I want to be the fun mom that loves to make sugar cookies with the kids at the drop of a hat. But, until recently, when the boys asked I shriveled up inside, as I tried to dodge the question and turn their attention to something else. The thought of making the dough and icing, all the while the boys begging if it is ready yet, made me not want to do it at all. I try to involve them in mixing the ingredients, but it does not hold their interest.
My disdain for making sugar cookies is not because I don’t like to bake, but because experience tells me my impatient little boys want to skip to the fun decorating part. And, who can blame them?! Frosting and sprinkles are fun. But, they aren’t so keen on decorating round cookies from a tube of pre-made dough, either. Oh no, they want to use the cookie cutters.
And, pudgy little hands are so cute pushing on cookie cutters.
So, I found a happy medium where I get to be the fun mom, often offering to make sugar cookies, and they get to the fun part as fast as possible. You might think my method is lazy, but I prefer to think of it as efficient. No need to spend lots of time on prep, when there are easy shortcuts.
I have 3 secrets for easy, make-anytime sugar cookies:
- Use store-bought refrigerated dough
- Wax paper is your friend
- Food coloring and store-bought frosting is quick and easy
The refrigerated stuff is meant to be sliced into round cookies and baked in the oven. You can’t roll it out easily straight from the tube. To get it ready to roll, add a generous dusting of floor to the dough and knead it between your hands to warm and soften it up. I usually work with a third of the dough at a time.
Flour is your friend here. It will make the dough workable. We also like to keep out a plate of flour to dip the cutters into before cutting the dough.
2. Wax Paper is Your Friend
I am a big fan of preventative steps that make clean up easier. Roll your cookie dough out between two layers of wax paper and you work surface and roller stay clean! To do it, lay down one sheet of wax paper. Add a dusting of flour. Put a ball of kneaded dough in the center. Dust the top with flour. Put a second piece of way paper over the dough ball. Roll out with the rolling-pin to your desired thickness.
Here is where the wax paper does double duty. Peel off the top layer of wax paper and pass the dough, still on the bottom sheet of the wax paper, to a little helper with cookie cutters. The kids can cut out the shapes right on the wax paper, then it can be reused to roll out more dough.
We do the traditional bells, candy canes, and snowflakes, but the boys always use their Star Wars cookie cutters, too.
3. Colored Frosting
There is no need to mess with sugary icing. Instead, buy a can of vanilla frosting and food coloring. Separate the frosting into several smaller bowls and make each a different color with food coloring. Kids will find the endless colors fun and the frosting easy to spread. Once they are done decorating, we leave the cookies out on cooling racks until the frosting hardens (a couple of hours).
This weekend starts our two-week winter break. You know what I say to that…bring on the sprinkles! Wasn’t that easy? We have made several batches of sugar cookies so far this season and never once have I felt like saying no to my boys pleas to make them.