Decorating cookies - Kids’ art & craft activity

 

This cookie recipe is a variation on my gingerbread recipe. I like to make Easter cookies with my children at this time of year and this cookie mixture is delicious. The cookie recipe is lightly spiced for warmth and flavour and is great for early spring. The biscuits are nice and sturdy so are easy for kids to decorate.

Ingredients (use organic where possible):

175g unsalted butter

140g light muscovado sugar

3tbsp golden syrup

1tsp vanilla extract, high quality extract not essence

350g wholemeal plain flour, sieved

1tsp cinnamon powder

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

Zest of 1 orange, grated

Makes 12 medium sized cookies

Additional equipment: baking sheet, baking paper, cookie cutters, palette knife.

 

Optional decoration:

White sugarpaste

Food colouring paste

Cooled, boiled water

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170degC.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the grated orange zest.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the butter, sugar and golden syrup until it has all melted into a smooth mixture. Remove from heat before the mixture starts to boil. Add the vanilla extract and stir.

Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and combine. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough a little to bring the mixture into a firm but pliable dough. It may be a little hot initially so wait for it to cool a little.

Again, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1cm thickness. Using your chosen cutters and cut out your shapes. Transfer to a baking sheet (lined with baking paper) using a palette knife. Then place the baking sheet in to the over for 10-12 minutes.

The cookies are ready when they are just turning golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. They will be too soft to remove until cooled and also the cookies will continue to cook for a short while after being removed. It's tempting to leave them in the oven a little longer to deep n the colour, but I would recommend removing them just as they are becoming golden.

Once cooled, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks. Or eaten immediately!

As my children often decorate these cookies for Easter. I will add a layer of sugarpaste for them to paint on. If you wish to do the same, lightly dust your counter with icing sugar. Roll out the sugarpaste to ½cm thickness and cut out shapes using the same cutters that you used to cut the cookies. Lightly apply a coat of cooled, boiled water to the cookie surface using a brush. Then lift the cut-out sugarpaste shape and place on your cookie. Lightly press with your palm – the sugarpaste will adhere to the damp surface. Leave to dry.

When the sugarpaste has set and is firm to the touch, the cookies can then be decorated. I leave my kids to it, with a selection of food colourings and paintbrushes. The cookies make a great canvas for beautiful artwork. A lovely activity for the holidays and could easily make great personalised gifts too!