Sunday, December 19, 2010

Baking Up Some Holiday Cheer

I love baking this time of year. To me, nothing says "Christmas" more than a kitchen that smells like melted chocolate chips and brown sugar. Especially since we've been snowed in, I thought we should bake up some delicious goodies for our neighbors. We haven't really met them yet, and being in the house with the kids day in and day out has me starving for any excuse to see another adult.

Jonah has been really interested in what I'm doing in the kitchen, so I let him help me make the chocolate bread and the sugar cookies. First we made chocolate bread, because it lasts the longest. Jonah helped me bake, for the very first time.

I found that the key to baking with a toddler is to have some of the ingredients measured out prior to starting the project- like the flour, of which I needed seven cups. It would have been too difficult for me to measure something like that with an impatient two year old right under my nose. It would also have lost Jonah's interest pretty quickly. So I measured certain ingredients into bowls while he was playing with his basketball, and he was able to just pour the bowls into the batter. But other ingredients, I measured in front of him and let him help me count how many "scoops" of each ingredient I was putting in, and some of it I even let him scoop and measure!

His favorite part was pouring the ingredients into the mixer. He has been playing in his pretend kitchen, and pouring imaginary contents from one bowl to another, ever since we tackled this project.

Since the bread took all day to make, I made the sugar cookie dough after he went to bed, and let it chill in the fridge over night. I really recommend making the cookie dough ahead of time, since it needs to chill anyway. I think Jonah would have lost interest really quickly if the dough wasn't ready to go right after breakfast!

Jonah helped me roll the dough

Then he chose a cookie cutter and began making the cut outs. He has really been infatuated with stars lately, I am not sure why but I think it has something to do with Dora. Whenever he has a choice in shapes, if a star is one of the choices that is what he picks! I just wish I had a large star cookie cutter for him. We ended up with a lot of teeny tiny stars.

Then we baked them. Jonah supervised this process.

Finally, it was time for the fun. I let Jonah pick three cookies and I gave him his own plate that contained sprinkles and decorations of his choosing. I had some dull toddler knives that I let him use to spread the frosting on.
 He was so deliberate in where he applied sprinkles and other decorations. He even placed the nonpareils one by one. I couldn't make out any kind of pattern or reason to where he was placing everything, but the concentration on his face showed he definitely had a plan!
Jonah's cookies did not make it to the cookie trays to be delivered to the neighbors. I was quite happy to let him eat them. Not because they weren't good enough or pretty enough for our trays, but because he just seemed so happy with his work. It seemed like a shame to let someone else enjoy them!

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