Christmas cookies are as much a part of the Christmas tradition for many as a visit from Old St. Nick himself. The cookies are often prepared in hopes of his pending arrival by children that are as excited as they can possibly be with all sorts of visions of great things to come dancing around in their bright and shining little eyes. Preparing the cookies in these instances can be a great time of bonding with your little ones but can also be a trying time if you don’t follow a few of the tips and hints listed below.
If you want to make cooking Christmas cookies and/or candy with your little ones the very best experience for you all that it can possibly be make sure you do it on a day when this is the only thing on your calendar. You do not want to rush through this time that is not only important for bonding with your child as a parent but also a time that is an important opportunity to lock in a few precious memories of great times you’ll spend together. This is one thing that you want your children to look back at Christmas and remember doing with you and you want to be able to look back on Christmas and remember doing this with your children.
You should also make sure that everyone is well-rested and well-fed before beginning the process. This is important now more than ever before, as we know more about the dangers of foods, such as raw eggs, that are included in cookie dough as well as the dough for many of our favorite Christmas confections and candies. You do not want to risk the health of your children through temptation over raw cookie dough.
Be sure that every child gets a turn with the fun stuff. This includes of course, using the mixer and watching things spin around as well as choosing their personal favorites for the next batch of cookies. You should also make a few cookies that you plan to let them paint, decorate, and play with just for fun and their own personal enjoyment. This will guarantee a few smiles while also scoring a few brownie points for mom.
Be patient and expect spills and messes. If you can afford a cleaning service once a year, the day after your cookie extravaganza is the day you want to splurge. Seriously, don’t sweat the small stuff. We make little messes every day it shouldn’t be such a shock when they make a really big mess in one day. This is one of the reasons why you want to plan your cookie making on a day when the calendar is clear-you will need time to clean up when all is said and done.
Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients for each and every single recipe before you begin. This is very important as cookie dough doesn’t wait well for that final egg and children don’t understand very well when they are interrupted from one project to run a quick errand (also, when was the last time you made it in and out of the grocery store in under an hour?). If you can make it through all the steps above you should be in for smooth sailing and Christmas cookie cooking.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine — softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 350º. Beat sugars, butter, vanilla and egg in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with a spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients. (If the dough is too soft to shape, cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.)
Shape dough by 2 tablespoonfuls into slightly flattened balls and ropes. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet to form animals as desired. Use small pieces of dough for facial features if desired. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.