Bake with your child!!!
We're all about helping you create moments of happiness with your child, and it really doesn't have to be hard at all! If you've managed to complete all eight activities in your Happy Box this month (don't you just LOVE this special edition in our Art Appreciation Series, focusing on Middle Eastern and Islamic art? We're just oh-so-proud of it!!), then don't fear! We're here with an idea for some quality time in the kitchen, where, let's face it, all the magic happens!
There's SO MUCH BENEFIT out of baking or cooking something with your child. You teach them to follow directions, to show patience, to count ingredients, to measure and calculate....and the end result will usually be a sugary sweet snack to munch on with pride!
Lately, I made a batch of sugar cookies with my 2.5 year old and it was so easy, and mess free even!! Just three ingredients, SERIOUSLY ONLY THREE INGREDIENTS! Get the flour, butter and sugar out then rummage in those cupboards and see what you'd like as a topping on your Sugar Cookies. That's right, SUGAR COOKIES are on the menu!
Anything goes with sugar cookies. Just get your kiddo to lightly press his or her thumb into the cookies once they are on the sheet, then press a topping onto the cookie - anything from chocolate chips or Goji berries to fancy sea salt or toasted almond slivers. Try pistachios, try pine nuts, try a dab of jam.....anything goes!
Let's get started:
1/2 cup of unsalted butter (one stick) and make sure it's at room temperature
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of sugar
1 cup of all purpose flour
Any garnish you like (we say go for rainbow coloured sprinkles!!!)
Preheat your over to 160C or 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using an electric mixer (or your very strong arm), cream the butter in a large mixing bowl until it turns white, for about a minute. Get kiddo to add the sugar and then continue to beat for about five minutes, until it's very smooth and creamy. Slowly work in the flour with a spatula - kiddo is going to want to help here as well. The dough will be really soft, but that’s fine. Take walnut-sized pieces of dough and roll them into balls, then flatten slightly - absolutely a kid-friendly step, this one! Place each cookie on the baking sheet three inches apart and make a dent in the centre with your finger to place your garnish into the center of each cookie. My daughter loved pressed a chocolate chip into each cookie, and went a little crazy with the sprinkles!
Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, watching carefully—you want to catch the cookies right when they’re firm and just barely beginning to get golden around the edges. It’ll depend a little bit on your oven. Cool cookies on the sheets for 10 minutes, then use a thin spatula to move them to a rack to cool completely.
And then.....the most important part. ENJOY!!! My daughter couldn't wait for her daddy to come home to show him what she made! And I dressed her up in a mini apron and little chef hat to make the experience really special.
Then, if you can stomach it, place a little step stool in front of the sink and get your child to "wash the dishes" afterwards. It'll give you a few minues of freedom, though you won't be able to concentrate with the sounds of sheer delight and squeals of glee coming from the kitchen, which is now quickly becoming splattered with water from floor to ceiling!