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Playground Equipment Blog
Thursday, December 27, 2018

Parenting New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep (And How to Keep Them)

The new year is just about upon us, and we’re all about to take part in the long, grand tradition of making a resolution we know we’re going to break at the first possible opportunity. Many of us with kids clink our glasses of champagne at midnight with a thought spared for how we can be better parents now the slate is wiped clean by the changing of the calendar. For all that bubbly good intention, though, resolutions about parenting and our kids are just as likely to go flat as those we make for ourselves.

Or, that’s usually the case. Here, we’ve taken the opportunity to put forward a few resolutions for your kids in 2019 that you can be sure to keep...because we’ll show you how.

Resolution #1: Less TV (and phones and video games and…)

It’s as old as the boob-tube itself: the fight over TV time. Nowadays, that’s expanded to phone time, tablet time, and overall screen time. A little time spent on the screen is fine, and can even be very positive (family movie time should never be on the chop block), but we could all stand to cut back.

So, here’s a tough but very good idea: introduce a screen ban. After a certain hour, every evening, all phones are plugged into chargers in another room, all TVs are turned off, all computers put in Sleep Mode. Exceptions can be made for homework or the previously mentioned family movie time. Otherwise, no calls, no vegging, and no video games.

You’ll have an easier time with this if your kids are younger, but you can still establish some boundaries with teenagers as well. Try to entice them into this arrangement by getting ideas from them for how to spend those screen-free hours. You may find they have a lot of things they’d be happy to do with the family if they’re allowed to occasionally decide.

Resolution #2: Stick to Your Schedule

This one is for both the parents and the kids. We all say we plan to spend less time at work and keep the kids on a schedule that includes plenty of family activities, time for homework, and the right bedtime. Then life happens.

We aren’t always masters of our own work schedule, but we can still make a few positive changes to improve our scheduling at home. Start with expanding the screen ban to yourself. No email or texting once you’re home until the kids are asleep. Unless you have a job that absolutely requires you remain available throughout the evening, getting off your phone will leave you more engaged with your family and more able to manage everyone’s schedule successfully.

Not just that, studies have found the best way to curb those screen urges in the young is to demonstrate the discipline yourself. Now, you’re tackling two resolutions in one! To further this effort, post an actual schedule for evenings and weekends in a place everyone is going to see it (like on the fridge). You may not always hit the schedule points every evening, but the constant reminder will keep encouraging you while you slowly build the family evenings into a regular routine.

If you aren’t sure what your schedule should look like, the CDC has some examples to start with.

You can also increase the likelihood you stick to your schedule by getting input from your kids as you create it. When they’ve agreed to certain hours for homework instead of being forced into it, it’ll be easier to remind them this is the time they wanted reserved for that work. You may also find they actually do their work when they get to choose the time they’re most engaged and eager to study.

Resolution #3: Less Junk, More Health

Kids and junk food: one of the ultimate consternations of every parent is trying to improve family diets just to see the kids hone in on the one container of Pringles in the house and pop away. However, the truth is, cutting down on junk is easier than you may think.

Start with where you can do least: you probably can’t keep your kids from snacking on junk food at school. If they get money for lunch, they’ll have a certain amount of control over what they eat. Some schools limit those options, others don’t, but you’re a little at the mercy of that school’s decision. (Unless you want to lobby the school to change their policies, but that’s a major resolution buster right there.)

It’s best to just accept this limitation in your powers. Pushing kids too hard on their food and behavior can have more negative effects than positive.

Instead, make the most obvious choice and just stop buying junk for the house. Simply making junk food less easy to get to often reduces the problem significantly. If there are no Pringles in the house, the kids won’t find them and eat them. This, of course, requires some sacrifice on your part but it’s undeniably effective.

What about all the fast food and pizzas? Well, a little of that is probably okay too, but trimming the frequency of such events is probably for the best. You can curtail the family fast food binges by spending some of that new family time meal planning. Find healthy recipes that sound good to the kids and make them together as a family. Once again, incorporating their thoughts and their tastes will make them more enthusiastic about the choice.

If you’re too busy to cook regularly, you can research some healthier fast food options and try to commit to at least one home-cooked meal a week.

Resolution #4: Finding Time for Fun with the Little Ones

One of the best ways to improve overall family health: get outside. One of the best ways to spend more time having fun (and less time fighting, lecturing, punishing, sighing, groaning, and slamming doors): get outside.

