Making Spring Sugar Cookies

Here’s something about me you may not know. I’m a business entrepreneur but I also love to bake! And I’m always on the lookout for great recipes to try. The problem with baking – CALORIES! Because we try to eat reasonably healthy, I end up NOT baking as much as I’d like.

Sure I can freeze the goodies for another time. And of course, I can always alter the recipe for healthier low-calorie ingredients. But why? Why not just enjoy splurging on the good stuff every once in a while. Especially when it means creating wonderful family memories of Springtime traditions with my girls!

My daughters REALLY love baking too. It’s the measuring, the pouring, the mixing, the licking of the utensils. They love it all. So there are certain times of the year when I make a command level mommy decision and allow guilt-free baking to take place.

Spring is one of those times. Particularly around Easter. So last weekend, we made our family favorite Spring Sugar Cookies. The recipe is actually my mother-in-law’s. {Shhh… don’t tell her I’m sharing what may be a family secret!} They are just too yummy and cute not to share.

Last Christmas was the last time we baked cookies so I thought now, with Easter approaching and Spring in the air, we might give it another go. We actually all ALL of our cookies when we returned from a little Christmas break that we spent in Middletown, Virginia, where we enjoyed some great traditional Irish food and music. What a time!

But now back to our cookies. So okay mom, gather your children, put on some aprons, and let’s get started! This activity really brings a little balance in my busy Irish life here in the States!

What You Need:

  • 2 Cups White Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Shortening {I use the Crisco sticks from the grocery baking aisle}
  • 1 Tablespoon Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
  • 6 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • Baileys Irish Cream (up to you how much… I guess this is my Irish blood)
  • 6 Cups Flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a relatively large mixing bowl, mix cream shortening and sugar with an electric mixer. Add beaten eggs. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, mix milk and vinegar together and then add it to the batter. Add Vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift baking soda, flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add dry mixture to the batter. Mix well until dough forms.

Chill the dough covered in a refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Flour board and use spring cookie cutter shapes to cut out cookies. We used a butterfly, carrot, bunny face, baby chick, egg shape, and flower shapes.

Bake on a non-stick cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. Make adjustments to time and temperature depending on how fast your oven cooks.

Allow cookies to cool.

Once they have cooled off, it’s time to frost and decorate them. I picked up some of these ideas at a mom conference a few years ago and combined them with my mother-in-law’s recipe. My girls did the decorating of this batch. Feel free to use chocolate chips for bunny eyes, red hot candy’s for a nose, or some other creative fun way to bring the animal cookies to life.

Here’s the frosting recipe:

What You Need:

  • 2 Pounds Powdered Sugar – converted = 4 Cups
  • 1 Cup of Crisco
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • Food Coloring {if desired}

Mix all of the ingredients except for the food coloring together. If you choose to use food coloring to have colorful frosting, separate the frosting into small bowls adding about 3 or 4 drops of food coloring to each bowl, more for a darker color, less for more pastel shades. Mix it up and grab a spatula or a few butter knives.

Then set your children up at a counter or table with a few cookies in front of them and some frosting and sprinkles for decorating. Next week, I’ll be sending them out again to their traditional Irish music lessons, but for now, with the Easter break, I’ll make sure they’ll be helping me with these great spring cookies.

Be sure to take lots of pictures and don’t forget to let them lick the spatula when the decorating has completed. What did you guys do on St. Patrick’s Day? Do you have a favorite spring baking tradition you share with your children?