Cookies Desserts

turbinado sugar cookies – and another birthday!

the grubby birthday boy! ::::

We had a low-key birthday for the little man on Saturday. He is warming up liking cake a bit, not like last year’s cake substitute pear gallette. And he loves to do the same things Big Sister Peach does — they often play together well, cycled with roughhousing and someone crying because they’ve gotten physically hurt or taunted. In attendance for a birthday dinner and dessert were Grub’s godparents M&M (I mention them on my halloumi cheese appetizer post), my brother (“Uncle David”), and the paternal grandparents, at a kid-friendly and food-exquisite restaurant, the Left Bank, in Menlo Park.

Craving their watermelon-pepper gazpacho soup which is out of season, I settled on the rabbit terrine with crusty bread, cute French olives, cornichons, fruit compote, and spicy mustard. I filled up on the cod with spinach for my main course. We headed home for birthday dessert.

Since Grub is a tepid cake-eater, I opted for birthday cookies in some of his favorite shapes: airplanes and cars. I considered icing too, then got distracted by the sparkly sugar I had in the cupboard. They were a hit, those cookies — but more with the adults and Peach. Grub had eaten so much for dinner that even some airplane and car cookies didn’t seem all that interesting.  I managed to paste two candles on top with some fresh buttercream, so at least we could sing Happy Birthday , watch Grub play with his new toy drill distractedly, then almost spit the flames out on the candles with Peach’s help.

“Ahew-plane, Mommy!” Grub exclaimed, just to make sure I had seen the cookies. He said this while in bed that night, the toy drill taking presidence earlier and keeping any conversation about cookies limited.

He is a master of words, speaking in short sentences, usually commands appropriate for a blossoming two-year-old. “Lay down, Mommy,” he points to the bed when we are getting ready to cuddle. “Zah-zie outside,” he states when I pick him up from daycare, and he has spied Peach outside with her classmates already. “No, no,” he waggles his finger at me and points to the electrical outlet. “Hot! No touch.” he reminds me of the play pots and pans on the floor. “Cooking dinna,” he explains. It’s nice to know he is catching on to our admonishing quips, yet does not always follow them outside of play.

He is still a huge smiler, catching my eye, just to flash a smile and unsolicited kisses and hugs. The difference now compared to last year is that he finally went through a growth spurt, often consuming more food than me in one sitting, growing taller and more dense in a matter of weeks. And he is harder to catch. When he and Peach take off running, I’m glad that I am a runner too. They are fast. You can keep growing and running, Big Man, just keep those kisses and hugs coming. Here’s to being two years old!


turbinado sugar cookies - and another birthday!
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar*
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color.
  2. Add egg and milk and beat to combine.
  3. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to ¼-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill or put back in fridge, wrapped, for a few minutes.
  6. Cut into desired shapes, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time.
  7. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
  8. Need some frosting? See recipe below in notes section.
Frosting/filling (from ⅔ cup butter 4 cups confectioners sugar 2 tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and milk until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and food coloring. Spread on or between cookies. I felt filling the cookies a day in advance helped the cookies soften a little and mellow the buttercream. I only frosted a small portion as the cookies were great without the buttercream. * I felt the larger grained turbinado sugar didn't mix quite as well as finer grained white sugar has in previous cookie recipes. Every time I used a cookie cutter, I could hear and feel a grittiness. The taste - no complaints. The smoothness of the cookie top, however, was a little wonky. If decorating with frosting, cosmesis shouldn't be a problem. If you are worried about it, a sprinkling of colored sugar, like I did, camouflages it some.







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