Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Joy of Baking

Baking is fun for all ages. M and I love an afternoon spending baking or cooking. It's really great to watch M grow and develop more skills when to baking. She used to watch and attempt to help pour ingredients into the bowl. Today she was so great that she even poured a couple of things in all by herself! It's a great activity to let your little one help with counting, identifying different ingredients, following directions, understanding the order things must be done in, and even up to reading.
Today we decided to take a break from our usually brownies and even from chocolate chip cookies and take a stab at shortbread cookies. This turned out to be a great idea. These cookies do not have a lot of sugar in them (no hyper little girl is a good thing for me) and we were able to use cookie cutters to make shapes. After 15 minutes, these cookies were baked and ready for a short cool down. We took a couple outside (a nice beautiful day!) and ate the crumbly cookies without worrying about a mess.

Here's the recipe we used:

Shortbread Cookies
Martha Stewart Living, December 2009
  • Yield Makes 12 to 14 large cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Wisk together flour and salt. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, and continue to beat until pale and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides of bowl, about 2 minutes more. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed, scraping sides if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers.
  2. Turn out dough, forming into 2 disks; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll out 1 disk to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out shapes using desired cookie cutter, and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Reroll scraps. Repeat with remaining disk. Indent cookies with desired stamps. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Bake until firm and golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
With a little girl who is all about seeing results I skipped the part where you are supposed to cool the dough in the fridge. The dough was a little sticky and we had to work fast. After we rolled out the dough and cut the shapes, I used a little spatula to scoop them onto the cookie sheet because otherwise they would squish. That wouldn't have happened if we had cooled them, but it still worked. Next time we're going to try food colouring and maybe some icing to decorate them. What are your favourite recipes for baking with your little one? Can't wait to read some of your comments!!!

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