Whether you’re just going for a walk around the neighborhood or training the family up for a mini-marathon in the summer, getting outside as often as possible brings families together, improves health, and increases family time.

If you are searching for a way to accomplish this, we’ve got a suggestion: go to the park. Plenty of parks now incorporate equipment for visitors of all ages. There’s toddler playground equipment, preschool-aged playground equipment, school-aged playground equipment, and there’s even fitness equipment for teens and adults.

Playgrounds and parks make it fun being outside with the family. They encourage imaginative, creative, and physical play. The also get everyone breathing fresh air and enjoying a bit of nature (even if it’s just a few trees and a lot of grass). You may also find that a little exercise and nature help get truculent kids to open up a little more and reopen some dialogue with the parents.

The beauty of these resolutions isn’t just that they’re important for your family or that they’re eminently achievable with a little work, it’s that they work together so you can achieve all of them within the same calendar year.

If you can find a way to settle on a better work/school/play schedule, cut back on screen time, cut out the junk food in the house, and get outside more with the kids, the changes will reinforce each other.

We don’t want to overemphasize how easy this will be. Parenting, as we all know, is hard, and we’re going to fall short and make compromises no matter how hard we try. But if by next December 31st you’ve got the kids spending one hour less on a screen, one more hour outside, eating one more healthy meal a week, and spending even a little more much begrudged time with their dear old parents, you can pat yourself on the back for a great job very well done.

Even if the effort is doomed to failure, though, just trying to make these changes at the dawn of 2019 will yield a little more quality time spent being healthy with family. And isn’t that worth giving a try?

With that thought in mind, Happy Resolution Making and Happy New Year. We’ll see you in 2019.

Written by: Ben Thompson

Friday, December 21, 2018

How to Turn Christmas Into an Active Holiday

There’s plenty to love about Christmas. It’s full of magic for all ages, it can bring families together, and who doesn’t love giving and getting presents? If there’s one thing Christmas lacks, though, it’s an active component.

Everything we do at Christmas involves sitting. We’re sitting for the big family meals. We’re sitting around the fireplace drinking hot cocoa. We’re sitting watching Christmas movies. We’re sitting opening presents. Add to that, many of us sit in the car or on the plane for hours in order to visit family and friends.

All of the above sitting and relaxing can be fun, joyful, and extremely necessary after the long year, but there’s the problem: sitting can be very bad for you.

Add to that, most of us are eating a lot of cookies, pies, and heavy meals. There’s a reason people associate the Christmas season with weight gain.

To protect your children from the unhealthy side of Christmas and New Year’s, you need to keep your kids active. They may tell you they want to watch A Christmas Story again, for the third time, but their bodies are screaming to run and play. If you were wondering why your kids can never sit through a full Christmas dinner, think about how much sitting they’ve already been doing all Christmas break.

Finding a safe and effective way to play, then, is one of the big secrets to a successful Christmas for everyone. With that in mind, we’ve put together some helpful tips to get your kids playing this holiday season, whether the weather outside is frightful or not.

Just Get Outside (Weather Permitting)

With the winter being unseasonably warm in many parts of the country this year, Christmas may be a great day to hit your local park. Many parks leave their playground equipment open for play the whole year. So, if it isn’t snowy, icy, or wet, head over and let the kids run wild on Fargo or another of our play structures.

Like Fargo, all of our equipment is all built with weather-resistant materials that can withstand standard temperature variation, so generally speaking, if it’s warm enough for the kids to be playing outside, it’s warm enough for them to be playing on our equipment.

Once they’ve had a go-round on the slides and swings, consider doing a tour of your local area on foot instead of in the car. Lots of families like to take in the local light displays in town or in different neighborhoods. Either way, find a place to park the car and get out to put foot to pavement. Bring some warm tea instead of hot cocoa to keep everyone warm without the extra calories.

Find an Active Volunteering Experience

Christmas is the season of giving. It’s wonderful to give money to charities or help out someone you know who is struggling. By all means, keep up those traditions in your family! This year, though, why not add an active component to your giving by incorporating some volunteering activities that get the kids moving while they’re doing good for the world?

