Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bake-A-Memory Day 2013!!!!

It's all about them....


And me!!!  :)

"Bake a Memory" Day is part of our campaign to keep Christmas simple. But no one said simple couldn't be fun and delicious!

Round 1: The girls, making sugar cookie dough using Betty Crocker's "Deluxe Sugar Cookie" recipe found here:

From left: MacKenzie, Anna, Emma and Mary Ruth

As we make the recipe, we taste EVERY INGREDIENT! Even weird things like baking soda and flour and molasses!!!!

Now there's a secret to amazingly delicious melt-in-your-mouth frosted sugar cookies:
Don't roll the dough too thin. Thin results in crisp cookies. We like tender, butter-cookie
type sugar cookies.
Don't overcook!!!! This is huge for the PERFECT SUGAR COOKIE! The recipe calls for 375 degrees, but I use a 350 degree oven and air-bake pans to give me a consistent baking time. For these cookies, that little bit of difference is the fine line between good... and Tony-the-Tiger GREAT!!!

We bake them until they're set but with just a hint of "golding" at the edge. If I bake them longer than that, they become dog treats.

My dogs LOVE ME!!!!

Leave on baking sheet until cool....

And then frost with this butter icing:

1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk (more as needed to give "cookie" frosting consistency

Mix all ingredients on low speed, then raise speed to medium-high for 3 minutes to smooth frosting. This frosting can be colored to suit the season, it receives sprinkles well, and "crusts" or "sugars" quickly, leaving a durable surface over tender frosting and tender cookie. And that's what we love about this combination of Deluxe Sugar Cookies (made with butter and powdered sugar) with the butter icing.... These cookies melt in your mouth and make everyone smile!

Cool uncles that tip us upside down ROCK!!!

Karen, ready for a winter run! Love the gloves, Karen!!!
And here are Matt and Karen, ready to go on a training run while Emma, Dave and Anna hang out on the farm!

Beth and Finn... do you see that baby eyeing the table???? SMART BABY!!!

The boys, waiting their turn!
These two needed a quick rest!!!
Emma and Mary Ruth hanging tough on the cookie cutting assembly line!

The boys are entering the domain!!!!! Come on down, boys!

 From front, above, clockwise: Logan, Xavier, David and Elijah
Elijah rolls the first ball of dough!

 Logan sporting the COOL SNOOPY apron "Mimi Freckles" made him! (Mimi Freckles is the cool other Grandma!!!

 Xavier, a kid who always wants to "do it myself!" 

Note how we staged this pic? From the front so my widening bootie is hidden, LOL! How cute is that little David, looking up at me???? He knows I'm going to slip him some chocolate chips!!!  :)

MacKenzie has decided that babysitting cousin Finn is MORE FUN than baking! How stinkin' cute are they?

Nothing is more precious than time. With a full-time job and an amazing and growing writing career, it occurred to me and Dave that taking time to have plain, simple fun with the kids was vital to being us.

So we try to do kid-type things that keep us young, too! Nothing like having a catch... playing some dodgeball.... taking a kid fishing on the pond... or baking cookies to have some cozy, down-home good times!

Keeping Christmas simple: Baking memories.  :)


  1. sounds too advanced with the specific temp, time, and air-whatever cookie sheets! might have to work my way up to these..but I like a crisper cookie LOL!
    just started your book tonight- the kirkwood lake one - of course I'm at work being interupted but at least not too bad! haven't snapped anyone's head off yet. but I tell you I'm glad sometimes that I didn't have kids..don't think I could take it. my dad had no patience and I think I inherited that. when I stay at my friend's her 5 yr old starts driving me nuts - the whole routine drives me nuts after a couple of days- sure different than when I was a kid. some ways I guess that's better.

    1. Funny, I sort of feel that way about most adults.

    2. Virginia I think I'm definitely a loner - I like kids - have a soft spot for them - but just no patience :-( wish I had it but I have to count to 10 so many times I started switching to spanish and trying to remember the french just to keep from getting bored LOL! I love my friend's little dude but get so tired of every meal being held up by 'I don't want to eat that' I don't like that' and 'bargaining' over every little bit like 'is this enough' LOL - I know what he's gonna say before he even gets to the table! I'd do anything for that kiddo - except babysitting and sports!

    3. Oh, Susanna, do not apologize! Urchins are a handful sometimes, but I'm like Virginia... I tend to lose my patience with the adults of the species long before kids! I always figure adults should just plain know better! And hey, if you like the crisp cookies, do these (it's really an easy recipe, just a few ingredients and I never use the cream of tartar although I know some of the gals here do!) and bake them on whatever cookie sheet you want! Keep it simple, Susanna, my friend! And I hope you love Rainey's story.... I love that girl and her chutzpah!

