OK, so my conference yesterday wasn't as unpleasant as I'd anticipated. In fact, the presenter was very knowledgeable and entertaining, which believe me is not always the case. I enjoyed the conference for the most part, although I don't enjoy the fact of having to go to all these conferences. Anyway, I don't know if it's because I got up at 5:20 yesterday morning and so am more sleep-deprived than usual, but when I got up today my cold/sinus symptoms, which had been on the wane, had returned. Also, both girls are sicker again after a day or two of improvement. I'm even keeping Julia home from preschool today for the second time in a week. She's pale as a ghost and has spent her time since breakfast mainly lying on the floor.
So let's move on to happier topics of Christmasy good cheer. Also chocolate. I know I've been neglecting What-to-Do Wednesdays lately, but this week the girls and I did some great holiday baking together (on the one day we all felt better) and I thought I'd pass along the idea. What-to-Do Friday, if you will.
Have you ever made Chocolate Crinkles? You know, that yummy chocolatey, almost cake-like cookie with the powdered sugar on top? They're delicious and fudgy, very pretty, and best of all, Chocolate Crinkles are a great holiday cookie to make with small children. Here's why. Once the dough is mixed and chilled for a couple of hours to firm up, you form it into little 1-inch balls and then roll each ball in powdered sugar. (Put the sugar on a big, rimmed plate to minimize mess.) Do you know how excited toddlers and preschoolers get about being in charge of the rolling in sugar part? It's the perfect job for them. Tell them they're rolling the cookie dough in snow to make snowballs, and they'll be thrilled to help. (Note: kids will have great fun helping to mix up the dough, too, but since it then has to chill for two hours before forming and baking the cookies, younger children might have a hard time being patient. I mixed up our dough during naptime, chilled it then, and we did the rest after nap. I formed each dough ball and handed it over for my girls to do the "rolling in snow" part. They loved it.)
In my print version of this recipe (from Family Fun magazine, December 2007/January 2008 issue), it says to let the cookies cool on their sheets for five minutes after baking, and then dust them with an extra coat of powdered sugar before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely, but I notice that the online recipe makes no mention of this step. Still, it makes the cookies extra pretty--just like they really are dusted with snow. Also: my recipe says to bake for 10 minutes, not 12, and I shortened that to about 8 since I made my cookies very small (came out with 5 dozen). Watch carefully, and adjust as needed.
You really can't go wrong with this classic Christmas cookie recipe; it's easy and very, very delicious if you like chocolate. And best of all, you and your little elves can have a fun afternoon doing some holiday baking together. Let me know if you try it!