Last week we started the first of our holiday baking with a little inspiration from Jan Brett’s Gingerbread Friends. We were reading through a stack of Christmas books we had checked out from the library and once we got to Gingerbread Friends the beautiful side illustrations of ingredients on each page beckoned to us.
Now, I’m all about letting kids in the kitchen to do some actual work, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t stress me out. It totally can.
When my kids are cooking with me in the kitchen it’s usually with only one or they take turns doing different parts of the recipe.
I find, for me, I have to prep myself before I invite them into the kitchen to cook. It sounds silly, but if I mentally prepare for what may or may not happen, when I do the actually cooking or baking it’s a lot more enjoyable.
And up front I know, it’s going to be messy, they’re going to grab at things, they’ll need help, and it’ll take longer, but it will all be okay. No sugar coating it.
And it was all those things, but it was fun to see them powder the table with flour and practice rolling out the dough so it wasn’t too thick or thin for their cookie cutters.
They really are capable people and sometimes it’s me who needs the preparation.
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 cup flour
- powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
- In a bowl, beat butter with a mixer on high for 45 seconds.
- Add brown sugar and white sugar, mix well.
- Next add in your baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Beat until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Beat in molasses and egg until combined.
- Mix in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Add in any remaining flour and stir.
- Divide the dough, wrap in wax paper or saran wrap, and refrigerate for 1-3 hours, so it’s easier to roll out. (I divided our dough into thirds so each child had their own to roll out.)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lay parchment paper on your baking sheets.
- Prepare your work surface by sprinkling it with flour. Rubbing your rolling pin in flour will also help the dough from sticking. Roll out your dough and use your favorite cookie cutters.
- Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack. Lightly dust with powdered sugar or, if you’re up for it, decorate with icing and candies.
If you’re looking for child-size kitchen and cooking toys, For Small Hands has a great selection.