Meg finished her last workbook on June first. June second arrived, cold and raining all day, and I had to clean house for company. By the time afternoon rolled around things were kind of under control – not clean, of course, because a house is never clean when kids are awake, but at least the backlog of dishes was gone and a couple of rooms were pretty good — so I agreed when Meg asked to make cut-out cookies and use the cookie cutters. Cookies are good for a rainy day.
We apparently really never use cookie cutters for anything except topping dinosaur pot pie, because come to find out I don’t have a go-to basic sugar cookie recipe. I couldn’t find a sugar cookie recipe in any cookbook I own. I also couldn’t find a suitable recipe in any of the back issues of Taste of Home I’ve been saving. So I asked Pinterest. I picked a recipe published by Wilton because I had just barely enough flour and it boasted no chill time, a definite consideration at 4 p.m. when you have a desperate cookie baker underfoot. Wilton makes cookie sheets, right? That’s reputable, right?
Meg did an excellent job measuring (math!) and mixing wet and dry ingredients separately and then together. I was incredibly proud that we had all the ingredients we needed, for once. But the dough was kind of… sticky.
I floured the rolling pin and the table, but huge globs of dough still stuck to Cuthbert the rolling pin.
Fun fact: As literary newlyweds, we named our rolling pin Cuthbert after the snake in the Dorothy Sayers short story because when you spin it, it really does hiss like a snake. End of fun fact.
You know how sometimes you can gently scrape the dough off a rolling pin and flour it again and it’ll be fine, and sometimes the dough develops an unhealthy passion for the rolling pin such that they cannot be separated, short of death or soap? This one was an obsessive dough.
I washed Cuthbert, moved what I could of the dough back into the mixing bowl, and we added more flour. I didn’t have enough. The obsessed cookie dough was still sticky, with the added bonus of now we’re completely out of flour.
I sat on the (relatively clean) kitchen floor and cried. Meg came around and looked at me closely, to try and decide whether I was laughing or crying.
I pulled myself together, washed my hands of the dough, except not really, and told Meg the new plan. Now, she got to play with it like play-doh! She could use the cookie cutters or drop it by blobs onto the cookie sheet or whatever. I didn’t care. They were her cookies.
The dough, naturally, was not good play-doh. It did not respond to squishing, cookie cutters, or manipulation. It didn’t respond to sighs, rolled eyes, yelling, or tears. Meg told the dough what she thought of it.
I told Facebook what a horrible recipe it was and told Meg the new new plan. Now, we’re going to scoop it up with two spoons and drop it onto the cookie sheet. But Mommy! Then we – CAN’T – USE—THE — COOKIE CUTTERS? Yes, that is correct. I started dropping dough blobs.
Meg burst into tears. She wailed all the way to her bedroom, because apparently it’s best to grieve cookies alone, and woke up Kate from her nap.
Kate started crying. If you’re keeping track, that means this cookie recipe has made three (3) of the three family members at home cry. That’s actually pretty impressive.
I retrieved Kate and resumed scooping the obsessive, sticky, devourer-of-all-my-flour dough. I showed Meg how to use a fork to make criss-crosses in the tops, like on peanut butter cookies, and incidentally like you make crosses to ward off vampires, and we sprinkled them with colored sugar.
Kate thought that was pretty awesome. The sugar shakers make wonderful musical instruments. Meg noted, “Mom, my sister is sprinkling sprinkles everywhere.” But I didn’t actually care. I realize I just spent the entire day cleaning, but somehow I didn’t care. Kate moved on to licking the sprinkles bottle, so as to get her colored sugar straight from the source.
I baked them (the cookies), noting that it was well past dinnertime. The cookies turned out kind of tough.
Bad, bad cookies. I think we’ll go back to worksheets now.
Happy summer vacation!
Photo Credit: First photo graphic design by Charity Klicka; second, third, and fourth photos taken by Carolyn Bales, edited by Charity Klicka.