Family traditions with grandkids are always fun. When the traditions are with your long distance grandkids it can help create extra special family memories that seem to transcend the distance between you. One special tradition my long distance grandkids and I enjoy every time we get together is baking and decorating easy sugar cookies, complete with a wide variety of cookie cutters, frosting, icing, sprinkles, confetti, and anything else granny nanny can find.
Since I am not working in my own kitchen, and time is often short, I take the uber short method and, instead of making one of the great sugar cookie recipes from scratch, I "cheat" and buy PIllsbury slice n bake cookie dough. (Notice the pretty red icing – lovely for Rednesday.)
In past years, the grand kids and I enjoyed rolling out the sugar cookie dough, cut it into different shapes with cute holiday cookie cutters, then adding frosting or icing to the cookies and decorating the cookies with glitter, sprinkles, etc. The problem was, the grandkids loved to put on a TON of all those goodies and it all morphed together into one gigantic, "hard candy" sugar cookie. It was tasty, intriguing, and a pain to clean up.
Last year, a good friend pointed out I might want to have the grandkids try decorating the sugar cookies AFTER they had baked. Oh my! Guess I should have gotten a good cookbook full of easy holiday cookie recipes and they would have also taught me how to make the sugar cookies. Then again, we had so much fun, even if we weren't doing it quite the right way.
It is AMAZING how much neater these cookies looked doing them the "right way." I did learn, though, that I need to bake the cookies up earlier. Otherwise, you are running around like a rooster with his head chopped off trying to get them all baked, cooled, and ready while excited little grandkids are watching and waiting for the big moment when the cookie decorating can proceed. Fortunately they were very patient with me.
All in all, either way, we've had a ton of fun over the years with this sweet, tasty and relatively easy tradition of decorating sugar cookies. And the fun family memories are a joy months after, especially since my handy dandy and easy to use digital camera does such a sweet job of saving them for me. Making this a fun post to share with Sweet Shot Tuesday.
P.S. If you have more time then me and are looking for a great cookbook full of sugar cookie recipes from scratch along with ideas for decorating the cookies from frosting and icing to unique cookie cutters, I found the most intriguing book – Cookie Craft: From Baking to Luster Dust, Designs and Techniques for Creative Cookie Occasions by Janice Fryer and Valerie Peterson. I especially loved how they took simple cookie cutters and turned them into unique cookie cutters ideas by thinking outside the box. And, oh my, the frosting ideas were gorgeous. GREAT for older grandchildren!