As a budget-minded mom, I’m always exploring ways to create healthier, organic meals for my young son as well as my husband. Treats and desserts have their place too — in moderation, of course. Here’s my take on a cookie that is organic and homemade. The recipe requires a few simple ingredients rolled into an entire afternoon of fun. In celebration of summer, these sugar cookies are shaped like our favorite sea creatures.
3 cups organic all-purpose baking flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) of organic unsalted butter
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 large organic egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup organic low-fat milk
1 teaspoon carrot juice
¼ teaspoon vanilla
4 organic strawberries (strained)
Sliced organic strawberries and blueberries for decoration
The first step in the sea creature cookie baking process is to make the dough. Mix the flour with the baking powder and set it aside. Then, mix the remaining ingredients using an electric mixer. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix them thoroughly with a wooden spoon until it becomes a uniform ball of dough. Place the dough onto plastic wrap and chill it overnight (or for a minimum of 1 hour) in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350°F and place waxed paper on two large baking sheets. This is where the fun part comes in. Set-up a cookie station equipped with flour, rolling pin, cookie cutters and children (of course). Place flour on a flat surface and roll out your dough to ¼ inch thickness. Lightly flour the cookie cutters and press them into the dough.
Place each cookie cut-out onto the baking sheet. Bake for approximately 12 minutes (depending on oven temperature). The cookies should be golden brown at the bottom and edges when you remove them from the oven. For this recipe, it’s best to bake one sheet at a time. This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.
While the cookies are baking, it’s time to make the icing. As a Mom, I am leery of colorful store-bought icings. So, I set out to create my own icing using my own ingredients. And, I have a little secret…I stuck to my cooking philosophy and added a wee bit of fruit and vegetable to it.
Here’s what you do. Mix the confectioner’s sugar, carrot juice, vanilla and milk in a bowl using an electric mixer until it thickens. Then, use a sieve and press the strawberries through the sieve so that the color goes into the icing. And, there you have it — a delicious icing using fruits and vegetables for color, instead of dyes. Although the icing is sticky when you first spread it, it will harden in time.
When the cookies come out of the oven, let each tray cool for about 10 minutes. Now it’s time to use your imagination and allow the sea creatures to come to life with icing and chopped fruit.
What inventive ideas does your family have for decorating cookies with healthier toppings?