My daughter has recently picked up a new eating habit - playing with her food. Luckily, she is not a picky eater per se, but she enjoys exploring her meals as much as she does consuming them. All in all, I don't mind letting her peel apart her sandwiches and eat them layer by layer, or separate her vegetables into little piles. I think it is important for children to understand what's on their plate, just as much as it is for them to eat it. But, every so often the mother in me can't resist making meal time a touch more interesting for her. Which is why I was thrilled to discover this awesome new kids food tool, the Lunch Punch.
Just to clarify, I am not getting paid to endorse these in any way, I am writing about them because I think they are clever and interesting. Plus my daughter loves them! As you know, I do the majority of my cooking when she naps. But, in this case, I have let her in on some of the fun. Since the Lunch Punch arrived in the mail I've been using them for all sorts of things in my kitchen, including making fun shapes out of Rice Krispie Treats, grilled cheeses, cinnamon-sugar toast and iced sugar cookies. The cookies have been her most favorite things so far. Not only because they are sweet, but because I let her participate in the cookie making.
Since she is not yet two, my daughter lacks any basic culinary knowledge. To her the kitchen is a place filled with wonderful gadgets and toys she can play with. At the present time her favorite thing to do is switch the mixer on and off on my command. She also likes to lick the icing and batters right off the spatula. I can't say I'm surprised by any of this since her actions closely resemble my memories of baking with my mother.
I have been making these classic iced sugar cookies for years on end, they are unfailingly buttery and delicious. Since I usually make them for Christmas and Valentine's Day most of my cookie cutters are in the shapes of hearts and stars. However, now that the Lunch Punch is in my cabinet, I have opened up a whole new world of shapes. During snacktime last week my daughter actually tried to assemble the Lunch Punch puzzle piece cookies. Then, later that week, she correctly identified the Lunch Punch animal shapes in front of her, before biting their heads off. I couldn't have been more proud.
(cookies decorated by my daughter)
Clearly the Lunch Punch would be useful for all kinds of reasons, they are a great way to get kids to take interest in their food, no matter what you are trying to serve them. For me, they will forever be the best tools for sugar cookies and grilled cheeses, as well as Play Doh fun. As a mother, and the Home Cook-in-Chief, I highly suggest you pick some up today and enjoy the time with your kids.
Naptime's Perfect Iced Sugar Cookies
adapted from an old recipe from my friend Andrea's mother
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
6 T. whole milk
2 t. vanilla
5 1/2 c. flour
3 t. baking powder
1 pinch Kosher salt
1/4 c. butter
1 box (16 oz.) confectioners sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. whole milk - added gradually Food coloring as desired
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beat until combined. Add milk and vanilla, mix until combined.
3. In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour to the wet ingredients, adding slowly until flour mixture is incorporated.
4. Chill batter in the fridge for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
5. When ready, roll dough out until 1/8 inch thick on a floured surface. Using Lunch Punch, cut cookies in desired shapes.
6. Transfer shapes to cookie sheets and baking for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown.
7. When cookies have cooled, whisk together frosting ingredients and decorate cookies as desired.
Naptime's Cinnamon-Sugar Toast
1 t. sugar 1 t. cinnamon 1 pat salted butter Thick slice of bread 1. Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Set aside. 2. Press Lunch Punch into the bread slice to create your desired shape. Trim the edges of the bread to polish. 3. Toast bread to desired dryness in toaster. 4. While bread is still warm spread butter across entire shape. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve.
Naptime Notes for Lunch Punch:
- Rice Krispie Treat shapes
- Jello Jigglers in all shapes and sizes
- Thin crust sandwiches
- New biscuit shapes
- Grilled Cheese shapes