“Do you want to make cookies with me?” I asked my four-year-old nephew the other day.
Caden: “I know how to make cookies. You take them out of the package and put them in the oven.”
I started laughing. “Well, that is one way to make cookies, but that’s not how Aunt Joy makes cookies,” I replied.
I can understand why busy parents use the refrigerator cookies. It’s easy and not messy that way.
But I’ve had some spare time this week in Pennsylvania, and I wanted to make Christmas cookies. My father-in-law had two requests: pecan sandies and snickerdoodles. Both recipes are simple to make.
I thought it would be fun to get the kids involved in baking since it’s something I always enjoyed doing with my mother and grandmothers when I was young. I usually see my niece and nephew twice a year since we live far apart. Often, they act shy and only want to play games or swim in the pool if it’s summertime.
This time, my nephew seemed fairly receptive to the idea of helping me. He donned a blue apron and pulled up a footstool while his six-year-old sister took a nap on the couch since she wasn’t feeling well.
Caden helped me measure the ingredients as best he could. Some of the flour and sugar ended up on the kitchen floor, but “grandpa” repeatedly cleaned up after us later. As soon as we finished the first batch of pecan sandies, Caden wanted to make another.
|Caden helped add the flour and pecans to the mixing bowl.|
Both cookie doughs needed to be chilled before we could roll them into small balls and bake them. We waited until the next day to bake the cookies. Then, Kendra, my niece, was feeling better and she helped us too.
|The three of us rolled the Snickerdoodles into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.|
Baking with the kids was a fun way to spend a few hours. Most of the family members were gathered in the kitchen while we were baking the cookies too. My husband was taking pictures for me.
That’s what I enjoy most about the holidays - coming together. This often seems to happen in the kitchen. The sharing of stories, laughing and enjoying just being together. Someday I’ll probably be teaching my own children how to bake cookies.
(Adapted from “The New Cookbook” published by Better Homes and Gardens, 1972 edition)
8 oz. unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. All-purpose flour, sifted
1 c. pecans, chopped
As needed powdered sugar
1. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar together in the mixing bowl.
2. Add the water and vanilla. Mix well.
3. Then, add the flour and nuts and mix until incorporated.
4. Let the dough chill for at least one hour before rolling into small balls.
5. Preheat the oven to 325F/160C.
6. Place the balls on an ungreased sheet tray and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cookies are slightly golden on the bottom.
7. Remove from the tray and let cool slightly. Then, roll the warm cookies into a bowl of powdered sugar until lightly coated.
|A shot of the finished pecan sandies before they were consumed.|