Here’s a recipe for easy sugar cookies for kids they will ADORE :: Last night we had the neighbors over for a New Year’s drink. They are a fun couple and we get along really well. They were bringing their most adorable kids in the world over who, of course, wished to be entertained properly as well. The three kids are of completely different age groups: a 3-year-old, a 7-year-old and an 11-year-old child. How to make the kids’ evening as special as the adults?
Of course, a creative activity!!!! We had the coloring books and crayons handy for the youngest boy, but we wanted a bit more of a party atmosphere for them and tried to engage all three.So, we decided to let them (bake and) decorate sugar cookies. We covered the dining room table with a plastic sheet and made cookie decorating stations, one for each kid, laying it all out and making them feel welcome and prepared for when they arrived.
Easy Sugar Cookies for Kids
(icing cookie designed by an 11 year old! Pretty, nah??!!)
It’s super quick to whip up a batch of these sugar cookies in the oven.
The dough was made before our guests arrived and we popped them in the oven just before they arrived.
The kids were jumping up and down when the cookies were on the cooling rack.
Then, they played over an hour, sweetly, with the sugar icing and our wide selection of silver decorating balls, sugar butterflies and mini candy covered chocolate balls and chocolate drops.
I have about 12 different types of cookie decorating toppings and all have been used! They had a blast!!!!
We told them that they could take the sugar cookies home (rather than eat them right away) as the icing needs to ‘set’ first. It worked. They enjoyed ‘look at’ their pretty sugar cookies and showing them off rather than eating them all. They left with a bag of decorated icing cookies rather than sugar-loaded bodies that would be unable to go sleep. What a great strategy!!!
So, I highly recommend decorating sugar cookies as a fun and easy kids activity. It helps if there is an adult or older kid working along side with them. The 11-year old girl was able to take the cookie tray out of the oven. She also ‘supervised’ and helped the two younger kids. She has taken a few cake decorating classes and was able to make the gorgeous butterfly cookie, snowman cookie and flower cookie that you see in the pictures her. She’s talented, isn’t she?!
Icing or No Icing?
I know that icing sugar is not exactly good if you want (you want your kids) to lose weight and eat healthier as a new years resolution. But let me just suggest that you must add at least some icing to get the sweetness of the cookies just right. If you are planning to make these without icing, you must add more sugar to the cookies itself otherwise they’ll taste a bit ‘plain’ to me, despite the generous amount of vanilla. (I guess, I like loads of flavor…)
But really??!! Omitting the icing?? What’s the point of making icing cookies then? Kids will love making these and don’t say no when they offer you one: they taste great also. Use this as a special treat rather than a weekly activity.
‘Secret recipe for the world’s best sugar cookies’
Baking and decorating sugar cookies is a cool crafts for kids as it’s an activity that suits a wide range of ages. For the original British recipe one needs to use a scale to weight each ingredient in grams. We have used and perfected our recipe over the 10+ times we have used it, and it makes fabulous cookies. Every time!
Easy Sugar Cookies – the Recipe
Ingredients for these sugar cookies
- 100g butter ( 10% less than 1 stick or 1/2 cup of butter)
- 100g sugar (1/2 cup of sugar)
- 1 medium free-range egg
- 275g flour (2 1/8th cup of flour)
- 1.5 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract (tip: the higher the quality, the less you’ll need). 1.5 tsp is generous in most cases.
Ingredients for the cookie decorations
- 400g icing* sugar (2 cups)
- 3 tbsp. water
- 2 drops Wilton’s food coloring (optional)
- loads of cake decorating toppings: sugar and fondant shapes: balls, butterflies, hearts, etc. in a range of colors. + various chocolate details.
Tip: for fancier designs, split the icing sugar amount in half and make 2 batches, each with a different food coloring drop.
How To Make Icing Cookies
- 1. Preheat oven to 375 F | 190 C.
- 2. Prep a couple of baking trays by greasing them with butter and dusting them with flour.
- 3. You don’t need an electric mixer: just combine the butter and sugar by hand into a thick, consistent creamy paste.
- 4. Then, add the egg, followed by the vanilla and create a well-combined ball of dough.
- 5. Roll the dough onto a flour-dusted surface till just under 1/2” | 1 cm thickness.
- 6. Now, get the cookie cutters out and create a bunch of seasonal shapes: stars for Winter, hearts for Valentines day, Monograms for birthdays, etc.
- 7. Place cookies onto baking trays and bake until lightly golden (probably 9 min).
- Tip: keep an eye on these guys as they are rather thin and dark brown cookies are only good if they contain cocoa (wink)… So, under-bake rather than over-bake!
How To Decorate Icing Cookies
1. Place baked cookies onto a cooling tray and let cook for 10 minutes.
Easy Icing Recipe
2. How to make icing is sooo easy: simply combine the icing sugar, water and drops of food coloring into a mixing bowl and stir with a fork or a small whisk till you get a runny white/pastel colored paste. That’s it!
(* Did you know you can easily make your own icing sugar by putting regular white sugar | granulated sugar through your (cleaned!!) electric coffee grinder? Now you’ll always have icing sugar on hand! Ha!)
Use the icing sugar right away because it sets after a short while.
You can see that my icing sugar has little food coloring in it. Want it darker? Simply add one or two more drops of food coloring. Also, not all food coloring is of the same quality. The best quality food coloring available is Wilton’s. It’s easy to get online in the US and its relatively inexpensive given how long it will lasts (years). In the UK, this same product cost 2-3x as much!!
3. Set up your decorating stations and get the kids to start planning out/thinking through their cookie designs….
4. Smear the cookies with icing sugar while still warm. Drop the decorating sprinkles, balls, hearts and other elements in a pretty design.
5. Wait a few – 15 minutes (or better still, a few hours) to let the icing sugar harden before serving the cookies.
Tip for kids: be sure to ‘taste’ so that you know what you make is ‘good’, right?!! (wink)!
Get Good at Decorating Sugar Cookies & Cakes
There’s more to cookie making than you think. You will find that you and your kids will have quite a different take on things. Don’t criticize.. Just let their imagination run wild. You’ll find that both of you will get fabulous results in the end.
Also, I observed from the 11 year old girl here that being able to do something really well, like cookie/cake decorating, it brings loads of self-esteem and self-confidence. Kind of amazing, just how much it has helped her. So, this is something to try for that as well. Be sure to use kid friendly designs / classes for best results. Browse the class catalogue together and let them convince you what will be good!