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Baking Holiday Cookies with Kids

12.10.13 Baking Holiday Cookies with Kids

baking cookies with kids

The holidays bring about various traditions among families. And luckily, one of these traditions involves baking cookies! Lots and lots of cookies. And often we bake the same cookies year after year, even if they're not the most tasty—they're just too nostalgic (have you ever tried a springerle cookie?) And then of course, there's the cookie swap. And the sweet neighbors who drop off a collection to provide even more variety.

Holiday baking is a great way to get kids into the kitchen. And if you're in the right mindset and not trying to acheive Pinterest-worthy results for aesthetic looking cookies, making homemade holiday cookies can be a blast. If you're working with a group of kids, then it's good to remember to involve everyone with a task. Keep it somewhat fair...you know the rolling pin has quite a bit of cache so make sure even the little kids have a go. Holiday recipes are often linked to our childhood or some distinct memory and these experiences are what make for meaningful traditions. 

We made a batch of sugar cookies with sprinkles with some of our MightyNest kids (Clio, Olive and Milo). Many people are avoiding sprinkles because of artificial food-dyes. Conventional food dye is a petroleum derived product and has been linked to various health issues, especially among children. In the UK, foods containing artificial food dyes are required to have a warning label and have demanded commercial food products are made with natural alternatives like beetroot, annatto and paprika extract instead of Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellow 5 and 6. All are known to cause allergic reactions in people and are commonly contaminated. Since we were using Maggie's Naturals food coloring and natural sprinkles, we were happy to indulge the kids' desire to decorate with LOTS of colored sprinkles! 

On to the fun stuff: baking cookies from scratch with known ingredients. And artfully designed shapes likely to be eaten for dinner...

The kids rolled out the cookie dough on natural unbleached parchment paper using the new favorite rolling pins, handmade in Indiana from solid sugar maple. We particularly love these rolling pins because they are not treated with any mineral oil or varnish  - just raw maple. We have both the light rolling pin (a more traditional handle shape) and a French style rolling pin (which has tapered ends).

After cutting out the cookies, the kids placed them directly on this ceramic baking stone. Baked goods are evenly baked and browned on this stone and the large surface space is room for a good number of cookies. As with all baking stones, it's important to pre-heat the stone in the oven for best results. The sculpted handles also help to carry the stone from oven to cooling rack. The baking stone is easy to maintain and washes up easily, never warping or gunking up like other baking pans.

We have been long time fans of Eco Kids art materials and were thrilled when the company introduced their newest line; Maggie's Naturals. In line with their committment to provide safe, natural and plant-based materials for kids to paint, draw and sculpt with, Maggie's Naturals include natural food coloring and sprinkles. Instead of making colorful frosting with artificial food coloring and dyes, Maggie's Naturals food coloring is made from natural sources like yams, gardenia extract, beets, curcumin and annatto seed. There are NO artificial ingredients and NO GMO ingredients in Maggie's Naturals. The natural sprinkles (available in 7 colors) are made with natural cane sugar plus the color from beets, yams and other plant extracts.

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