Many communities have local charity run and walk events throughout the festive season. Joining up and jogging a few miles with the kids can raise money for an important cause while also keeping them on their feet. You could also contact your local animal shelter to find out if they need volunteer dog walkers. Kids can get a little extra time with friendly animals that need a little extra love, and everyone gets a good workout. Older kids will also enjoy volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. They’ll learn important building skills, spend time with dedicated volunteers, and help make sure more people stay warm and safe next Christmas. If the weather is particularly nasty, consider some indoor activities that still keep kids moving. Many homeless shelters will also have opportunities to volunteer making food, serving food, or cleaning up. No matter the weather or your community, there are sure to be opportunities aplenty to share your Christmas cheer with those who need it most in a fun and physically engaged way.

Give the Kids Active-Focused Toys

Your kids have probably made it very clear just what gifts they hope to see under the tree this year. While you want to make them happy this Christmas, you don’t have to limit your giving to what appears on their lists. Wherever possible, you can add active-focused toys that help keep your kid healthy at Christmas and throughout the year.

If you live in a snowy and hilly part of the country, consider getting your kids their first set of skis. You’ll have plenty of opportunity this season to get out on the bunny slopes and teach them (or learn together) how to ski safely. You could also consider snow boots or hiking boots so you can take in the parks while keeping feet warm and firmly placed on the ground. Long underwear and other warm clothes might get a laugh come Christmas morning, but that’s a great way to lengthen how long the little ones can play outside this winter.

You can also get your kids some very cool gifts that get them active indoors. Martial arts or dance lessons can really make your child’s Christmas, all while you ensure they get that extra energy out constructively all winter.

If you live in a place with an earlier thaw (or you don’t mind waiting to use the gifts), a set of bicycles for the family or a basketball hoop can also be big hits at Christmas that will encourage family play for years to come. You might also consider finally giving in and getting the kids scooters or skateboards this year.

The good news is: no matter where you live or what your Christmas budget looks like, there are toy options out there that get kids up and moving instead of sitting in front of one screen or another.

Use Indoor Spaces

Christmas is the shopping season, and while that can feel like a pain sometimes, it’s also an opportunity for your kids. Bring them to the mall during your shopping trips, and you’ll likely find some activities. Many malls set up winter activity areas, giving the kids the chance to play and engage productively in the holiday spirit. There may be playscapes in the mall, giving kids that playground experience they can’t get in the snow. Even if these things are lacking, the kids will get a good walk in even if the snow is piled high outdoors. Also, consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator if that’s an option for your family.

If you’ve moved on to getting all your shopping done online, check out your local community center to see if they have indoor playscapes and other indoor activities to match the malls. There may also be movement-focused activities hosted regularly through the festive season and throughout winter at libraries, schools, and other places in your area.

Finally, if you have to stop and eat fast food during this hectic season, make sure to use those inside playscapes and help your kids burn off the extra calories of energy they’ve amassed.

Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be a stressful and unhealthy one. While we can’t do much about the stress, there’s plenty that can be done to make Christmas a healthy as well as joyful time. And hey, getting some fresh air and activity may help relieve that stress as well.

In other words, just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to reconcile yourself to a long winter full of cabin fever and unhealthy habits.

Written by: Ben Thompson

Friday, December 14, 2018

From Our Family to Yours: Cookies from Around the World

With the quickly approaching holidays, it seemed an appropriate time to bring in a guest poster to share some of their family traditions on the blog. Family is at the center of the holiday season and all families have their unique ways of celebrating. That's part of the beauty of being a parent. It's an opportunity to form your own traditions that could be based on your culture, other cultures, or even incorporating elements from regions all around the world. This post will guide you in discovering what family traditions create your holiday memories.

In our house, like many midwestern homes, the month of December is all about cookies. One of our biggest holiday traditions, Cookie Sunday, revolves around baking and family, in that order, and we’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Every year, on one Sunday in December, we all gather at Grandma’s house to bake through the morning and late into the evening. Everyone comes together to make more than a thousand treats and when we’re done we assemble our cookie boxes to take or send to family, friends, and neighbors. Year after year the staples remain the same: peanut butter balls (the favorite, last year we rolled over 1000), chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin, Christmas crack, puppy chow, no-bakes, and snickerdoodles, but every year we each bring a new recipe to the table to try our hand.

This year we each chose a holiday cookie recipe from around the world. We thought it would be fun to look up the history behind the recipes, as well as each country’s holiday traditions.

