Babysaurus in the Kitchen: St. Nicholas Cookies

St. Nicholas Cookies - Looks Like Dinosaurs

Last weekend — what with it being December — I thought it was a good time to order Christmas cards, which meant we were in need of a new family photo. Because, let’s be honest, we have maybe one fairly good photo from the past year with all four of us in it. And there’s something about putting a beach photo on a Christmas card that just feels weird to me.

So we set about DIYing a family photo shoot and to make it as easy as possible (no posing), we decided on a lifestyle type shot while making cookies. For real, of course. And for a holiday family cookie-baking photo shoot, there’s no better cookie recipe than St. Nicholas cookies.

St. Nicholas Cookies - Looks Like Dinosaurs

St. Nicholas cookies, as the name implies, was the Christmas cookie of choice when I was a kid and I still look forward to a plate of them from my mom at Christmastime. This vegan version — modified with dairy-free margarine and applesauce instead of egg — is just as good as the original. This cookie is neither buttery nor sugary, but spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. I love them plain or simply adorned with sugar sprinkles. And they’re absolutely best when shared with somebody special over a morning coffee or sippy cup of warm milk.

St. Nicholas Cookies
(Makes approx. 36-48 (2-3″) cookies)

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups dairy-free margarine, softened
1/4 cup sugar-free applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

1. Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar and margarine in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until sugars and margarine are combined and the mixture looks light and fluffy.

2. Add applesauce and vanilla extract to sugar mixture. Mix well.

3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

4. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture one-third at a time, mixing on low after each addition until flour is well incorporated. Dough should be very soft.

5. Divide dough in half and form each half into balls. Lay out two sheets of plastic wrap and put one ball of dough on each. Pat out each ball until dough is about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap tightly with plastic, keeping dough in 1/2 inch thick sheets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

7. Remove one of the dough halves from the refrigerator and unwrap. Place on a floured surface and roll dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes of choice and arrange on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet, leaving at least 1/2 inch between cookies. Gather dough scraps into a ball, re-roll and cut. Repeat with other half of dough.

8. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes. Immediately transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Babysaurus in the Kitchen :: Apple Cinnamon Crescent Rolls

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At our house, the best way to celebrate the rare mid-week work holiday is with a slow morning and a special breakfast treat.

Norah A. Babysaurus loves to “cook” and she never wastes an opportunity to push a chair up to the counter so she can stand next to me and help with whatever I’m trying to whip up, generally by swiping ingredients for her own concoctions, dancing on the counter, or putting all the cooking utensils in her mouth. And also telling me to stop whatever it is I’m doing because it’s all wrong. Today was no exception.

But unlike, say, a veggie stir fry, Apple Cinnamon Crescent Rolls are a perfect baking project for the two-year-olds among us. As long as you or someone you love do/does not have an irrational fear of opening pop-open biscuits, this recipe really doesn’t get much simpler. Or nummier.

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APPLE CINNAMON CRESCENT ROLLS

You’ll need:

1 can pop-open crescent rolls
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon, or however much the toddler wishes to dump in
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 large apple, sliced thin

You’ll do:

* denotes Little Kid-friendly steps

1. Preheat the oven according to the crescent roll package directions.

*2. Combine 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves in a small bowl. Mix well.

3. Open the crescent roll package, or have someone you love do it for you while you dash out of the room plugging your ears with your fingers and also holding your breath for some inexplicable reason. Roll out the crescent roll dough on a clean surface and separate the triangles.

*4. Drop about 1/2 tablespoon worth of the butter mixture onto each triangle and spread evenly.

*5. Lay two or three slices of apple across the width of each triangle, about 1/2 inch from the wide end. Norah A. Babysaurus particularly enjoyed this step, and made sure to do it again and again and again.

*6. Eventually, you will be ready to roll up the dough. Beginning from the wide end, wrap the end of the dough over the apples and roll toward the narrow end.

*7. Place rolls on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving a few inches of space between them so that they will get evenly crisp and golden and delicious.

8. Have the little one(s) stand far away from the oven while you open it to put the cookie sheet in. Bake according to package directions, until the crescent rolls are deeply golden.