After covering the patio with fall sidewalk chalk leaves yesterday, the girls were cold, hungry, and ready for a snack. I figured they'd appreciate a plate of warm, fall scented cookies fresh from the oven, and so had slipped inside to mix up a quick batch of sugar cookie dough, with a fall twist.
I mixed together our usual 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 stick of butter, and two eggs, but left out the standard teaspoon of vanilla. Instead, I divided the dough into fourths, and added a different flavor, and coloring to each portion of dough.
I chose baker's cocoa (about 2 tablespoons), maple pancake syrup (about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons) with red food coloring, and enough additional flour to offset the stickiness of the liquid, instant hot cider mix (about 2 teaspoons) with yellow food coloring, and pumpkin pie spice (about 1 teaspoon) with yellow and red food coloring to make orange. To be honest, I didn't really measure the add-ins, but just added enough to make the dough smell good.
And, it did smell good - delicious in fact.
I gave the girls some of each color of dough to blend together, and roll out, along with a few freshly printed fall leaf identification sheets (from here and here) to use as guide for cutting leaf shapes from the dough with butter knives.
They didn't really try to match the appropriate colors to the shapes on the sheets, but did have fun discussing which type of leaf they were trying to copy. And, thanks to a leaf anatomy sheet from the forestry section of about.com...
...they could name features, such as the midribs and veins, as they added them to their cookie creations.
The cookies smelled wonderful while baking (350°F for 13 minutes). The children were skeptical about mixing the flavors together, but they blended nicely, and tasted as good as they smelled.
And, here we were thinking that with no trees in our new yard we'd be left without a leaf pile to dive into, this fall. Problem solved.
Now, we just need to find a local fall foliage guide, so that as the leaves change around town, we can take a drive, and hopefully be able to identify some of the trees that are new to us, in this region of the country.