Christmas Baking - A Family Affair

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Posted by Meeta K. Wolff

Vanilla Kipferl (01) by MeetaK

Covered in flour, sticky dough on the fingers and the good old fight over who gets to lick the chocolate covered spoon - it certainly can get chaotic in the home Christmas bakery. However, with a little bit of planning, baking cookies with the family can turn out into an unforgettable experience.

The best thing to do is discuss the types of cookies you would like to bake with the family a few days in advance. Everyone has a different favorite, so consider everyone's liking and disliking, otherwise you will have a few long faces around the kitchen table.

Weighing, whisking and mixing are exciting things for the children and they want to be a part of it right from the beginning. They want to see how the dough is made and formed and often cannot wait to get their hands into the dough.

Make room on the countertops of the kitchen. Move any machines, like the coffee machine, that are not going to be required while baking the cookies. Wipe the countertops clean and organize enough aprons for all the little ones.

Each task can be alloted according to the ages of your kids. So, make a list of the "to dos" and distribute the tasks accordingly. For example, allow the older kids to melt chocolate in a saucepan or weigh the ingredients, the younger ones can be responsible for mixing or whisking the dough. Everyone however can form or cut out their cookies. So, it is important to have enough cookie cutters and forms to go around.

As soon as you are ready to go - make sure you are always there to keep an eye on the kids and lend a helping hand whenever required. Take time to answer questions and explain the processes in detail. Show your little baker-boys and girls the tricks and tips that makes a professional baker. You will notice they will be in awe and will eagerly apply the learned lessons.

Being the grown up it is important to set an example for the children around you. Hot cookie trays or forms should be taken out of the oven using oven gloves and keep the little ones away from sharp knives, hot saucepans and other dangerous kitchen utensils (read more about Kitchen Safety with the kids).

Nibbling during baking is explicitly allowed. That's the fun part of any baking session. Just be careful about raw dough, as these often have raw eggs incorporated into them it would be advisable if the kids do not eat this.

Decorating is a process that everyone can join in. Make it fun and maybe even a small competition in teams will add to the motivation. Besides the regular sugar and chocolate frosting, you can find many decorating items in the stores. Colored frosting or sugar pearls, hearts or colorful sprinkles are great and make the cookies look very eye-catching.

I personally often find making a simple type of dough, like a shortcrust pastry dough, in larger quantities is the best way to go. It is a simple dough, even for the children to make. Once rolled out the children can cut out several forms and shapes. An additional advantage is that cookies from this dough often do not require long baking times.

Maybe you'd like to organize a cookie baking session and then donate them to charity for a good cause. Drop In & Decorate is an awesome way to share sweet moments with your children and then together sweeten someone else's day by bringing them some of those fresh cookies.

I wish you happy cookie baking!

Need a few good cookie recipes?
Marshmellow Chocolate Mud Cookies - Fun and Food
Mom's Shortbread Cookies - What Smells So Good
Nankatai - Indian Food Rocks
Hello Dolly Cookies - Food Blogga
Gluten Free Gingerbread - Saffron Trail
Gingerbread Man Cookies - Simply Recipes
Linzer Cupcakes - Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Raspberry Bars - Homesick Texan
Vanilla Kipferl - What's For Lunch, Honey?

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This Post was written by Meeta from What's For Lunch, Honey?


Great tips Meeta and they do look beautiful.

December 7, 2007 at 5:12:00 PM GMT+1  

Great tips girl! I'm all for letting your kids help you in the kitchen, you never know when you might be working with a budding chef!! that's how my mom helped me be the "self-proclaimed chef" that I am:) hehee..

Mansi said...
December 7, 2007 at 8:59:00 PM GMT+1  

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