Martha by Mail Wise Owl Cookies for the Teacher with Recipe

 

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Teacher I love you, teacher I care.

At my house August is really January. Calendars are ordered and prepped in July, new clothes, shoes and backpacks are purchased, a classroom (this year two of them!) are cleaned thouroughly and decorated ,new school and desk supplies fill our hearts with happiness and another year begins!

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I’ll never forget when my DD was going to be in first grade. She was so excited to be in our neighborhood school and not in the baby building anymore. She no longer had to ride the bus to me in the afternoons. She could just come to my room. She loved everything about being a teacher (and still does, although she won’t admit it, Lol). She would always try to teach her baby brother with my teacher stuff or our homeschool stuff. My heart would melt. She loved to practice writing her name in print and cursive on the big sentence strips in my room. Everyday I fixed her hair and put in matching curly bows. Then she would clip her lunch bag to her backpack, hitch up her backpack and say, “Let’s go!” I would often find her engrossed in playing school with her vintage Fisher-Price Little People Schoolhouse. Her sweet little voice chattering away as she made the wood people come to life.

My DS was just as cute. “Neat as a peeled Easter Egg he waited outside the classroom door.” When he got to first grade he got to be in the first grade hall with me. His eyes were sparkly and his freckles danced. And best of all, he adored his teacher! He loved to play with our Fisher-Price microscope and catch frogs and bugs in the yard to study. He was always so careful not to hurt any of the little creatures. He loved to find cicada shells and snails. He would also bring me things for my classroom- robin’s egg shells, butterflies that had died, and feathers. He was such a naturalist. Every day he would wake up with little red cheeks and dancing eyes and tell me it was time for school!

This year we are making a present for my children’s teachers- big gingerbread cookies decorated with royal icing!

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Getting ready! We used the Martha by Mail Copper cookie cutter “Wise Owl” and my recipe for gingerbread cookies which I altered from Martha’s to better fit younger tastebuds. Hers had black pepper in it!

I’ve posted the recipe before with complete step, by step directions, but I’m putting it here again because it’s sooo good! My DS helped with these.

Heirloom Gingerbread Cookies

6 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ginger
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 & 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter
1 Cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 Cup unsulfured molasses

Mix together all dry ingredients with a wire whisk. In a separate bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together, butter and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients and molasses altering cups of each until done and a dough forms.

Divide dough into 4 balls and flatten. This dough works best if you use it right away but can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated. Allow to come to room temp. before baking with it.

When ready to bake, roll out dough onto Silpat. First cover dough with a sheet of plastic wrap, then roll out with the rolling pin. Cut out cookies and gently remove negative or extra dough from around them. You can do this by rolling up the extra dough with your finger once you pull up a piece. Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 Farenheit oven. Let cool on the Silpat on the cookie sheet while another batch bakes. Then transfer carefully with a metal spatula to your storage container. This way your very large cookies won’t break. Put layers of wax paper between cookies so they won’t stick together in storage.

The next day we were ready for icing! I made a blog post about this earlier too. Here it is with steps. My DD helped with this.

Heirloom Royal Icing

2 large egg whites, or their equivalent in pasteurized egg whites
4 Cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
1 teaspoon almond extract
3-4 teaspoons water or more depending on consistency desired

Consistency is so important with Royal icing. The best for your base layer is called flooding consistency. When you mix it up stop the mixer and watch how fast the swirls disappear into themselves and become smooth. This will tell you how your icing will settle on your cookie. You are looking for about 5-8 seconds for this to happen. Quicker- and your icing will be too runny. If it is slower it will have ripples. For thinner icing, add water. I usually end up doubling what the water (or liquid-some recipes call for lemon juice) is in a recipe before I can get a good starting consistency. (If it is a humid day you might need less water, if it is winter and your heat is running you might need more.)

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First eyes!
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Then some “feathers.”
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Another tray. Details like glasses are added!

When iced, I let them dry all night in front of a fan. Then we bag them up and get ready to gift teachers! ☺️ The owl pieces on the tray were our “quality control” lol! These are delicious!

Today we met teachers and they were so happy to get their cookies! I was so glad to have helped the kids let their new teachers know it was going to be a great year!

With cookies and milk on Kansas Street,

-Jaime

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