I never posted about our Christmas cookie baking, but we sure did A LOT of it. I think baking is one of those activities where they can learn a lot (if we slow down enough to let them) and where they see a great reward for their efforts.
Of course it’s easier, cleaner and faster to mix up the cookie dough on your own, but I’ve found that the majority of learning comes from allowing J to help mix the dough. He “reads” the recipe, gathers the ingredients and then measures them, allowing him to practice tons of skills.
We of course made the traditional sugar cookies where we rolled the dough out, J cut them into fun shapes and then decorated to his hearts content. This is NOT my favorite type of baking! J loved it, but it’s honestly quite stressful to me. I try to stay calm, but I’d just rather not deal with the rolling and the cutting. I think J would have as much fun with playdough and mom wouldn’t have the mess afterwards. (And I don’t even like the taste of this these cookies either!)
We honestly might stick to playdough in the future. BUT all cookie baking is not lost. We did have lots of fun baking other types of cookies (or I should say we BOTH had fun with other cookies).
My favorite type of cookies to make with J this year were those with a “surprise” inside. Once I realized how perfect these were for J’s age and ability level, this is mostly what we made to give away to neighbors and teachers.
I scooped the dough onto the baking sheet and J pressed each ball with the back of a teaspoon, creating a small hole. He could then “bury” a surprise inside each cookie and I helped him cover it up with the dough. This was right at his ability level and he loved it. We buried Rolos, Reeces Pieces, Reeces PB Cups, Chocolate Kisses, and M&Ms (not all in the same cookie!). I also let him sprinkle crushed toffee and confectionary sugar on top of some which he liked.
And the good news is they taste great afterwards. You can hide them in basically any type of cookie dough and it will taste good.
Age attempted: J first helped with Christmas baking when he was 20 months; this year at 32 months he could do A LOT more
So here are some of the recipes we tried for Christmas:
Million Dollar Caramel Cookies (These were by far my favorite!)
PB Surprise Cookies (basically chocolate chip cookie dough but hide PB cup, M&Ms, Rolos, whatever candy you want inside)
**I hope these are the same recipes I used; I just did a online search for the names of each, but the pictures looked very similar in all cases… that should count for something right!**