizer knives for the little hands. I also fill some plastic cake decorating cones with icing for "squeezing" on added color (be sure to close them at the ends with rubber bands, otherwise the frosting is all over the place). I also collect sprinkles of all kinds, but this year I decided to use what I already had on hand.
As the kids have gotten older, the intensity has gone up a notch or two. They work very hard on creating unique designs and colorful combinations. That is, until they start getting bored with it all. Parents often jump in to help.
After several hours the pool table is covered with sweet confections...colorful and imaginative cookies that they get to take home!! Of course, the price of admission to Grandpa's Cookie Day is that Grandpa gets a square on the table too, and every child must "donate" one of their creations.
Laurel. Leaving the mess for Grandpa:)