If you haven't noticed, we're big on rituals around here. Activities and crafts that mark a season, a moment, a transformation, and going back to school is definitely one of them. It's a time full of energy and excitement, new potential, and maybe a few first-day jitters.
So this year, along with our DIY feather pencil cases, we made free-form alphabet cookies to gear up for the new year and to practice forming letters and spelling words.
While any good roll-out sugar cookie would do a great job. . .
. . . these simple not-too-sweet butter cookies grabbed our attention. A classic after school treat for French schoolchildren and sturdy enough to hold letter shapes without crumbling. . .
. . . they really helped drive the message home.
- 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup plus one tablespoon sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- 1 pinch salt
- powdered sugar (for rolling out the dough)
In a food processor* with the metal blade attachment, pulse the butter until smooth and creamy scraping down the sides as needed. Add the sugar and pulse until smooth. Do the same with the egg. Add all of the flour at once and pulse 10-15 times until it just comes together and crumbly and a bit lumpy.
Turn out the dough on a parchment-lined surface and bring together into a ball. Split in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.
*You can make these by hand, but just be sure not to over mix. The texture of these cookies should be "sandy" and melt in your mouth.
When your dough is firm, roll out the dough on a sheet of parchment paper using powdered sugar instead of flour on your rolling pin. Roll the dough to 1/8"-1/4" thick.
Using a paring knife work with your kids to draw out the letters. This is a great opportunity for kiddos to work on their writing skills, but you could also use ABC cookie cutters if you're short on time. If the dough seems to be getting too soft while you're working, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.
Once all the letters are cut out, chill them for a bit again before moving them to a parchment-lined baking sheet. I used my leftover "scrap" dough to make simple square cookies because I can't stand to waste anything, let alone cookie dough.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Bake for 8 minutes or until set, but still light in color. Cool slightly before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once your letters are cool, let the fun begin!