The history of cookies is well documented and originated out of the discovery and trade of sugar. According to historians, the first record of cookies was their use as test cakes, a small amount of batter was baked to test the temperature of the oven. The earliest cookies date back to 7th century Persia A.D. With sugar originating somewhere in Southeast Asia, it then spread along the developing spice trade to Persia. From Persia, cookies and other portable sweet treats spread to Europe with the Muslim conquest of Spain, and along all the major spice trade routes. Sugar is one of the best documented products of the Middle Ages, which means cookies are, too! By the end of the 14th century one could buy cookies and pastries on the streets of Paris and Renaissance cookbooks were filled with countless cookie recipes.

In the present day, there are now hundreds if not thousands of cookie recipes in the United States alone. With the US being a veritable melting pot of cultures, it has been fun and interesting to look through popular cookie recipes and find their origins. This led to my family’s choice this year to choose holiday cookie recipes from other cultures. Many countries have traditions around cookies made during the holidays, just like us. We thought it would be fun to explore the food and culture of other countries and regions by learning about their holiday traditions and the cookies tied to them.

Our list includes recipes from:
Finland, Germany, China, South America, Mexico, the Czech Republic, and Scotland.

Finnish Pinwheel Cookies (Joulutorttu)

*Makes about 24 cookies and 1 cup of preserves

There are lots of different versions of recipes available for this particular treat, but they all incorporate the iconic star shape of the season with a bright fruit-filled center. The recipe posted here is by Elizabeth Stringer-Bake from Scratch Holiday Cookies 2018. The traditional recipe calls for a prune preserve filling, but our recipe has a bright cranberry and ruby port preserves reduction. If you would like to know more about the history of the cookie and its origin, the Curious Cuisiniere has a wonderful article about it.

Cookie Recipe

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup whole milk

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, place flour, cold butter, and salt; pulse until mixture is crumble. Add ricotta cheese and whole milk and pulse until the dough comes together. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Shape each portion into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line 3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Working with one dough disk at a time, roll dough to ⅛ inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a 3-inch square cutter, cut dough, and place on prepared baking sheets. On each square make 4 (1-inch) cuts at the corners diagonally toward the center. Place 1 teaspoon of the fruit filling in the center of each dough square. Fold every other tip over toward the center, forming a pinwheel. Dab the ends of the tips with water to help adhere and prevent separation in the oven.
  4. Bake until the edges are barely golden brown, 11-12 minutes. Let cool on pans. Dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.

Cranberry Port Preserves

  • 2 cups frozen cranberries, thawed
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup ruby port wine

In a medium saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Mash cranberries, and reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes. Pour mixture into a jar with a tight-fitting lid, and let cool completely. Refrigerate any leftover cranberry preserves for up to 2 weeks. (Leftover hot preserves can be transferred to sterilized jars, water bath processed for 10 minutes, and stored for up to 6 months.

German Almond Crescent Cookies

*makes about 24

This crumbly, almond-scented cookie is not just a Christmas classic, but a staple in the Austrian and Germanic areas. The simple shape and size of the cookie makes it the perfect compliment for tea, coffee, or even a glass of milk. A slight variation of these is the vanillakipferl, which is the Austrian vanilla crescent cookie. For a this Austrian version of the recipe, check out The Daring Gourmet which also has wonderful pictures of Austria as well.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¾ cup confectioners sugar
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat all-purpose flour, cold butter, confectioner’s sugar, almond flour, and salt at medium-low speed until a crumbly dough forms, 3-4 minutes. (Mixture will start out dry, but will come together.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Divide dough into 24 balls. Roll dough balls into 4 ½ inch logs with tapered ends, and bend each one into a crescent shape. Place about 1 inch apart on prepared pans.
  4. Bake, one batch at a time, until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, not brown. 12-15 minutes. Sift confectioners sugar over hot cookies. Let cool completely and dust with confectioners sugar again. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Traditional Chinese Almond Cookies

*makes about 5 dozen

The Chinese, Korean, and Japanese areas are not often recognized for their cookies and other sweet desserts. Typically, that part of the world, is noted for the delicate balance of sweetness which allows them to explore textures that are rarely seen in Western cuisine. This recipe shines line on a cookie that could pass as a Western style cookie. China Sichuan Food has created a wonderful recipe that showcases the individual steps needed to create these simply delightful treats!

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ teaspoon water

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and almond extract.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and mix well.
  3. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  4. Add the dry ingredient mixtures to the cream mixture gradually until the dough forms.
  5. Roll into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a fork, sprinkle with almonds.
  6. In a small bowl, beat egg white with water. Brush over cookies.
  7. Bake cookies for 14-16 minutes or until edges and bottoms are lightly golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes on pan, before removing to wire racks.

