It always seemed like a big event. We’d sort through the mountain of semi-misshapen airplanes, giraffes, gingerbread men and stars, picking out the ones for my mom to use. (There was never any question whether we’d select the Mystery Cookie Cutter, which looked kind of like California and kind of like a stretched-out stocking, of course.) She would lay out the raw dough on cookie sheets, and we kids would go at ’em.
Fluorescent sprinkles, those silver balls that I’m pretty sure were supposed to be inedible, and red hots—which everyone liked to use but no one except my older sister liked to actually eat—were all fair game.
We’d sweep up silver balls and wipe up sprinkles for weeks to come, but the mess was always worth the fun. (Isn’t it always?)
Memories of meticulously lining up jimmies for a cookie border hung out in the back of my mind the other day, when I decided to make sugar cookies with Peeper. I was so set on the plan that I made the dough when she napped instead of writing or sleeping or showering or any of the other things I should have been doing. (My attempt to make it with her ended abruptly when she broke out into hysterics upon seeing the electric mixer. “Too noisy!” she screamed, peeking out from behind a wall with tears running down her cheeks, even before I turned the darn thing on.)
That evening, she, Eric and I decorated the cookies. Unlike most families, mine never used frosting. We instead use a dyed egg wash to paint the raw dough, place on whatever sprinkles we want and bake it all. (See below for a brief explanation of this technique.)
Peeper quickly took to the task, though she was more into smashing the dough than coloring butterfly wings with dye. She did enjoy the sprinkle shakers: You could definitely tell which cookies were hers. Toddlers, after all, are not known for their light touch.
The cookies turned out great. So well, in fact, that I couldn’t begrudge Peeper a few tastes. She doesn’t eat much sugar (with the notable exception of when we had to give her 10 days of antibiotics) but I happily let her pick one of her creations.
Sugar cookies are usually reserved for the holidays, but something tells me we’ll be making these again soon.
Sugar Cookie Paint
- Separate the whites of two eggs and discard the yolks.
- In a bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites and a splash of water until incorporated, but stop before the mixture is bubbly.
- Divide the egg white solution between four glass or ceramic cups.
- Add several drops of food coloring to each cup and stir well.
- Use paint brushes to paint the colored egg paint onto raw cookie dough.