Fun with baking is a perfect way to get children comfortable (and safe) in the kitchen. It is way more entertaining to practice math and science (fractions and chemical interactions) when there’s a sweet reward at the end. On the hunt for a fun project you can do with young boys and girls? Look no further. Whether they like smashing the candies and hunting for odd shapes around the house, or decorating the kitchen window with masterful artwork, the kids are certain to enjoy the taste of these cookies.
You Will Need
2 cups all-purpose flour,
3/4 teaspoon baking powder,
1/8 teaspoon salt,
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature,
1/2 cup granulated sugar,
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar,
1 large egg,
1 teaspoon vanilla extract,
30 unwrapped Jolly Rancher hard candies, divided (6 each of 5 different colors),
and various cookie cutters.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add the egg and blend. Add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, and blend until smooth. Form the dough into a ball and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
The Fun Part
Place the candies by color in separate resealable plastic bags. Using a meat mallet or other heavy object like a hammer, crush the candies into small bits.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured cutting board or work surface. Roll out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with a cookie cutter dusted with flour to prevent sticking. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a smaller cookie cutter or knife to remove an opening (hole) in the center of the cookie. Use a teaspoon to carefully place the hard candy into the opening. Make sure the candy completely fits the hole. If desired, poke a small hole in the top of each cookie so that you can hang the cookies as decorations once baked.
Bake for 9 minutes until the cookies set, but are not yet browned. The candy will have melted and may be bubbly. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes to set candy. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Sugar Mommas Note
Use whatever forms you have around the house to make the center shapes in the cookie cutouts. We used caps, wine stoppers, toothpicks, and lids from seasoning jars. Invite the kids to participate – they will surely have even more inventive ideas than you!