Regardless of the occasion, nothing beats a cookie painstakingly iced by your child. Better still, cookies are simply a great, heart-felt kid-to-dad Father’s Day treat.
So, for this Sunday, I am going to make cookies with Felix, to give to his dad. What kind of cookies? Sugar cookies — and not just your regular, everyday sugar cookies: Felix was recently gifted some plane, train and car cookie cutters that we can’t wait to use!
RECIPE: Sugar Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen
- ⅔ cup shortening
- ¾ cup sugar
- zest of a lemon
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 4 tsp of milk
- 2 cups flour
- 1-½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- Icing sugar
- Lemon juice
Cookie dough entices kids to the kitchen but also provides the opportunity for them to help — pouring, mixing, rolling, adding icing, there is so much that they can do. Little or big, kids really feel they did most of the work. It’s great fun, and a great confidence booster.
Start by assembling your ingredients. If your kids are older, you can let them help measure. You’ll need (see above): ⅔ cup vegetable shortening, ¾ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste), one egg, 4 teaspoons milk, 2 cups flour, 1-½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.
For sugar cookies, I like to add the zest of one lemon, but this is optional; you can also use an orange or lime. Teach your kids to grate off only the exterior and not the bitter pith.
To start, cream together the sugar and shortening in a medium bowl using a hand mixer.
Now, add lemon zest, vanilla, egg and milk.
Combine, with the hand mixer.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, slowly adding them to the wet mixture a bit at a time. I used the hand mixer on med-low speed. Combine ’till a ball of dough forms.
You can finish shaping the dough by hand, on a lightly floured cutting board.
Divide the dough in two, and wrap it. Chill wrapped dough in the fridge for one hour.
Remove the dough and preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough to about ⅛ inch thick. Using cookies cutters, cut out whatever shapes you like. Put the dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for 7-8 minutes, or until the edges brown lightly.
For the icing, I just keep it simple with my son. I mix about 3-4 tablespoons icing sugar with about 1-½ teaspoons lemon or lime juice, until I get a thick paste. (Note: you don’t want this too thick, or it will drip off the cookies.)
Now, add food colouring and… voilà!
Add sparkles or other decorations. Leave the cookies out until the tops are completely dry. For storage, stack into a sealed container.
Get your assistant to eat one of each shape before you give them to dad. Just to give them a proper test run — you want them to be perfect, after all! Yes, you can have some, too.
Sue Riedl is a Toronto-based food writer with a passion for cheese who writes a column called The Spread for The Globe and Mail. She loves to push stinky cheese on her 3-year-old.
by Sue Riedl