It's the holidays and so we're going to be in the kitchen a little more than we already usually are. Today we're not just making sugar cookies, we're making SURPRISE sugar cookies! And it was all Alli's idea.
Friday, December 11, 2020
Holiday Treats - Alli's Surprise Sugar Cookies
It started when she was watching YouTube Kids on her iPad.
Alli - Daddy... Can we make sugar cookies?
Joe - Sure Alli, we can make sugar cookies some time.
A week or so goes by and Alli shows Theresa her iPad.
Alli - Mommy! Daddy says that we can make Surprise Sugar Cookies!
Theresa - Does Daddy know it's a Surprise Sugar Cookie and not just a regular sugar cookie?
For the record, I did not.
But Alli is super excited about making them and I'm not going to back down from a challenge in the kitchen. We waited until Thanksgiving Break when we'd have some free time to get through all the steps. I didn't realize that she hasn't been watching anything on YouTube Kids for a week because she didn't want to lose the video.
Alli loves to be doing anything in the kitchen so she's going to be doing all the different steps. And this is going to be a long write-up because there's a bunch of different steps to making these cookies from scratch.
Our first job is to make the sugar cookie dough. Since we're watching a video from The Icing Artist, we might as well use her recipes too. Sugar Cookies are pretty simple. Sugar, butter, flour, vanilla, egg, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Alli unwrapped our butter and tossed it into the bowl.
And then measured out 1 cup of sugar.
We mixed together the butter, sugar, and vanilla on high speed. Alli scraped down the sides halfway through. It's always tempting to lick the spatula, especially when you know it's something delicious.
After adding the egg, we mixed everything on high again for another minute.
For our dry ingredients, Alli whisked together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then added it into the mixer.
We're making a couple different colors, so we split the dough into two and then added food coloring. We've got a few different choices for colors, but Alli wants to turn this into Christmas colors. Green and Red it is!
These need to sit in the fridge for a couple hours (for us it will be over-night), in order for the butter to solidify again. We wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them away until the next day.
In the morning after we woke up:
Alli - Daddy, can we make the cookies now?
I was reading ahead on what we needed for the icing. Sugar cookies are made with Royal Icing, but the Royal Icing recipe from theicingartist.com says to use meringue powder. I don't have that in my pantry, so we're going to need to find an alternative.
Alton Brown to the rescue! His recipe for Royal Icing uses pasteurized egg whites instead of meringue powder. Perfect! I don't have pasteurized eggs, but I can make them!
Alli - What does pasteurized mean?
Another opportunity for a science lesson!
By heating the egg up to 140F for 3-5 minutes, we'll kill off any bad bacteria that might make us sick. It'll kill the bad bugs but it won't actually cook the eggs. After our time in the hot water was finished, Alli dunked it in ice water to cool it down. We'll use those eggs in a little while.
Our dough has cool down and it's time to roll out some cookies! And look who has decided to join us. Hi Ian! This is Alli's show, so he told her "Alli, just tell me what you want me to do."
On a floured surface we rolled out the dough.
And we're cutting out all the different shapes for our cookies. Alli and Ian have looked through our collection of cookie cutters and have chosen their shapes. Ian wants a star. Figures for the space boy.
Our first batch of cookies is ready for the oven. Eight minutes at 375F and these will be ready to cool. The scraps are gathered and then sent back into the fridge to chill again.
Next it's time for the green dough.
Alli - Ian, you can roll out the green dough.
Each of our surprise cookies requires 3 layers. Two whole layers and then a middle layer with a hole cut out of it.
Alli wants to do it all on her own? No problem! There's just enough room for these four different shapes. These will be regular sugar cookies instead of our Surprise sugar cookies.
Using the spatula to transfer the cookies onto the parchment. It's a little tricky. Colder dough is more stiff, but it also cracks when you try to roll it. Warmer dough rolls easily, but the shape distorts when you try to pick it up. She did a good job keeping everything together.
While the cookies cool, it's time to make our Royal Icing. The ingredients are simple. Pasteurized egg whites, confectioners sugar, and vanilla.
Mix it all together and you've got an icing that will go on smooth and then dry hard.
But who just wants plain old white? Dipping back into our bag of food coloring that usually only comes out at Easter, I had the kids pick three more colors. Blue, Pink, and Yellow made the cut.
I scraped what I could into ziplock bags and gave the leftovers to the kids.
It's time to decorate!
We've got a line of cookies ready for filling and a whole bunch of different kinds of sprinkles to fill them.
To start, Alli is using the icing to make a ring around the outside. Ian is watching intently.
Then with one of the whole cookies, you match it up.
Ian's got his star going with a yellow/orange icing to seal it.
And now it's time for the surprise. Inside of each these cookies will be a hoard of sprinkles, just waiting to fall out once the cookie is bitten into. Better make sure we eat these someplace where we can make a mess.
Oh boy. Those little sprinkles are going to make a giant mess.
I like the use of the Mickey sprinkles inside that cookie Alli.
After getting filled with sprinkles, it's time for another ring of royal icing.
Then it gets topped off with another cookie. Perfect! Our surprise is set!
Once everything had dried, it's time to decorate the outsides. These Christmas trees are getting ornaments for decoration.
Theresa is getting into the spirit by decorating a star.
Ian - Daddy, we need black for the Mickey.
And so another color was made with the leftover blue and more food coloring. Now we've got black. That's a really cute Mickey face buddy. He squeezed extra into the ears and then used a toothpick to spread it out.
Meanwhile Alli is decorating her Minnie cookie.
With some of the scraps, I made some extra pieces, including these Minnie bows. I love how she even made eyelashes for her.
And then used a toothpick to spread out the ears. But then came the white. It's a little more runny than the other colors, and we probably should have let the black "set" before trying to add the white.
But either way, the kids had fun with the whole thing.
Alli, I loved that you saw the YouTube video and wanted to make them too!
Here's most of our surprise cookies. I made the red and black Mickey in the middle.
And with the scraps of leftover dough, I combined the colors in some interesting ways and made regular sugar cookies too.
And finally a couple of our more colorful cookies with sprinkle decorations on the outside.
Let's eat them!
Alli - Ian, can I have your green Christmas Tree cookie?