Friday, December 23, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

Would the holidays be complete without some gingerbread cookie decorating with the kids? I don't think so!

Oliver loves baking and using the mixer, but I could not fathom making dough, letting it refrigerate, rolling it out, and decorating a million cookies with a two year-old. So, I took the kids out to the grocery store for refrigerated dough. I had the choice between a giant package of Pillsbury or a smaller package of all-natural cookies by Immaculate Baking Company. They were the same price, but I didn't want to be overloaded with cookies anyway. I went with the natural cookie dough. As a bonus, it came with a packet of decorating sugar, which we sprinkled on the icing later.

I worried the cookies wouldn't work because they were pre-formed into drop cookies for easy baking. I just took the lot of them and mashed them together into a ball for rolling. It wasn't a problem at all! Here's my helper rolling out the dough. Take note that my other helper is snoozing in the chair behind him:

Then came the fun part: the cookie cutters! We picked these up from Hobby Lobby yesterday. Their Christmas stuff was on sale for 50% off, so we bought a package of two gingerbread men cutters for $2.

Oliver thought the cookie cutter part was OK. He does it a lot with Play-Doh, so it's kind of lost its luster. As I punched out most of the cookies, Oliver stole little tastes.

The cookies swelled a lot during baking, and their shapes were pretty unrecognizable. I've had that happen with rolled cookies before, but it might have happened with the refrigerated dough because they were made to be drop cookies. No matter! I went back over them with the cookie cutters. It worked like a charm!

Once the cookies were cool, Oliver and I got busy decorating. I took the shortcut again and bought pre-made icing in a decorating bag. It was a little pricey at $3, but, sometimes, it's worth it to pay for conveniences. This was one of those times!

Oliver paused to sample a cookie:

The bag was difficult for him to squeeze, so I squirted a small amount into a bowl for him to use to decorate.

Decorating with one hand and eating a cookie with another:

Back to the squeeze bag:

Oliver decided to sample the icing, too. No wonder this kid wouldn't nap again today! I'm pretty sure 80% of his diet today was sugar.

Our finished cookies:

I have to take a moment to rave about these cookies. Their flavor was out of this world. I could taste the molasses. They really, truly tasted homemade. I don't think we would have made a better finished product if we went through the effort of making them ourselves. I decided they were good enough for gifts! We made tags for four of them to give to each of Oliver's grandparents. I let Oliver color the tags. He's pretty good at that stuff.

The final product:

Parents of toddlers, if you have loads of patience and deal well with messes, I highly recommend taking a few hours for some cookie makin' and bakin'. We had loads of fun!

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