The holidays are all about spending time with family and friends. And what better way to bring people together than with food? An even better way to create lasting memories is to invite friends and family into the kitchen for some hands-on holiday cooking or baking.
This year I wanted to create a special, holiday memory for some of my nieces; and thought a great way to do this was by baking and decorating cookies together.
What kid turns down an opportunity to eat cookies? —None.
I tend to make baked goods from scratch as often as possible, but sometimes (especially during the holidays) you need as much help as you can muster up. So to make things easier and to avoid any loss of interest by the girls, I decided to use some of the Krusteaz cookie mixes.
Before we started, I knew I wanted to make the Butter Vanilla Sugar cookies, so we could cut them out with the cookie cutters. Then, I gave the girls a few options to choose another kind to make. Ultimately, they decided upon Triple Chocolate Chunk. You can’t go wrong with chocolate chips!
One thing I really enjoyed about these mixes is that you only need to add one or two ingredients to form the dough. One mix required a single stick of butter, and the others varied between one to two sticks of butter and a single egg.
The great thing about this is that it gives you more time for other things. Whether it’s more time to entertain guests at a holiday party or to mix some homemade icing, you can whip up the cookie mix, bake ’em, and serve or decorate them in little time.
The only small issue I had with the Butter Vanilla Sugar cookie mix, was that I had to add a few tablespoons of flour to pull the dough more together. Without adding it, I found the dough to be too buttery, as it didn’t allow for the cookies to be cut out, or even to be lifted from the floured surface.
The girls couldn’t wait for the cookies to bake so they could decorate them with homemade icing (which we made between batches of cookies), edible markers, and sprinkles. Both of the girls have their own personalities, which was quite evident in the way they each chose to decorate their cookies.
While I tried suggesting red and green for Christmas colors, they were adamant about making blue and purple icing. How could I argue? Blue and purple icing it was!
The oldest of my nieces, who is five, accented her cookies with small pinches of sprinkles, while the three year old had different approach – as in grabbing fist-fulls of sprinkles and dumping them on top of her cookies. However they chose to decorate the cookies, they just loved being able personalize them in their own way before being devoured.
Involving kids in the kitchen is a great way to introduce them to the basics of cooking – measuring, pouring, stirring, etc; and ultimately sets them up for the ability to cook for themselves when they’re older. A basic life skill everyone should have.
Not only does it foster their interest in cooking or baking, but it creates memories that they’ll be able to look back on later in life. Because, after all it’s the memories we create that matter the most.
So, gather your family and friends in the kitchen and start a new holiday tradition by getting hands-on!