Sugar Cookies for Valentine’s Day

While the kids are outside playing in the gorgeous weather, I am going to whip up a Valentine’s Day treat for them…our favorite sugar cookies!  This is the recipe that my mother has used at Christmastime for as long as I can remember.  The picture below is from the test run I did last week!

cookie2

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 t. vanilla

1 egg

1 t. cream of tartar

1 cup margarine, softened

1/2 t. almond extract

2 1/2 cup flour

1 t. baking soda

Mix powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla, almond extract, and egg.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  I usually start with my Kitchenaid mixer and then finish mixing the dough by hand.  Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours.  When it comes out of the refrigerator, it may seem crumbly.  Mix it up and knead the dough by hand.  Roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. 

cookie

Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.  The longer they cook, the crispier they will be.  Cool on a baking rack. 

cookie1

Once completely cool, frost with your favorite frosting.

I usually use a buttercream frosting, but this time I am going to use a powdered sugar frosting pictured above.

Ingredients

2 cups powdered sugar

2 T. vanilla

2 T. milk

food coloring if desired

Mix the vanilla and milk and add powdered sugar.  Continue to mix until it is almost a pourable consistency but not quite. 

I also made a chocolate powdered sugar recipe.  Following the above directions, I just added 2 T. of cocoa powder to the powdered sugar before combining with the liquid. 

Once you cover the cookies with frosting (it will be messy!!), allow to dry for at least an hour.

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day treat?

Distinctive Kitchens Kid’s Club Cooking Classes

Distinctive Kitchens holds cooking classes of all kinds but I especially want to share the Kid’s Club classes with you.  I am so bummed that my kids aren’t old enough for these classes yet!  The classes are open for children who are in 4th to 8th grade.  Seating is limited to 15 people and registration is required.  Each student will get to make and taste recipes and they will get a recipe booklet! 

The next Kid’s Club Cooking Class is scheduled for Saturday, March 19, 2011.  Each class is from 11am-2pm and the cost is $39.95.  For more information, visit the Reservation Page.

Snickerdoodles – The easiest recipe ever!

Are you looking for a fun treat for your Valentine?  I made these with the kids the other day for the first time and they loved them!  This cookie is definitely not your traditional snickerdoodle, but they are so easy and the kids will think they are great!  The recipe is from the Gooseberry Patch Quick and Easy

Ingredients:

1 18 1/4 oz pkg yellow cake mix

2 eggs

1/4c oil

1 1/2 t. cinnamon

1/2 c sugar

Mix the cake mix, the eggs, and oil together.  I mixed in my Kitchen-Aid mixer, but I think you could probably just mix it by hand.  It will not look like cake batter…it will be more doughy.  Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and dip in cinnamon and sugar mixture.  This would make a great Valentine’s treat if you had pink or purple colored sugar!  Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

 The recipe makes 2.5-3.5 dozen depending on the size of the cookie.

It is no secret we love to cook together as a family.  As soon as I head to the kitchen my kids grab the dining room chairs to join me!  See another one of our favorite recipes to make together, Chex Caramel Corn.  Do you have a favorite recipe to make with your kids?

Rainy Day Baking

We love a good rain storm, but we were disappointed that they had to cancel so many outside activities yesterday because of it.  At Pensacola with Kids, we promote exploring Pensacola and the surrounding areas with your family but we also want to be a resource that promotes family time in general. 

When we realized that the rain was not going to let up, we decided to declare the day “Christmas Baking Day” and headed to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients.  My kids and I love to cook together.  As soon as I move to the kitchen, one of them will inevitably move a dining room chair into the kitchen so they can help! 

If your kids haven’t spent much time in the kitchen, be sure to go over the important ground rules before you get started (what they are allowed to touch, what is hot, etc).  I really like this Kraft website because it has a good list of top 10 safety rules for kids, but it also has a list of cooking skills by age if you aren’t sure where to get started. 

One of the recipes that we made yesterday was Chex® Caramel Corn from the Chex® Mix Recipe website.  Did you know that there were so very many different Chex® mix recipes?  Both of my children love the Caramel Corn recipe so we make it about once a month.  It stores well in an airtight container so it makes for a good treat throughout a busy week!

You can find the recipe for Chex® Caramel Corn here.  There are both oven and microwavable directions.  I prefer the oven directions.  My kids help pop the popcorn (we have an air popper and they love to watch the popcorn pop) and they measure and mix up the cereal and the popcorn.  I do everything else because it involves the stove top and the oven:  I cook the mixture, pour it over the cereal, and stir the mix while it is baking.  One of the new things that we tried this time, was to add food coloring to the mixture to give it a more festive look before it was poured on the Chex® mix. 

IMG_0325

This Chex® Mix recipe only needs to cook for 45 minutes.  You have to take it out of the oven every fifteen minutes to stir.  Make sure the kids are not near the oven when you open it!  We made one batch of green mix and one batch of red mix. 

IMG_0326 

Once the mix comes out of the oven, you are supposed to stir often so that it doesn’t all stick together.  This step is very important.  If you skip this step, you will have bars rather than Chex® Mix! 

IMG_0327

Once the Chex® Mix was cooled down, we mixed the red and green batches together, added M&M candies, and bagged them up to give to the family as gifts!  My kids like to add in the extras (M&Ms, pretzels, etc) and stir it all up once it has cooled down a bit.

IMG_0330