Latin American Alfajores or Dulce de Leche Cookies

*makes about 3 dozen 2 inch cookie sandwiches

The Latin American Alfajores aren't contained to a specific country in South America, because historically they were brought overseas when the Spaniards first came. However, time has changed them to become their current form.

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ⅛ cups cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar*
  • 1-2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, optional
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 350g (12oz) dulche de leche, for filling
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, for rolling

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract and egg yolks just until combined. Do not overmix or the cookies will be tough.
  3. Form the dough into a ball, then flatten slightly to form a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until firm enough to roll.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for five minutes. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to a ⅛ or ¼ inch thickness. Cut out into rounds using a 2-inch fluted or round cookie cutter.
  6. Place the cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place baking sheets with cookies in the freezer or fridge for at least 15 minutes, or until firm, so that they will be less prone to spread.
  7. Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes, until the cookies appear golden around the edges. Allow them to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then gently transfer to wire rack for cooling.
  8. Spread the bottom half of the cookies with dulce de leche, about one teaspoon each. Sandwich together with remaining cookies pressing lightly so that the caramel oozes out the sized. Roll the sides in coconut.
  9. Store the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week, or freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave on the counter overnight.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

*makes 2 dozen

Featured in a New York Times article about traditional Christmas cookies in 1990, it has become one of the most popular versions of this recipe and we make it every Christmas at our house. Sometimes called Mexican wedding cakes, polvorones or Russian tea cakes, these are dead-simple to make and addictive to eat. This recipe is done entirely in a food processor so you can clean-up in minutes and get on to the most important task..devouring these cookies.

  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • 2 ½ cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt

  1. Put pecans, 1 cup of the sugar and the pinch of salt in the food processor and blend until nuts are ground finely. Cut the butter into tablespoon-size pieces and add it to nut mixture with processor running.
  2. Scrape dough into a bowl. Cover tightly and refrigerate one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  4. Scoop dough balls with tablespoon and form 1-inch balls by rolling dough between palms (lightly flour hands, if necessary). Place balls 1 ½ inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  5. Bake 15 minutes or until cookies barely begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes. Use small spatula to lift cookies from sheets. Roll the cookies in remaining sugar.

Czech Gingerbread Cookies, Pernik Na Figurky

This recipe for Czech gingerbread cookies or Pernik Na Figurky, is popular at Christmas time when they become a part of Vanonci Cukrovi or Christmas treats. There are quite a few ginger flavored Christmas treats out there. Ginger snaps is another one of them. MyRecipes does a great job explaining the differences between these two Christmas favorites.

  • 2 ⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups refined sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons honey (warm)
  • 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, spices and baking soda until thoroughly mixed. Add honey, eggs, rum and zest and form a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 325° F. Between two pieces of parchment paper, roll dough to ⅛ inch-¼ inch thickness. Remove top parchment paper and cut out various shapes of your choice, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Remove scraps.
  3. Lift parchment paper by opposite corners and place on a sheet pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until light golden at the edges. Cool completely on the pan before removing to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough and scraps.
  4. When the cookies are completely cool, decorate with icing if desired. Let icing harden before storing in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers.

Traditional Scottish Shortbread

*makes 12 servings

Enjoy this delicious Scottish Shortbread recipe. Shortbread is the most popular cookie eaten traditionally around the Holidays as an essential part of the the traditional Scottish New Year. The success of shortbread is to handle the dough with care and as little as possible. Do not pound or knead heavily and make sure the dishes you use and your hands are cold. The resulting treat will be light and crumbly with a buttery taste.

  • 8 oz butter
  • ½ cup superfine sugar, and a little extra for dusting
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 ½ oz cornstarch
  • 1 tiny pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  2. In a large bowl cream together butter, salt and sugar until light and fluffy and pale in color. This can take up to 10 minutes. Use an electric or stand mixer.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour and cornstarch. Do not overmix as you will risk the danger of making the shortbread too warm.
  4. Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead lightly and quickly to form a loose dough.
  5. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper to ¼ inch thickness. Prick the surface all over with a fork. Cut into desired shape or rounds.
  6. Place the Scottish shortbreads on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until pale golden brown and crisp. Sprinkle the warm shortbreads with superfine sugar and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Store in an airtight container.

What are some of your family's favorite cookies? Please tell us in the comments below.

Written by: Erin Brown