Grandma was visiting for Christmas, and Mama thought we would have fun making cookies, so she made a couple batches of dough one afternoon while I napped. Normally, Mama doesn’t like making cutter cookies because, she says, they stick and become distorted when you pick them up, or they roll unevenly and then bake unevenly. But she declared this dough, from The Joy of Cooking, a winner.
Mama cut the dough in half with my new favorite tool, a bench scraper, and she showed me how to lightly flour the table. Then together we rolled the dough with a rolling pin. What a funny tool that is! Mama finished rolling it to the thinness she wanted, saying it was important to move the dough (so that it doesn’t stick to the table) and not roll off the edges (so that you don’t smoosh it). Then we pressed our cookie cutters—a tree, a snowman, and a star—into it. I had to put my whole hand on the cutter and press really hard, then Mama showed me how to give it a little jiggle to be sure it came free when we lifted the cutter. And it worked! I gently poked the dough out of the cutter and onto a parchment paper–lined baking sheet, and we started all over again (when I wasn’t eating the dough, that is).
Waiting for the first batch to bake was easy because we kept making more cookies. But waiting for that last batch to cool before we could decorate them was really difficult! Mama let me play with the leftover dough, so I could practice rolling and patting and cutting. She said we couldn’t use the little bit of dough for cookies anymore because it had been rolled and stretched and floured too many times, and the cookies would be tough. (I don’t really think I would mind. Would you?)
Mama had made a basic icing with powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice. She took care of frosting the cookies, but I decorated them with sprinkles and other tiny candies. Mama taped over some of the holes on top of the bottles, but I still managed to get the sprinkles all over—and then I ate them! I figured out that if I pressed my hot little fingers into the errant sprinkles, they’d stick to my hands and I could just eat them right up. You might remember that I don’t often get unbridled access to sugar, but Mama had no control over me, and it was awesome!
The cookies were, of course, yummy. They were crisp on the bottom and softish on top, which Mama and I both like, and the lemony icing cut the sweetness a little bit. My friends certainly liked them, and I didn’t mind sharing.