If you have a favorite sugar cookie recipe and want to go to the trouble of preparing it, then please do... If not, use a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough.
Make sure the cookie dough is very firm... pop it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before beginning to work with it. Be sure to check as you don't want it frozen just really cold!
Place dough on waxed paper and slice in rounds. Use a small cookie cutter (actually a bottle top will do) and cut out the middle of the wreath. Have the kids cut this center of dough in half with a plastic knife and place the 2 halves at the bottom of each wreath. Shape the halves slightly forming what will look like a bow on the wreath.
Bake according to your own recipe or according to directions on the cookie dough package. Don't overbake.... let the cookies get golden and just begin to brown!
Remove immediately from the cookie sheet to a wire rack for cooling (If you leave them on the cookie sheet, they will continue to brown). Cool for about 30 minutes until completely cool.
While the cookies are cooling, stir up the "finger-paint icing."
Here's what you'll need:
1 tub of Vanilla (white, white) Rich and Creamy frosting
1/4 teaspoon green food coloring
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
1/4 cup red hots
Reserve 1/2 cup of the frosting (just white) in a small microwavable bowl and set aside. Let the kids spread the remaining white frosting on the cookies.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the reserved frosting into another small microwavable bowl. Microwave each bowl of frosting uncovered on High for only about 5 seconds until just warm. Stir until frosting can be poured. Stir in the green food coloring into one bowl and the red into the other bowl.
Now for the fun! Let the kids use their fingers to create the wreaths by dipping one finger into the warm freen froting and lightly pressing onto the wreath part of the cookie. They can slightly swirl it so it looks like the greenery on a wreath.
Note: The color will appear watercolor-like and a bit transparent.
Create a red bow by dipping another fingertip into the warm red frosting and lightly coating the bow part of the wreath cookies.
Note: A "light touch" is the secret to making these cookies really special!
If the frosting gets too stiff in working with it, simply pop it back into the microwave and re-heat.
Press at least 4 red hots onto the wreath to look like red berries on the wreath.
The kids will love these and they taste great too!
'Tis the Season to Get Kids Cooking,Jan McCracken, Culinary Coach