  2. Thanks for sharing these awesome pics, Ruthy, the kids are so cute! I do prefer a tender frosted cookie too, so I will try out this recipe for myself with DS. It sure beats buying these in the store! I agree, Christmas is all about making these memories and these sweet children will remember--they always do when you least expect it!

    1. Those memories are so precious! A new dress.... a sleek toy. Those will wear with time, but memories of a cool cousin day, baking, making messes, having Grammy make you chicken nuggets and French fries and a shaggy dog.... those won't be shrugged off so quickly! Piper, let me know what you think!

  3. Ohhh, that was lovely! I'm inspired to have a cookie day here, too!
    As for cookies.. I prefer the softer cookie with frosting.
    And then a crisper cookie for tea.
    And then a really, really hard cookie for hot coffee.
    And a plain cookie for those after-dinner times when you don't want too much sweetness.

    Anyway, that pic of you with the little guy looking up at you? Sweetness. Just pure sweetness. And you have great hair. Just gotta say that.

    1. Aww..... isn't it just fun to make a mess with kids? I live for that with my daycare sweeties and my grandchildren. And every time I get the kitchen clean, it's like an open invitation to MESS IT UP AGAIN!!!!

      Clearly that's pure foolishness, but there's nothing more inviting than a clean counter to invite experimentation!!!! :) And you know, I think you're right about the crisper cookies and coffee, like biscotti.... I'm not a coffee-dipper but I do like a crisp cookie with a hot drink and I hadn't put that together until you said it.

      Look how smart you are, Virginia!!! :)

      I'm laughing at the hair comment, because it had been wind-blown and wild that morning before and after church. So no pains were taken to do anything with it because six of the kids were at church with me!

      My hair is kind of like a bush. Small birds have been found nesting in it late spring. This is another gift from my mother. :)

  4. Elijah's got the job I always liked to do! a little too eagerly sometimes and some dough ain't good to roll to death (like biscuits)sigh

    finished the book! LOVED it well except for that one part near the end but I had a bit of warning and sorta knew it was coming...sniff..wasn't too cool to be teary eyed at work.

    1. Susanna, thank you for not saying the ending!!! You rock! And yeah, I know what you mean but it was a good way of reflecting on life... and change.


      Life goes on.

    2. yes surprised me that I ended up loving Rainey - didn't care for her in the first boo but liked her fine in this one. jotted down some mental notes on how to handle kids :-) my friend's Little Dude is gonna be one of those flunking kindergarten I'm afraid. he's smart but wont' sit still on the mat in his spot and keeps disrupting - they start on green and go up to purple but he goes down to yellow orange red like a landslide I think. :-(

      anyways loved this story - one of my favorites but not as much as winter's end and yuletide hearts LOL those will probably always be my faves :-)

  5. Love the wisdom in this, Ruthy. Those memories are going to last way longer than the toys they open on Christmas morning. And seriously, how boring would it be to do roll out sugar cookies all by your lonesome? Much more fun with a crowd!!!!

    1. Kav, yes, yes, yes!!!! :) The crowd is hysterical! And they wear out quick at this age so we don't get a lot done, but just enough to feel like they're a part of it.... We do these first because they're the most labor intensive. And then we did chocolate chip variations from the basic chocolate chip dough so that we had peanut butter/chocolate chip.... white chocolate chip.... and regular chocolate chip with 2 kinds of Ghirardelli chips.

      A quick drop cookie that I bake while they're putting GLOBS of frosting on their cookies!!!

  6. Great cutouts. Making ugly Christmas cookies with the kids is the very best memory!! I agree.

  7. I'm taking notes. Someday I want to be a grandma Ruthy-style :)

    NOTHING beats making wonderful memories with kiddoes.

    1. Jan, yes, yes, yes! Making memories. That's my goal!!!!

  8. Ruthy, I can't believe I never got by here yesterday! What fun in your household!! I can't wait to have grandkids. You'll have to come down and give me lessons in being the best grandma ever. :)

    Loved all the photos! Did you make all the kids' aprons?

  9. Ruthy, my first grandchild is only 3 months old. I CAN'T wait till he is old enough to start making memories!!! I already have so much fun with him.

  10. I love this, Ruthy! You have to be the coolest grandma ever. I wish things would slow down here. Oh wait. The ice storm did that for us. We made sugar cookies during our entrapment. Mostly because #2 son wanted to eat the dough. Crazy kids.

    I'm with you on how I like my sugar cookies. Nice and soft. With frosting, of course. :)