Holiday Baking with Kids
The holiday season usually means a lot of baking. And whether it is a new recipe or one that has been loved and used year after year, this can be a great memory making experience to share with your kids. But how do you do this without losing your mind?
I love to bake and I have a very specific process. All things neat and organized. All ingredients accounted for and gathered. I keep a sink of hot water and just toss in dirty dishes and utensils as I go. I wipe the counter top periodically and it really does help. It is an efficient system that allows things to get done and makes clean up pretty simple. Add music and coffee or wine and it is a good time!
But if you have prepared any kind of food with young children, you know that the scenario I described above is likely NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. My best recommendation for you is to embrace the chaos! I have to remind myself how much fun I had as a 5 year old standing on a kitchen chair to add sprinkles to the cookies. And the counter. And the floor. And my mouth, of course.
Embrace the Chaos
So I take a breath and set up the kitchen in a kid-friendly fashion. This means an extra apron, paper towels, extra utensils and lots of patience. It also helps to have a plan of the tasks that the child can do. For example, my son is allowed to stir almost anything, especially if it is mixed by hand (after a good hand wash, of course) but he is still not allowed to crack eggs. I might as well just smash them on the counter as he is not gentle enough to do this carefully.
Another fun idea is to look up holiday cookies on Pinterest. There are a ton of kid-friendly recipes and fun ways to decorate. I pick a few that look doable and then sit with my son to choose our special cookie of the year. It gives us a chance to try something new and different and makes him embrace being part of the process. Then we go shopping for ingredients, especially whatever unique things we need for decorating like special candies or food coloring.
Yes, it still makes a big mess. And, yes, I could do it in half the time by myself. But the laughs and fun and memories we make is worth every drip and spill. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. There is nothing better than the pride on his face when he shares his creations with his family. This is a tradition that I intend to keep.
What special baking or cooking traditions do you have?