Baking with the Kids
November! The official ping on the grown-up calendar that the holidays, baking with the kids, and all things ‘family’ has begun.
If you bake for gifts, you know how daunting this can be. There are people you work with, maybe employees and their families, friends, out-of-state/area family…the list can be long! One thing is for sure: cookies and homemade goodies are always a favorite!
Since cranking out a lot of tasty treats takes a fair while, get the kids involved! It’s a great opportunity to score some fun family time and also teach them a few skills like measuring, and mixing, frosting, and decorating. Baking with the kids should take too much arm-twisting with all the sweetness and bowl-licking ahead!
Where to Begin?
First, gather the family around to make a list of everyone who will receive baked goods. Are you mailing them? Do you need gift bags or other kinds of packaging? Do the kids have friends they want to include? Their teachers? The neighbors? Are you going to make special cookies for some people? Here’s a checklist of to-do’s so all goes as smoothly (and as fun) as possible on baking day:
- It’s probably a good idea to make some freezer space to store some ingredients and finished products until they’re ready to be given out.
- Do you need to clean the oven? Do this before it gets too cold outside to open windows for this process.
- Mark the calendar for the day(s) you plan to bake, so all hands are on deck!
- Clear space in the kitchen for mixing and decorating stations, and for cookies to cool.
- Have a set of bulk recipes that can be done fast and furious for those “surprise!” people or if you’re not into baking that much.
- Check that you have the right equipment or that what you have is in good condition.
- Take the kids shopping for the ingredients. They love picking out big bags of chocolate chips or sugar. It can be a learning opportunity to understand how much things are, what ingredients go into making cookies, and why this is a cost-efficient way to give at the holidays.
Baking with the Kids
On the appointed day double check to make sure everything is ready:
- Is everyone rested up? This may sound odd, but things can devolve quickly if there has been some stress or illness. Is it a good day? Or do we need to postpone?
- Are bellies full of good food first? Everyone is less likely to nibble away at the sweetness or have “hangry” outbursts.
- Put on your favorite music! Do you like holiday music? Show tunes? Rock and roll? Turn it up and create a fun atmosphere.
- Decide which child is in charge of what portion of the project. Do you plan to rotate to keep it interesting…and maybe keep kids from arguing? Of course, keep things age-appropriate, but also a little challenging so learning can happen.
- Assembly lines help to make sure all the steps are followed properly, and you get good results.
Plan for mishaps like burned fingers or cookies, forgotten ingredients, and spills. Snap a few pics for holiday card making! It might be a good idea to have some back up cleaning help for the next day, but make it fun no matter what and you will make precious memories.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@americanheritagechocolate