Friday, December 24, 2010

Pre-Christmas Baking

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Earlier this week, we invited our younger cousins over to do some pre-Christmas baking. Lucy had two recipes in her recipe box that I wanted to make/wanted the kids to make (with supervision, of course); shortbread and chocolate chip cookies. Both recipes are simple and quick to make – perfect for kids around the age of 10 to make by themselves. Just be there to make sure they measure ingredients properly, mix thoroughly, pre-heat the oven, etc.  

I think kids should be involved in the kitchen really early (5 years +), even if they don’t want to cook/bake. Sadly, it’s a huge life skill that a lot of people lack these days.

Lucy and I are huge fans of Anna Olson. Her recipes not only produce really tasty treats, and always turn out really well. I mean, you’d think that recipes would always turn out when you follow them – which we actually do (sometimes), but that’s not always the case.

Bake for 18 minutes at 350°F

            1 cup Unsalted Butter at room temperature
            ½ cup and 2 tbsp Icing Sugar
            ¼ cup Cornstarch or Potato Starch or Rice Flour
            1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
            ½ tsp Salt 
            1 tsp Vanilla Extract
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First up, A and M worked together to make the shortbread cookie. The butter and icing sugar was whipped together with the hand mixer. The dry ingredients were sifted in then mixed together until everything came together. We ended up using half cornstarch and half potato starch because we ran out of cornstarch.

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The shortbread cookie dough was quite soft and wasn’t as dry as I thought it would be. But in any case, the kids spooned the dough onto a baking sheet. Are you wondering about the chocolate? Well, kids being kids, they wanted to decorate the unbaked cookies with some chocolate chips.

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I took some chocolate chips and cut them up using a butter knife. M and A then used toothpicks to pick up the chocolate pieces and decorate the unbaked cookies. They also made faces. I wasn’t sure if the shortbread would spread out or hold their drawings. The sheet of shortbread cookies were thrown into the pre-heated oven, along with the sheet of chocolate chip cookies… but more on that later.

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We were surprisingly greeted with smiles when the cookies were brought out of the oven. For some reason, I thought these cookies were supposed to be sugar cookies, but that was my misunderstanding.  Lucy and M loved these!

Bake the cookies in a 350°F for 8-12 minutes

        ¾ cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
            1 cup Brown Sugar
            ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
            1 Egg
            2 tsp Vanilla Extract
            2 cups All Purpose Flour
            2 tsp Cornstarch
            1 tsp Baking Soda
            ½ tsp Salt        
            8 ounces Chocolate Chips/Chunks (just eye it)

Lucy made these cookies before and they were amazing! Anyway, while M and A were making the shortbread cookies, E and Jimmy started on the chocolate chip cookies.

Just like the shortbread cookies, the butter and sugar was creamed together with the hand mixer. The egg and vanilla were then mixed in before the dry ingredients (except the chocolate) were sifted and then stirred together. Once everything was fully mixed, the chocolate chips were added in. My mom came halfway through them making the cookie dough and ended up taking over. I was surprised she didn’t take over earlier. lol

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If you're letting your kids make this by themselves, you’ll have to help out the kids stir the cookie dough together once the dry ingredients are added. I’d let your child try to mix it for a few minutes and wait until they get tired before taking over. It’s much more satisfying for the kid. Trust me, I speak from experience.

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E and Jimmy spooned and flattened the tops of the chocolate chip cookies onto a tinfoil-lined baking sheet. E then decorated the tops with more chocolate chips. The chocolate chip cookies were then thrown into the hot oven with the shortbread cookies.

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These turned out pretty well, just like the last time. I would like them a bit flatter, but that's just my preferences. Jimmy didn’t like these though. 

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There was quite a bit of leftover chocolate chip cookie dough, so A rolled out little chocolate chip balls and flattened them out on another baking sheet.

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These were supposed to be soft and chewy cookies, but M took them out a bit late. Jimmy was a bit upset that they were “burnt.” As for me, I looooved these! Flat, crunchy and a bit soft in the middle. Mmmm!

While the cookies were left to cool, we ate some pizza from the dreaded place called Pizza Pizza.

Pizza Pizza Pizza
The first pizza had pepperoni and bacon strips. I was disappointed that the pepperoni didn’t curl up and crisp up to a delicious flavour. At least there was enough sauce on the pizza this time.

Pizza Pizza Pizza
I don’t think we blogged about the last time we ate Pizza Pizza, but Lucy created an amazing pizza! I tried to copy it; creamy garlic sauce was used instead of the classic tomato sauce, cheese was on top of the toppings, grilled zucchini, mushrooms, bacon strips, and a sprinkle of the Italinao Blend. The difference between Lucy’s pizza and the one I created was that she had Italian sausage instead of bacon and also added a sprinkle of chili peppers. That little difference disappointed Andrew and Jimmy. The kids, A and E inhaled their two slices and thoroughly enjoyed lunch.

We had the cookies for dessert.

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We didn’t eat them all that day, though it seemed that way. By the end of the night, there were only 5 cookies left. Some of the cookies were put in bags for the kids to take home.

We don’t do this nearly enough. The kids definitely enjoyed it and we enjoyed teaching them about baking.

Anyway, Lucy and I want to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas and have a happy holiday!  Please drink responsibly.

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