In the spirit of keeping busy doing fun things while staying at home, and not doing the same things over and over again, today we baked cookies cutting them into sweet spring shapes with the Easter cut-outs I bought at Coles two years ago in Australia but never managed to use. These not-too-sweet sugar cookies turned out beautifully, especially painted with a simple powdered sugar icing.
I riffed off a recipe for “healthy sugar cookies” posted on Amy’s yummytoddlerfood.com site — full disclosure, I upped the sugar from 2 tablespoons to a 1/4 cup and doubled the recipe. I also used white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose to make up for that extra bit of sweetness. Still, these are still significantly less sugary than usual sugar cookie recipes, but my kids still love them. I also love that there’s no egg required as I’m carefully counting out my eggs to make them last through the weekend’s holiday baking and egg-coloring. We’re trying to go to the store not more than once a week (or every 10 days or so) which is harder than it should be. Is anyone else eating more while at home? I cook most meals mostly every day so there’s not a big change there — and yet, I feel like I’m cooking more than usual.
It also feels a bit like we’ve gone back to “desert time” — that slowed down, slower paced version of life I remember from living in the Middle East. Thankfully we are not also experiencing 100 degree+ temperatures but there is something familiar about the cadence of the days now spent very close to home. It is not something I mind exactly — in a way it’s soothing — but it’s certainly surprising as I thought I’d never experience it again! My girls may wish for more activity but I do think there is a part of them that is loving having both parents at home all the time, with our time spent between reading and learning inside and playing and running around outside.
And baking of course. I’ve been doing a bit of a proper Sunday dinner in the last month — roast chicken and vegetables, this weekend lamb and sides for Easter — complete with a dessert, usually a cake. I told my husband today that the way we’ll get through this time is probably through eating a lot and if so let it be good things like homemade bread and chocolate cake and nibbly cookies here and there. We’re just doing our best and all.
To make these egg-free cookies vegan, substitute solidified coconut oil or non-dairy margarine in place of the butter.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies depending on what kind of cookie cutters you use.
2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
4 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place all ingredients into a bowl and use a rubber spatular or wooden spoon to mix together. If needed, add a few more drops of milk to bring it together. At this stage I like to use my hands to knead it into a smooth dough.
Make a flattened disc of dough and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate while the oven preheats.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll the dough about 1/4-inch thick between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper. We made ours thicker, more like a 1/2-inch so it would be easier for little hands.
Cut out the dough with a cookie cutter and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-9 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Thicker cookies will take longer to bake!
Remove from the oven, let cool on the baking sheet for a minute, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make a quick icing, mix 1/4-cup powdered sugar with a few drops of milk and food coloring. Add more sugar if it is too thin to spread. Paint onto the cookies with a clean paintbrush.