Monday, May 11, 2015

Therapeutic Linzer Cookies

How do you describe Linzer cookies to someone who has never seen them?  Window cookies?  Cookies made like a sandwich?  I should have pre-made a few cookies or at least given the students a color photo of how the cookies might look when they were completed--they were really confused until the very last steps of the process.
My trusty speech-language pathologist (SLP) and I took the students through the steps of flouring our hands, forming squishy sugar cookie dough into flat discs and then choosing between a star or a bone cookie cutter to form a window in one of the two cookies they made.  After the cookies baked the students chose between strawberry or grape jelly (no need to buy the strawberry--grape won every time) to spread on the bottom cookie, then carefully set their "window cookies" on top, or at least pieces of their window cookies.

Some students were so fascinated with the feeling of flour on their hands that they spent several minutes rubbing their hands over the table surface, making swirls with the flour.  It was surprising to me that no one objected to the feel of the very mushy cookie dough, even when it stuck to the web spaces between their fingers.  Although we usually work with two or three students at a time, today we had just one or two working at the table in shifts since the directions were so intensive and the hard-working SLP was rigorously asking the students to use complete sentences, "I want the grape jelly, please," instead of "grape."

Several students demonstrated excellent dexterity as they carefully used the back of a teaspoon to gently spread the jam over the bottom cookie and delicately arrange the "window" cookie on top.  Some students needed a little physical guidance to turn the mound of hastily plopped jelly into evenly spread "frosting" on top of the cookie.

Tomorrow we're going to try making the Linzer cookies from pre-made pie crust instead of the tube of sugar cookies; maybe it will bake up firm and not spread all over the pan like it did today.  We had to re-form a lot of cookies before they cooled since they all melted into a big blob while baking.  We also learned that if you forget to cut a window out of a cookie you can do it after baking, if you work real fast.

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