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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Ninth Day of Catmas

Arthur. Who is oddly a girl.
But she seems okay with the Santa hat.
Here's a fun idea for your children's friends and their families.
The Great Cookie Party has been a tradition over here since elementary school, and all of the kids look forward to it every year.
It's just gotten...weird.
 But you still have to smile when your cookie crew includes kids you've loved for years.
 First, choose a nice rainy day.
 We're making two basic doughs, and this is where it gets fun! Please note that they both bake at the same temperature for the same amount of time, so that will slash the chaos a little.
Not much, mind you.

Gingerbread Dudes
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 c. molasses
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
4 c. flour (unsifted)
Combine the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Combine well.Add the melted butter, evaporated milk and molasses. Add the vanilla (use only pure vanilla - not imitation). Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly.
The dough should be stiff enough to handle without sticking to the fingers. Knead the dough until smooth, adding a little flour at a time, up to 1 cup, to prevent sticking.
When dough is smooth, roll it out 1/4-inch thick on a floured surface and cut it into cookies. To prevent having to add more flour, the dough may be rolled between sheets of wax or parchment paper, or on a silicone sheet using a silicone or fondant rolling pin (available in craft supply stores). The silicone pin may also be brushed with cake release or non-stick spray for easy rolling. Be sure dough is thoroughly chilled.
Bake on a lightly floured or greased or parchment lined cookie sheets in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Mix In Dough 
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar - lightly packed
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

Put the butter, both sugars, salt and the baking soda in a large mixing bowl and beat with a mixer for about 3 minutes. Blend in the eggs and vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed and add the flour gradually. (At this point, you will divide the dough up and do the mix ins.) Bake at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes on an un-greased cookie sheet.

 Gingerbread dough
 You'll also want smaller bowls for each Cookie Crew member...
...and varied decorations and mix ins.
 Peppermints, nuts, red hots, M&Ms, chocolate chips, sprinkles galore!
We even used some zombie eyes on a couple of the gingerbread men.
No pictures, sorry. We're not here to scare people.
Scoop the basic dough into individual bowls and let your artisans create their own combinations of flavors.

 Try and reserve some of the dough for actual baking.
(You'll only want to bake about half of what each child has made.)
 Roll out the gingerbread dough on a lightly floured surface and make some basic figures with cookie cutters.
Then go wild with the details.
At the end of this, package the baked cookies to go home, but also pop some of their individual doughs in ziplock bags so they can take the fun home with them to share! Simply scrawl, 
"Bake at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes" on the bag ahead of time.
The kids know how to do the rest.
And you, by the way, now have a rather eclectic assortment of sweets to set out.


Dharma said...

Looks like fun! We have a cookie baking day with Gramma every year. Funny how the kids never seem to get too old for this, huh? I think our cookies ended up being just as ugly as yours but just as tasty :)

Musings from Kim K. said...

I love your teen version of cookie baking. Awesome pictures. Those cookies ROCK!

Heather{Our Life In a Click} said...

Looks like a lot of fun!!!

lisbonlioness said...

Only at your place... Arthur the queen cat with a Santa hat, a threat to the grinch and questionable paternity all around the same cookie sheet. Help me Rhonda. Can I move in?

Michelle @ Dream Home DIY said...

What a fun tradition you guys have here :0)

Sherri B. said...

I needed a good recipe for gingerbread men, I mean "dudes" as I have never made them (as I hear gasping). You do everything so well that I will trust your recipe.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Looks like a great deal of fun! You must be the very favorite mom.(-:

tina said...

lol Jake's family does cookies every year, and they get pretty wild

Heather said...

Looks like tons of fun!

Olive said...

Very brave of you to do gingerbread cookies without chilling that dough. I chill it for at least 24hours before I wrestle with it as that helps it roll out so much easier. Those teen minions are too know they have so much fun at your house they may never want to leave...just like my college kid who wants to move back home.

red.neck chic said...

LOL I wanna come next year!!!

;-D Sounds like my kind of fun!


Michelle L. said...

Wow, that looks fun! Such a great tradition. You are totally THAT family in the best way ever.

Mel said...

and a good time was had by all!

Anonymous said...

Seriously. You have to be the coolest mom. I bet your kid's friends come over and can't wait to hang with Ms Sunny.
The Gingerbread Dudes are pretty sweet. ( no pun intended) :)
I'm pretty sure if we had a party like this that my boys would make them anatomically correct. #$???*!
Ah to be the mom to boys. There's nothing like it. :)

maggy, red ted art said...

Oh, I like the idea of sending them home with some cookie dough! What fun!

Thanks for linking up. Love seeing you and your fab crafts so regularly!


Ami Allison said...

MAN!!! I wanna go to your next cookie party!! That looks like fun!!! p.s. I saw a baby Carlos shirt! My hubby was Alan from the Hangover for Halloween!!! He looked GREAT!! Pics on my facebook page! :)