Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Spring! Equinox Cookies and a Book Share

Oh, Happy Spring!

We spent the day doing all things springy - spring crafts, spring baking, spring song... You get the idea.  (The spring song was made up by Sydney, no less.  And, it was cute.  For the first half hour.  Maybe for the first 10 minutes.)

I wanted to share a lovely spring book that I found at the library.  The charming illustrations and lyrical language remind me a bit of If You Find a Rock, another favorite.  The book is and then it's spring, by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead.  It tells of a boy planting some seeds in his garden in the spring and then waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting some more.  A few of my favorite lines:
"... and it is still brown,
but a hopeful, very possible sort of brown,..."
"please do not stomp here -
there are seeds
and they are trying"
Lovely, right?

We don't have quite the same level of brown at the start of spring here that I am used to in Michigan, but I can still visualize those little seeds trying.  I'm still learning the rhythm of the seasons and I have to admit that its a fun kind of local education.  And, don't worry, I'm sure we get our fair share of brown - probably the end of the summer when its 100 degrees and there hasn't been any rainfall in a month... I may have to write a parody.  (Okay, my sister, Kate, may have to write it.  She is a much better writer and way funnier than I.)

I also wanted to share a fun treat that you can make with your kids to celebrate spring: Spring Equinox Cookies!

I'm actually surprised that more kitchen projects haven't made it onto this blog up to this point because my family are all bakers with a huge collection of recipes and an even larger sweet tooth.  I have to laugh at the Pinkalicious story when she loses her sweet tooth and everything tastes terrible because I swear every tooth of mine is a sweet tooth.  It's not necessarily a good thing.

I digress.

Source: King Arthur Flour
These Spring Equinox Cookies are adapted from the King Arthur Flour recipe for "Black and White Cookies", similar to those I grew up with in Upstate New York.  The cookies I knew and loved were similar but with a chocolate base and we called them "Half Moon Cookies".  I can still remember the taste of the ones purchased at the Home Dairy in Ithaca before it closed.  I'm still so sad - it must have been because I went to college and couldn't indulge in my daily, er, I mean, weekly habit.  (If you have a second, you should definitely read the KAF blog post associated with the recipe - anything with the phrase "fuggedaboutit" strongly featured is worth the read.)

This version is perfect for spring with its light, lemony flavor.  These cookies are smaller than the standard Black and Whites and I also took liberties with both the method of cooking (I used a whoopie pie pan to get the perfectly round shape) as well as the frosting.  This was the biggest switch in my book as, in my humble opinion, the chocolate frosting is what makes the cookie.  Oh well, its for the sake of science.

Speaking of science, when the cookies were done we were able to talk about the significance of the two different color frosting and how it relates to the equinox.  The yellow represents day and the purple/pink (should have made it darker...) represents night. On the two equinoxes of each year, day and night are relatively equal.  We talked a bit about how the earth moves around the sun during the course of the year and what happens during the solstices as well.

I also found that baking these cookies were a good way to reinforce some math concepts for the girls.  As we baked, Maya was able to practice some basic math skills and we worked on some fractions with Sydney. 

Now that its spring, does that mean I have to devote myself to spring cleaning?




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  2. Love those equinox cookies! Just found your blog, so many great ideas here! I'm your newest follower!

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    1. Thanks, Sue! I haven't been writing much lately but hope to very soon. :)

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