I screwed up my courage and baked Christmas cookies with my children. Thanks to my friend Chris, I have The Perfect Recipe.
Gingerbread Cookies I
(from Allrecipes.com, Colonial Williamsburg, with some modifications by me)
Stir together in large bowl:
1/2 c. white sugar
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
Add melted fats to dry stuff in bowl, stirring, along with:
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 cup unsulfured, blackstrap molasses
3/4 tsp. vanilla
Stir in, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each cup:
2 c. unbleached white flour
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
Roll dough to 1/4" thickness on lightly-floured surface. Cut into shapes. Place on nonstick or greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes at 375. Cool on racks. Yields 4-5 dozen.
What makes these cookies The Best for Children:
1. they don't suffer from re-rolling, lots of flour, and handling
2. they're healthy enough that I don't feel guilty letting them eat a lot. um, A LOT.
3. no eggs, if you're worried about salmonella in the raw dough
4. the batter stirs together - no electric mixer to supervise
This year, going by a great post from ModObject at Home, we painted the cookies. The paint didn't show up as well on these dark-brown cookies, but my kids were tickled. And they stuck red-hot candies in the wet paint too. To keep the paint manageable, I let them each pick out about 10 cookies to paint and squirreled the rest away for a time when I'm not weary of Christmas sweets.