This week's helpful tip is for all you moms and dads out there trying to teach some useful cooking skills to your exuberant children. (That's the joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic kind of child. Like the ones I have.)
Here it is:
Let Go of Perfection
I see adults struggle with this all the time when they try to teach kids to make cookies of equal size, or put the perfect number of sprinkles on brownies, or even squeeze cookie dough out of an impromptu cookie press.
(She points her finger at the photo below.)
Pressed cookies have always amazed me. They come out the same every time and never bake into each other. I even tend to enjoy eating a good Spritz every now and again. (They don't have chocolate and therefore aren't for regular consumption.)
The kids wondered why they were so crispy. I generally tend to make my cookies on the moist side of cookie-dom. To me, a hard cookie means it's an old cookie. Not so with these little beauties. With a Spritz, crunchy is acceptable.
I had visions of perfectly shaped, little Spritz Cookies that tasted as good as they looked. Yeah, that didn't happen.
If I'd had a proper cookie press (hint hint) I would have let them keep trying with that. But alas, I am press-less. Therefore my Spritz will never be perfect. (I watch my dreams float away like purple balloons against the winter sky.)
When all else fails, improvise, right? In the case of the cookies above the kids couldn't get the dough out in a pretty shape. The dough was too thick and they have small hands. So I let them destroy the look of the dough to get it out of the bag and then they pressed shapes into the tops of the blobs.
So while they didn't turn out as uniform and beautiful as I had envisioned, we did have a really good time together in the kitchen.
Through this experiment, I'm hoping my kids picked up on the idea of persistence, thinking outside the box (or cookie press,) and enjoying the benefits of seeing a project through to the end. I was reminded that it is more important to enjoy our time together and the creative process than it is to bake the perfect treat. If nothing else came of the night, least we got to eat cookies.
Click here to print this recipe.
makes 24 cookies
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
2 1/4 cups flour
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the sugar, butter, egg, salt, vanilla, and almond flavoring together until it is light and fluffy.
3. Add the flour. Mix until well incorporated.
4. Use a cookie press to form your cookies. Or, roll them into balls, flatten them with the bottom of a cup and stamp with a pattern.
5. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.
6. If you wish to add sprinkles, put them on right after you pull the cookies out of the oven.