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Baking with elbow grease

December 12, 2007 - Betsy Bethel
Baking sugar cookies with the youngest members of our family last night was a hoot.

My nephews, ages 5 and 6, and niece, who will be 13 Monday, came over for the evening to hang out with us while their parents went to a business dinner. Silly aunt that I am, I thought baking cookies would be fun!

Of course, it WAS fun ... and very, very messy!

Not as messy as it could have been, however, since I cheated. Not one to have mastered the art of baking sugar cookies (anyone have a tried and true recipe to share?), I bought the refrigerated tube of dough and let the boys take turns rolling it out. Emma's job was to push the cutter into the dough, with the help of her cousin Jenna. The boys also cut out cookies and put them on the cookie sheet mostly by themselves. They did a great job! Only one unbaked star landed on the floor and had to be tossed out owing to the fact I can't remember the last time I mopped. The messiest part came when it was time to add the sprinkles. I think I still have sugar crystals stuck to the bottom of my slippers!

The "keeper" memory of the evening came when the boys were rolling the dough. I told them they needed to add a little elbow grease, because the dough needed to be rolled out more thinly.

They looked at me puzzled. "What's elbow grease?" one said. I told them it means they have to use their muscles more, but I don't think they got it. They sunk the cutters in and I squished the dough back into a ball to be rolled out again.

As one nephew took the roller in hand, the other asked him -- in all seriousness -- "Where's the elbow grease? Did you add the elbow grease?"

Boy, wouldn't it be nice if elbow grease did come in a bottle?


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