I am not a very talented baker, but I am a human being and I have an occastional sweet tooth. My children, however, have about 44 sweet teeth combined that demand satisfaction a couple of times a week. So we spent snow day number 3 getting creative in the kitchen with a few Aldi baking ingredients. Gorgeous tip #2…you can buy a lot of great baking items at Aldi for super cheap.
My favorite Christmas cookies are pinwheels. They are a red and green type of sugar cookie that is loaded with almond flavoring and looks like a pinwheel. The original recipe came from my Grandma. Between my grandma, aunts, and mom these were always on the holiday cookie tray. An outsider may have thought that a child sneeked his newest play-doh creation into the edibles. Do not be fooled! These puppies are fla-vor-full (and edible)! This Christmas I was getting settled in a new home, so my holiday baking consisted of dipping some cookies in some melting chocolate. Since December 25th has come and gone, I have longed for my play-doh looking delights. So today we shall make them. Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I shall swing in a Valentine’s twist.
Ingredients: 1 cup margarine, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg, 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, red food coloring (All of these items can be purchased at Aldi! They always have low prices on margarine, sugar, eggs, and flour. Unfortunately, they only sell the almond extract during the holiday baking season…so stock up then. They also have a lot of other fun holiday baking items that are substantially cheaper than the neighborhood grocery store. Anyone back in the holiday spirit? No…not me either.)
Mix up the first 5 ingredients. Then add the flour and salt. Mix well. Split the dough into 2 equal parts. Put 1 half on a sheet of waxed paper. Add red food coloring to the other half (still in the bowl) and mix well. Put the red dough on another piece of wax paper. Wrap the paper around the dough balls and put in the freezer for about an hour.
Take out of freezer. Open up paper and put another piece of wax paper on the top of the dough. Then, begin to roll out the dough. Your rolling-pin should be on top of the wax paper. Do this for both colors and try to roll them into the same size, thin, rectangles. Take the top layers of wax paper off. Lay one color on top of the other…dough sides together. Peel the wax paper off the top. Begin to roll up the dough, leaving the last piece of wax paper behind. Roll from the widest side of the rectangle, so you have the longest “tube” of dough possible. Cut the dough into two pieces. Wrap each “tube” in waxed paper and place back in freezer.
One hour or one week later, take the tubes out of the freezer. Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees. Cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place on cookie sheet. At this point I shaped the dough into hearts with my fingers…it wasn’t hard at all, but you don’t have to do this. I sprinkled plain sugar on half of the cookies to see what would happen. Turns out they were really cute this way. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. (When the cookies are firm, they are done…you want to try to take them out before they get any brown on top)
My mother-in-law gave me the idea to display cookies on a cake stand. If you don’t feel like making these cookies, open a box of cookies you bought at Aldi, throw them on a fancy stand, and give a tiny evil grin!
Special notes about these cookies: I love these cookies for a few reasons. One, they are fun to eat. Pull the white and pink parts apart with your teeth. Just try it…don’t be shy! Two, they are NOT roll and cut sugar cookies. The instructions may sound in-depth, but I PROMISE they are more enjoyable to make than roll and cut cookies. Roll and cut cookies are from the devil! It starts out being the best idea in the world. The kids are excited, you are feeling like mom of the year, all the sprinkles, cutters, and frosting are out and ready. Then, the madness begins. You might have the loving help of others for the first round of rolling, cutting, decorating, etc. But then you are left in the dust. The lone soldier left behind to finish the cookie battle. The kids run back in the room and knock the sprinkles everywhere. Flour is all over the floor, in your hair, and in your armpits. By about round 5 of the timer going off every 10-12 minutes…you near the finish. Mom-of-the-year is tired, dirty, has cranky kids, and a heck of a mess to clean up. Listen up…you DO NOT have to make sugar cookies every year, every holiday or EVER and you can still be mom (grandma or friend) of the year! If you actually enjoy doing this, consider yourself a rarity and make the sugar cookies for the rest of us, normal people.