Well, we got the water part alright. May 16 turned out to be probably the wettest day of the entire month. In under an hour, we watched our carefully laid out backyard 'Under-the-Sea' wonderland torn apart by high winds and sheets of rain. Not dainty little raindrops, but sheets and sheets of rain.
So our outdoor party quickly became the "Under-the-Sea-in-my-living-room" party. With a little more than an hour left before a dozen and a half or so pre-schoolers would arrive at our house, I planned an entirely different party. (This is the part where I run around the house looking for suitable indoor activities for all these kids.) Coloring activity? Check. Foam craft activity? Check. Play-doh? Check.
Right, now I had enough stuff for them to do to last about 30 minutes if we were lucky. Hmm . . . how about decorating cookies? Great, only we had no cookies of course. Thank God I am a cake decorator and always have extra frosting on hand. I quickly thumbed through all of my cookie recipes, trying to find the easiest and quickest one for shaped cookies. (Not that I had time to make any shapes, except for "round").
The recipe I decided to make was one I hadn't actually made before, at least I don't remember doing so. It's from the Southern Living Incredible Cookies book. I'd had hit-or-miss luck with other recipes from this book, but I was pretty desperate at this point so decided to go with this one because it used few ingredients and ones that I happened to actually have on hand:
1 cup shortening (ie. Crisco)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp lemon extract (I used orange, it was all I had citrus-wise)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
- Beat shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed w/ electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings, beating until blended.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to shortening mixture, beating well. Cover and chill dough. (This is where I stuck the recipe in the freezer for a quick chill.)
- Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in 1/4 cup sugar. (I did not roll in sugar as I wanted the kids to decorate them, but have since done this step as well.) Place on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 min. or until barely golden. Cool 2 min. on baking sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 1/2 dozen.
So, all in all, May 16 turned out to be one of the worst days of the entire year so far. Several guests couldn't come last minute because they were having their own "worst days" and some very hopeful bathing-suit-wearing kiddos were super-disappointed to be kept indoors. But the cookies turned out to be a hit! The kids loved decorating them with my rainbow of frosting colors, candies and sprinkles, and the parents loved eating them (plain, no frosting). I've had several ask for the recipe. Seriously, these are great cookies, and I usually dislike sugar cookies (too plain!). Okay, the recipe didn't exactly save our lives, but did save the party somewhat! Hope everyone enjoys these!