Snowed in: Cookies and Havdalah Spice Bags

The winter can start to feel long this time of year. To keep everyone from getting too stir crazy, I try to set up a baking or craft day when my kids can’t play outside. I had a great idea for a craft activity to celebrate Havdalah and the end of Shabbat. I find comfort in the idea of remembering the Sabbath day and welcoming in the new week. It is a tradition that I would like to incorporate into my own life and home.

It turns out we already had everything we would need to have our own Havdalah ceremony except for spice bags. Since the bags don’t take long to make, we decided to decorate sugar cookies to pass the time and the kids loved it!

Here are the recipes for sugar cookies, frosting to decorate and how to put together the spice bags. My kids love to help in the kitchen and participate in holiday crafts. I make them a part of each step of the process, from shopping to mixing ingredients to rolling the dough to decorating. Don’t be surprised if you find that a cold and snowy winter afternoon has passed before you know it!

Decorating cookies

Decorating cookies

Sugar Cookie Recipe
4 tablespoons butter-softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest- optional
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in the egg, vanilla and lemon zest. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until well combined scraping the bowl with a spatula as needed.

Roll dough out into a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/4 inch think. Use a cookie cutter to cut into your desired shape. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for six minutes. Allow to completely cool before decorating.

Making the Spice Bags

While the cookies are baking and cooling, we put our spice bags together. I used mulling spice packets so I wouldn’t have to buy a lot of jars of spices that I would never use again. The packets have a mixture of cinnamon, orange peel, clove, allspice and ginger. You should be able to find organza pouches at almost any wedding or craft store. I poured one pouch into each bowl and let the kids spoon the mixture into the bags. They loved it and it gave me time to clean the kitchen.

For decorating the cookies I made a simple buttercream frosting and let them choose a food coloring to add.

Buttercream recipe
6 tablespoons butter-softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all of the ingredients together, adding a drop of any food coloring you want.

I gave each of my girls a plastic knife to spread the frosting on the cookies ad let them add their own sprinkles. The afternoon was a blast and now we’re ready to celebrate the coming of the new week.