Monday, April 23, 2012

A Cookie to Celebrate!

I guess that is kind of an overgeneralized and completely underwhelming statement. After all, aren't all cookies worthy of celebration for the most part? I certainly think so! Regardless, these little cookies make me happy happy. I like all things sweet, but I have a strange and strong affinity for those mall bought cookie / frosting sandwiches. They have always been my personal "kryptonite", even if they do leave me feeling giddily sick in the end.


Yesterday was a rainy cool day here, and I was sitting around trying to think of what I could bake up given the limited fixings that I had in my baking cabinet. No chocolate chips. No marshmallow fluff. No brownie mixes to play with. And, then my mind conjured up sweet memories of those mall sandwich cookies...and I got to recipe creating!

So, here you are. My rainy day sugar cookie-wich recipe which is sure to please!


Rainbow Sprinkle Sugar Cookie-wiches 
(with vanilla buttercream filling)

cookie ingredients:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 stick (1/2 cup) Crisco
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla (I admittedly substituted sugar free vanilla syrup for coffee / lattes)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 1/2 cups white unbleached flour
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

frosting ingredients:
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon half and half
1 - 3 tablespoons skim milk
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring (I admittedly again substituted with sugar free vanilla syrup)
1/2 bag (approximately 3 to 4 cups) of powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  By hand, or with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and Crisco.  (Tip:  If you don't have the butter softened yet, microwave it for 30 to 40 seconds on a 50% power level.  Works great!)  Add in the brown sugar and granulated sugar.  Add the eggs and almond and vanilla flavorings and beat until fluffy and creamy.  Add in part of the flour, then the baking soda and salt, and follow with the rest of the flour.  Mix until blended.  Add the rainbow sprinkles.

Drop by rounded tablespoon size onto un-greased cookie sheets.  (You can sort of shape each drop into a sort of ball if you prefer.  I did!)  Bake for approximately nine minutes, when just the edges are turning a nice solid golden brown.  (If you bake the cookies too long, they will be more crisp than soft.)  Cool on cookie sheets for 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling rack. Let cookies cool completely. 

Makes approximately 30 to 36 cookies (or 15 to 18 cookie-wiches), depending on how much batter you "test" during the mixing / baking process.  

While cookies cool, prepare the frosting.  First beat together the butter and about 1/4 of the powdered sugar.  Add in the vanilla and half and half.  Mix in 1/2 the remaining powdered sugar.  Add one to two tablespoons of milk.  Beat until creamy.  Mix in the rest of the powdered sugar.   If your frosting is too thick, add a bit more skim milk.  If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.  There is no real science to making frosting like this...just mix until the wet and dry ingredients until you have the desired consistency. 

Once cookies are completely cooled, take spoonfuls of frosting and spread on the bottom of one cookie.  Top with another cookie, and you have your completed cookie-wich!



Judgement Day

Fridays in this house can sometimes be judgement days. When the end of the week finally rolls around, all I have to do is look at the floor to see what can of week we have had. If the floor is pristine and free of dust-bunnies, then chances are that we have had a low-key week. Perhaps it rained. Or maybe we were sick. Then again, maybe I was just in a cleaning sort of mood and had some extra time on my hands.

If the big day rolls around, though, and my floors look like....THIS:


Then? Well, THEN chances are we had a seriously awesome week filled with adventures, outings, and lots of quality girl time. And, this is exactly what my floor looked like this past Friday. The weather was too nice to hang out at the house or to sit inside, so we didn't. We did the usual routine by hitting gymnastics class and story times, but we also took about the nicest day this planet has ever seen to ride out to Sea Isle City and spend a day at the Jersey shore.

This was our second beach outing of the year, and it isn't even May. Craziness! Of course, with my dislike of crowds (especially those walking elbow to elbow on the boardwalk or those packed tightly like sardines baking on the beach in the dead of the scorching hot summer), I can't imagine heading that out way between the months of May and September. But, random summer like days in the early part of Spring? I will happily spend those days alone or with friends at the nearly abandoned Atlantic coast beaches of our beloved Garden State.

P1300259P1300277Sea Isle CityP1300291P1300605

Last year at this same time (and for the entire summer season), Finnley had a love-hate relationship with the beaches. She loved splashing in the ocean, but she truly despised the fact that it took walking in SAND to get to her water playground. She also quickly bored of the whole scene. Ah, what a difference a year makes. That same girl now loves to RUN, DIG, and PLAY in the sand. She also loves to splash in the water and chase the rolling tides. She jumps on algae covered rocks jutting out of the salt water, throws rocks and shells, and explores every inch of her surroundings. What a joy it is to follow her around giving close to zero direction as to how she can invent even more moments of fun.

The beautiful weather lasted through Saturday, and that meant some time out in the yard helping daddy with the chores followed up by a pirate birthday party with friends in the late afternoon. I think Finnley thought mowing the grass while riding on daddy's shoulders was just as much fun as the birthday party. Not that birthday parties aren't cool...Finnley just really likes time with her dad.


One thing we all know, Spring is quite fickle. And, just like Fridays are a sort of judgement day...Mondays are often pretty much a bitter dose of face-smacking reality. This Monday has been exactly that, first off with a total reversal of weather. It has been rainy, windy, and cool. Fiftyish degrees sort of cool. The day has consisted of routines and the running of errands. It has also involved some whining and a bit of messy wet poop on a bathroom rug (you can ask Finnley about that one). To top it off, I will be spending the 9pm hour having a MRI of my cervical spine completed. Now, if all that doesn't just SCREAM "Monday", I don't know what does.

Oh well. Not every day can be Friday-awesome. We'll take them all, though. Where would any of us be without a system of checks and balances after all?