6 dozen cookies. Times two. That’s 144 cookies that needed to come out of my kitchen in 1 weekend for two separate cookie swaps I had to attend.
I love to bake with my kids but sometimes mommy just needs to get down to business and crank out some treats quickly! How do you handle the little helpers’ disappointment when they discover their “help” isn’t quite needed? Don’t tell them to keep out, make sure they feel involved instead!
1. Set the scene: This year as a special treat for the holiday season, I purchased matching aprons for both my girls and myself. Even though I was going to be the one doing the work, I brought out the trio of festive aprons. Once we all matched, my girls were ready for some baking fun.
2. Matching tasks: I set my daughters up with their own cookie-making tasks with a felt food set from Melissa & Doug (a wooden cookie set would also work). I love this set because it mimics all the baking stages I was preoccupied with myself: Rolling the dough, cutting the shapes, baking on a tray, decorating, and presenting on a final plate. It was hysterical watching my older daughter take such pride in decorating her treats. I heard lots of exclamations of “Perfect!” with a dramatic flip of her wrist. Hmm, I wonder who she was mimicking. . . .
3. Use real props: Toys are so engaging but kids can smell when they’re being distracted from the “real” fun. I love to mix their toys with a few real props from my kitchen to help extend their activities. Their play kitchen is stocked with a real rolling pin and I set out a real prep bowl and cookie tray for holding their prepped treats.
4. The Big Reveal!: Don’t forget this crucial step. Just as I was proud to show off my platters of cookies at the swap with my friends, the kids are just as proud of their creations. I made sure to have my daughters present their final platter of decorated cookies and tell me their “recipe.” I asked them the same questions any baker loves to answer: “How did you make these?” “Were they difficult?” “What’s your secret ingredient?” “How did you get them to look so pretty?”
Do you have a cookie swap this season? Need some inspiration? I’m sharing two recipes for excellent large-quantity cookie baking over on Peanut Blossom today. Be sure to check out the Butter Pecan Cookies . . . or if you’re really in a time crunch it is hard to beat this Christmas Crack!