Let's eat!

Hi. My name's Carol, and I love food. No, you don't understand. I love food. If I were on the Titanic, I'd be in the galley (kitchen) eating up the chocolate pudding and the roasted quail. I go to most events, activities and parties just for the food. The company and the conversation are secondary. Here, I'll try to document everything that goes into my mouth. Aren't we excited? Oh, hey, are you gonna eat that?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Whatever You Have Sugar Cookies

It all started when my son asked how to making frosting out of the blue last Wednesday. I was busy then, so I promised him we'd do a proper frosting lesson. Next thing you know, I'm doing laundry up in my bedroom with the TV on when Giada de Laurentiis's cooking show comes on and she's making Animal Sugar Cookies with Basic Frosting. I'd seen this rerun before, it's for her daughter Jade's first birthday party, but it came on at just the right moment.

I knew there was a simple recipe that broke down frosting into four basic components: a fat (butter), a flavoring (vanilla), a sweet (powdered sugar), and a liquid (water, milk, or cream). I just couldn't find it online; almost every frosting recipe there was very involved with a million tons of powdered sugar and fancified techniques (whipped egg whites?).

I gave my son an option on the frosting: water or cream? He wisely chose cream. It really does have more flavor. Otherwise, our baking lesson was fairly straightforward. He was neat, attentive, and rolled out dough/cut out shapes cleaner than I ever did.

This recipe's cool because you can use a basic Pillsbury sugar dough, with some additional flour and let your children go to town. They can do pretty much anything the recipe calls for, and my son did.

What I enjoy about the frosting recipe in particular is that you can play with the amount of powdered sugar and cream. Unless you have a scale, you have some leeway as to the interpretation of a pound of powdered sugar. We started off with 2 1/2 cups, then my son just added 1/4 cup extra, until he tasted more sweet and less butter. It taught him measurements and instinct.

He got really excited about coloring the frostings his way. After I told him that rainbow might turn into brown, he went ahead and mixed up very vibrant colors in red, green, and blue. Red can be difficult. You need to use a lot of it for red red. He wound up with fuschia. But it's all good.

We didn't have animal cookie cutters. Just a mishmash of way too large gingerbread men, hearts and flowers, and little teeny stars, a chili pepper, and random stuff like that. We used what we had. It was fun.

About a third of the way in, frosting the cooled sugar cookies, he got tired, and I finished up.

We liked our baking lesson so much -- and James loved that he had leftover blue-green frosting for snacking on the rest of this week -- we plan on continuing it on a semi-weekly basis. Next Saturday, we may bake banana bread.

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