part one, and part two), you know that we are starting small with simple ways to incorporate learning with play.
It was day one of my friend, Robin, and my homeschool preschool experiment with our two daughters. We started off with preschool-age story time at our local library, where the theme was Dragons and Castles and the Letter D. The girls had a great time listening to a couple stories and singing along with the songs. Afterward, we went back to my house and decided to carry on with the Letter D theme and make Letter D and Dinosaur sugar cookies!
I made use of this awesome cookie cutter set, made a simple batch of sugar cookies, and frosted them with naturally colored icing!
Naturally Colored Icing
This is more of an idea than a recipe, since I didn't measure anything (that tends to be my default cooking and baking mode!), but this was so foolproof, and it can be changed to meet your icing needs, whether it be for sugar cookies, cupcakes, or birthday cakes. The best part is, the coloring used is real fruit and I actually flavors the icing! If you want a deep, rich concentration of color, you can use less powdered sugar and more of the fruit powder (or try using only fruit powder to eliminate refined sugar.) If you want a pastel color, only a little fruit powder is needed.
-Heavy Whipping Cream (or Coconut Cream for dairy free)
-Freeze dried raspberries or strawberries (for red or pink)
-Freeze dried blueberries (for blue or purple)
First, grind about 1/4 cup of each of the freeze dried fruits in a spice or coffee grinder (I used my baby bullet) until it becomes a fine powder. Next combine about 1/4 cup heavy cream with a couple tbsp powdered sugar until it reaches the icing consistency your are looking for. Finally, add some of the freeze dried berry powder, 1/4 tsp at a time, until the frosting reaches the desired color. Repeat for other color. When you're ready to ice your cookies, pour each color of frosting into plastic ziplock bags, make a small snip in the corner, and use them as piping bags!
This icing turned out delicious! Trader Joe's and even Target have many different varieties of freeze dried fruits, so I look forward to trying this again with other fruits and colors.
The girls had a great time frosting their own cookies (we moms helped too, of course), and had even more fun eating them. While we worked on our cookies, we talked about other things that start with Letter D. Mila answered most of the questions, since she's the older of the two girls, but November listened, and remembered some of what she heard. It gave me a glimpse at the benefits of schooling children of multiple age ranges together.
Afterward, we got some energy out at open play at Seattle Gymnastics, and afterward November and I went home for a nice long nap. It sure was a great start to our homeschool experiment! And this simple and tasty project will be so much fun to replicate again in the future and for holidays!