Welcome back to Kids Get Crafty and our “Edible Christmas Ornaments”… ok ok… they are just cookies on a ribbon, but seeing as they are for hanging in the tree, surely that makes them and ornament? And as they are for eating.. surely that makes them edible. So therefore – edible ornaments? No?
Christmas to me is all about tradition and time together. A big focus of our Christmases are the “once a year” cookies that you bake. And we have been making Vanille Kipferl and Husarenkrapfen and Schoko Macronen and if we have time will make some Zimt Sterne and Linzer Augen. Well, we haven’t made them all yet, but they are on the list.
From a child’s perspective, the edible ornaments are the best: The dough is easy. You get to cut out cookie shapes AND you get to decorate. There is lots of spoon licking and sprinkle snaffling. What more do you want?
Ok, I totally admit, that baking with children is messy and CAN BE stressful. They want to do things. And then they don’t want to things. And then they want to eat EVERYTHING. And then they complain that the sibling had more. Messy. Stressful and yet strangely fun and rewarding.
My top tip for baking with young kids:
1. Be prepared. Get everything you need out before you let the kids near the baking. Clear you surfaces as best you can.
2. Give each child their own bowl (yes, it is worth it).
3. Less is more. Don’t be ambitious. If need be make more cookies when the kids are in bed. Also limit the number of sprinkles (they will want to add all of them at once) and stick to one type of icing/ colour of icing.
4. If need be, start chanting: This is fun.This is fun. This is for the children. This is for the children. Making childhood memories. Making childhood memories.
We by accident (don’t ask) made double the amount. So I put some in the fridge and finished it off when the kids were not around. Same goes for the decorating. I did 2/3s of the decorating after the children went to bed and saved some for them to do.
Firstly Our Easy Cookie Recipe:
- 250g plain flour
- 125g sugar
- 125g butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 packet of vanilla sugar (or a few drops of essence)
If you prefer no eggs, you can use our shortbread recipe too.. it is fabulously versatile and has no eggs in it. But the additional egg and vanilla sugar make it that little bit more special for Christmas! You can of course add some cinnamon too. Your call. A totally flexible recipe.
For the Decorations:
- Icing sugar, lemon, flavours, a bit of water if necessary, sprinkles, silver balls, choc sprinkles… whatever takes your fancy!
Preheat oven to 180C and bake until golden (20-30min)
1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. If you find it easier, crumble butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla sugar together first. Add the egg second. Each child got their own bowl. Reduced mess and squabbling. Red Ted (3 .75yrs) is now able to do all the mixing. Pip Squeak (2yrs) played more and then I helped her finish it off.
2. Roll out. Cut out your shapes. Once on tray, make a large hole in your cookies. This hole WILL get smaller as the cookie bakes and you may well have to give it ANOTHER prod once you have taken the cookies out of the oven!
3. Make your icing sugar. I made 3 types:
- Pink (& red) with rose flavouring – hearts & mushrooms. Watch any red food colouring a wee drop is plenty for pink. If you add too much you end up with lots of blood like icing.. not too Christmassy. More for Halloween!
- Yellow with orange juice/ flavouring & choc chips – stars – in retrospect I would have used chocolate sprinkles and not the choc chips. Sprinkles would have looked better!
- White with lemon juice (my favourite) & lots and lots of sprinkles and silver balls – these are the ones the children made!
4. Oh yes. It was messy. But they loved it. There were sprinkles everywhere. In fact we had a sprinkles explosion. Life was good.
5. When it is time to decorate your tree, thread them and hang (maybe make this part of your advent activities with the children!). You may find that you will have to use a needle and thread for some of the children’s cookies, as icing and sprinkles will be covering the holes. Keep in an air tight container until you put your tree up. Remember to keep the “flavours” separate – rose in one tin, orange another and lemon a third. Else the flavours will mix and not be as delicious!
We also like to make small cookie packages for friends that we visit during the Christmas season and our neighbours. In fact, with one of these packages in our hands, is how we first introduced ourselves to our neighbours when we first move to our current home! And I would like to think that 6 years later, we are good friends!
Read more about our Advent Ideas & Traditions of at Life at The Zoo.
If you have been crafty with your kid’s be it at home, in the kitchen or outdoors, I would love for you to link up: