Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Kids and Holiday Cooking

Have you gotten into cooking with your kids yet? I know it can be tough especially if you're a busy working mom like me, but I'm pretty sure this is one of the best ways to build memories and relationships with your kiddos.  Christmas time is also a great excuse to cook with sugar.  Hopefully your family has lots of parties to attend and food to bring.  Introduce your kiddos to cooking, with a kid favorite....cookies!  This should get them hooked to the fun to be had in the kitchen.  
Me and my girls will be making these and taking them to our annual Family Christmas Party held at my sisters this year in Payson.  I usually use my moms recipe which calls for 2 sticks of butter! It's delicious and flaky and filled with warm Christmas memories but this year I am determined to use a healthier alternative and can't wait to WOW my siblings with this healthier version of a family favorite!

for the cookies
1 ¼ c all-purpose flour (measured correctly), plus more for rolling 
¾ tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, room temperature 
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp butter extract
½ c + 2 tbsp granulated sugar

for the icing
5 tbsp powdered (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp skim milk
1 tiny drop red food coloring

  1. To prepare the cookies, whisk together the 1 ¼ cups of flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg, vanilla extract, and butter extract. Stir in the sugar. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Shape the dough into a 1”-thick rectangle. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. On a well-floured surface, roll out the chilled dough until 1/8” thick. Lightly flour a 3” tall heart-shaped cookie cutter and press into the dough, making sure each heart lays as close to its neighbors as possible to minimize unused dough. Peel the unused dough away from the hearts, and place the hearts onto the prepared baking sheets. Reroll the unused dough, and repeat.
  4. Bake the heart-shaped dough at 350°F for 10-13 minutes. (The rerolled dough generally requires a little less time.) Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To prepare the icing, stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and food coloring in a small bowl. Spoon into a zip-topped bag, and snip off the corner. Pipe onto the cooled cookies.
Notes: I highly recommend using butter extract because it gives them the stereotypical buttery sugar cookie flavor without the excess fat and calories. An additional 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract may be substituted in its place. 

The first round of cookies may bake slower (closer to 11-13 minutes), whereas the rerolled cookie dough seems to bake faster (9-10 minutes). Keep a close eye on your cookies because ovens do vary!
*recipe found @ "Skinny Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookies"