Do you think of baking as science? Well guess what. . . if you can get your kids in the kitchen they will get a hands on lesson in science. As soon as we pack up the Halloween decorations, both M & M start asking to bake gingerbread cookies. This year I found an extra delicious gingerbread cookie recipe. Little M has been cooking with me quite a bit lately, so I knew she would be thrilled to bake these special treats!
P.S. These are SPICY as in full of spice, they are not hot/spicy.
What you need: 1/2 cup margarine ~ 1/2 cup sugar ~ 1/2 cup molasses ~ 1 egg yolk ~ 2 cups sifted flour ~ 1/2 teaspoon salt ~ 1/2 teaspoon baking powder ~ 1/2 teaspoon baking soda ~ 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon ~ 1 teaspoon ground cloves ~ 1 teaspoon ginger ~ 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg yolk. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover, and chill for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
I needed one extra special cookie to “disappear” for our Gingerbread Man Hunt. (Don’t worry, I’ll post the how to for that tomorrow.)
A couple of days before we were going to be baking these little guys, I took the Ms to the bulk section of our grocery store. I let them pick a variety of candy. I also made royal icing. (If you don’t want to make it , buy the ready to go frosting tubes.) You might notice that I wrote Big M’s name on his workspace. I think it is important for kids to look at their names as often as possible.
Questions (to ask your kids): “Smell this spice. And this one. Do they smell the same? Do you prefer one over the other? Why?” “What do you think will happen to the dry ingredients when we add the molasses mixture?” “Why do you think we need to preheat?” (After listening to the very creative answer they give, follow up with the actual reason.)
Tips (to maximize learning) : 1. Gather up the ingredients and supplies before you get the kids involved. The last thing you want to be doing is running to the fridge for some milk while your little one hovers over the unattended batter. 2. Start off slowly, give your kids duties that you are comfortable with. Once they have master stirring, sifting and rolling, it may be time to move on to more complicated tasks. Little M can crack an egg without a trace of shell. (Big M, who has no interest in cooking, can not.) 3. While you are working, make sure to verbalize your actions. For instance, “I need 1 cup of flour. Since I have the 1/2 cup measuring cup at the table, I will use it twice to make one cup. 1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup equals 1 cup.”
I know, I know. . . you have all of the ingredients and your mouth is watering (I don’t blame you, this recipe is YUMMY). Make sure to read over Gingerbread Chart and Gingerbread Man Hunt first. Prepare for all three for extra fun and extra learning!