Some of my fondest memories of the holidays are centered around delicious food: watching my mom make cookies for her annual cookie exchange, the smell of food in our home on Christmas Eve, my aunt making pies and cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.
Smelling the food being cooked is great, eating it is even better, but being able to help cook when you are a kid is possibly the best thing to ever happen. I mean, do you remember being able to add the ingredients to the bowl?! Cracking eggs?! I repeat… cracking eggs?! Stirring?! Watching the water or oil mix in with the flour?! Licking the spoon at the end?!
Here’s the thing, though, cooking is incredible as a toddler, but as an adult cooking with a toddler can be a little slice of hell. Egg shells everywhere. Batter all over the walls when they stir. Fingers in the ingredients and licking the spoon before it’s all over. It can be quite stressful, to be honest. So here are a few ways to help our kids make wonderful holiday baking memories without making us lose our minds.
Pre-Made Cookie Dough
This is my best friend. For a few bucks you have the cookies already mixed and read to go. Your kids will get just as excited about placing the little cookie dough balls from the package on a greased pan as they would mixing the dough. They can keep checking the oven by turning on the light, and if you want to spruce it up a bit you could even have them put a Hershey Kiss on the top of the cookies at the end.
These are good friends of mine as well. These will give your kids a bit more excitement because you still need to mix a bit of water, oil, and sometimes eggs. If you aren’t super stoked on the idea of letting your kids crack eggs, you can use a can of Sprite as a substitute for the liquid ingredients for these packages (best with cake mix though).
Pre-Made Cinnamon Rolls
Yes, I am a pre-made gal. I like a good made-from-scratch dessert, but not so much when my toddler is helping. These tubes were my favorite to open when I was little because they would make that big pop when you were unraveling the paper tube. Your kids can help you peel the dough apart, or if it is the crescent rolls, they can roll the dough up, which is also fun.
This is brilliant. I saw this and thought, “How cute!” You just mix cute colored sprinkles with sparkles and oatmeal and call it “Magic Reindeer Food!” You can have your kids leave it in a bowl for Santa’s reindeer or sprinkle it outside.
But if you are looking for a few actual recipes because you are the bravest individual I know… I wish you luck as you venture forward hand in hand with your toddler creating these full fledged holiday recipes even if they are pretty simple.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
These easy cookies are even better with a little frosting and crushed candy cane on top.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a small bowl.
- Microwave the chocolate and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl in 1-minute increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Alternatively, put the chocolate and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl and set over a medium pot filled with about 2 inches of water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Bring the water to a low simmer over medium heat and warm the butter and chocolate, stirring, until melted and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Beat the brown sugar and eggs with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until thick, about 2 minutes. Scrape the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
- Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Put the confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Scoop out tablespoonfuls of the dough and roll them into balls. Refrigerate half the dough balls. Toss the remaining balls in the sugar, coating them very generously (you shouldn't see any dough peeking through). Arrange the balls about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake until the cookies spread, the tops are dull in color and cracked and the edges are firm, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When the baking sheets are cool, repeat with the remaining dough balls. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
From Food Network
Santa’s Trash Cookies
These cookies are a tasty mix of sweet and salty!
- 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 c. crushed potato chips
- 3/4 c. crushed pretzels
- 1 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 c. red and green sprinkles
- Flaky sea salt, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350º and line two baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.
- In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined.
- Gently fold in most of the potato chips, pretzels, chocolate chips, and sprinkles (reserve some for pressing on tops of cookies).
- Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop balls of dough (about 2 tablespoons each) onto prepared baking sheets. Press down lightly on each cookie to flatten, then press remaining potato chips, pretzels, chocolate chips, and sprinkles on top. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
- Bake until edges are just starting to get golden, 14 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
These cookies are tasty to AND pretty to look at!
For the cookies:
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- gel food coloring
- colorful sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract, and beat until smooth.
- Add the flour and salt to the bowl and mix until combined. Add gel food coloring to the dough if desired.
- Add the dough to a cookie press with the desired shape plate attached. Press the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
- Bake 6-8 minutes, until cooked through but not browned. Let cool before serving.
I hope your holiday season is filled with many core memory makers for you and your children. Even if baking with my toddler might be hard while she is three, I know I’ll only remember the happy good parts. Just give it a couple days and you won’t even remember that they tried to eat the egg shells and you’ll only remember how giddy they were that they got to help mama and daddy.