Baking is a really fun activity to do with children and one that has lots of benefits. Weighing and measuring – and dividing or doubling quantities – helps with math skills, understanding how different ingredients react together is science, you can talk about where ingredients come from (geography) and make things from different cultures, religions or time periods (covering a whole host of potential lessons). And of course you get to have fun making something together that you can eat at the end!
It’s not something I would do every week as you need to enjoy sweet treats in moderation (though it’s good to get children helping with cooking meals as soon as they are old enough). My daughter has only just turned three though so I think that is a little while off still! At the moment she loves to stir anything in a bowl with a wooden spoon but her favourite baking related activities are cracking ‘eggies’ – she is surprisingly good at not getting any egg shell in the bowl – and decorating with sprinkles.
We made some easy sugar cookies at Easter which turned out really well so I thought I’d share the recipe that I used here. You can easily double the quantities if you want; this amount made about a dozen small-ish cookies.
100g softened butter or margarine
75g caster sugar
200g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
Cream together the butter and the sugar then mix in the egg until you have a smooth batter. Then fold in the flour and gently mix until you have a ball of dough.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for as long as your child has patience! No more than overnight but realistically you will be lucky to put it aside for a couple of hours.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15 minutes. Allow to fully cool before decorating.
Mix icing sugar with a little water to make a smooth paste. It’s less messy for children to use if the icing is fairly thick but make sure it’s not so thick they can’t get it off the spoon – a dropping consistency is good. I coloured several small batches with different colours of icing gel colours, each in a bowl with its own spoon. My daughter had a great time decorating the biscuits with the icing and of course the sprinkles!
This is an easy recipe that you can use for biscuits at any time of year – Christmas cookies for instance.