Here's the thing you have to learn and then let go of quickly once you have kids - everything won't and doesn't need to be perfect. More so, kids are happier (I cannot believe I'm saying this) when thing are NOT perfect, when they can be messy and creative.
So in the midst of all my Christmas baking and preparations I try to include things for the kids to do where I don't freak out if they don't look pretty (I may have gotten a second Christmas tree just so they would have one to put all the ornaments THEY like on it - it's a hodge podge of school ornaments, red Santas and souvenir ornaments - it's a big 'ole hot mess but they love it)
Ok... where was I? Right, messy cookies. Here it is! First, they love this recipe (it tastes like those store bought bakery ones that melt in your mouth). Second, they're easy for them to help make and they love doing the shapes and ESPECIALLY the icing!
Speaking of perfect, my first go around with the sugar cookie recipe I had was not condusive to holding a shape. We cut out the shapes and then watched as they cooked and turned into big flat blobs of cookies. After we were finally in agreement that this was indeed NOT the worst Christmas ever, we used our other recipe and had success! I don't even know where it came from (probably Pinterest) I've had it written down for so long!
WHAT YOU NEED:
1 Cup unsalted Butter - softened
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla (use pure, it's so much better than imitation)
1/2 Tsp Almond Extract
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 & 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
WHAT YOU DO:
In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth - about 1 minute
Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes
Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and beat on medium - about 2 minutes
Scrape down the sides of the bowl to get all the mix to the bottom
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt
Add half the flour mixture to your other bowl of ingredients and beat on low until JUST combined (you don't want it too smooth)
Add the rest of the four and continue mixing on low until JUST combined.
*** FLOUR IS YOUR BFF IN THIS RECIPE & THE KEY TO SUCCESS ***
Cover your workspace (cutting board, counter top etc) with a flour surface
Take batches of the dough (size will depend on your workspace) and put it in a ball on top of the floured workspace
Sprinkle flour on top of your dough
Cover your rolling pin with more flour
*** THE FLOUR IS WHAT PREVENTS EVERYTHING STICKING TOGETHER ***
Roll out your dough to desired thickness, the thicker the dough the softer the cookie
Once flat, make your shapes with cutters and transfer those shapes onto a PARCHMENT PAPER lined baking sheet
Refrigerate the baking sheet for 5 minutes
Put directly into oven at 350 Degrees
Bake for 10 min or until edges are slightly browned
Let cool completely before icing (I used the store bought colored pouches of icing but if you want to make your own go for it!)
Enjoy! And as much as I say to let them be messy, my daughter has clearly inherited her Moms OCD for decorating (insert winky face emoji) - I'm just a little bit proud.