In our hectic lives, it often seems a lot easier to grab a box of ginger snaps at the store than to bake cookies the old-fashioned way. Is it really worth the time to stand in a kitchen, making a mess, stirring and slaving over something you could just buy?
Yes, yes it is.
Here are our top 5 reasons why:
1. Baking teaches your kids important math skills.
How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon? If you’re tripling the recipe, and one recipe calls for 1½ cups of flour, how much flour do you need? How long do you need to set the timer for if you’re making a half-batch of cookies? What’s the difference between a volume measurement and a weight measurement, and which might you want to use where?
Even kids who balk at multiplication and fractions in school may be willing to work their brains if it means the gold stars will be edible.
2. Baking teaches your kids valuable life skills.
How to work as a team.
How to follow a recipe.
How to branch out from a recipe and make it your own.
How to be safe around hot (and sometimes sharp) items.
How to feel at home in the kitchen.
How to go crazy with the sprinkles.
How to help clean up afterward.
How to get big smiles from the neighbors when you bring them a plate of still-warm cookies.
All valuable life skills, all taught by baking.
3. Baking sparks your kids’ creativity.
After the preschool years, most kids aren’t usually encouraged to make a mess. But baking—like most creative things—are inherently messy, and that’s just part of the process.
Whether it’s choosing add-ins or decorating baked cookies, this is a time when creativity can soar. Maybe 8 billion sprinkles makes for a weirdly crunchy cookie. Maybe swapping in peppermint extract for vanilla in those peanut butter cookies is a terrible idea. But how will they ever learn if they don’t have room for trial and error?
Besides, their creativity might just surprise you.
4. Baking gives you time to connect with the whole family.
Here’s a valuable tip to learn now—and all the way through the teenage years: Sometimes the hardest conversations are easiest to have if you’re ostensibly doing something else. Sitting down and looking someone in the eye can be scary and intimidating. Chatting casually while you’re stirring chocolate chips into cookie dough? That’s a lot easier.
Even if you don’t have earth-shattering topics to cover with your kids, the chance to talk while you’re baking is worth the time investment.
Besides, how else will you teach your progeny the joy of licking the spoons?
5. Homemade cookies are delicious.
If you think grocery store cookies are tastier than homemade, warm, gooey, straight-from-the-oven cookies, you should see your doctor about that.
Homemade cookies are also often healthier (and more special-diet-friendly) than store bought, since you can control what goes into them.
But mostly they’re delicious. Cookie Monster definitely approves.
‘Nuff said, let’s get to the recipes!
(These three recipes all come from moms and dads with a few cute kiddos of their own at home!)
What happens when you take a few parents, a few kids, a kitchen, a bunch of ingredients, and mix them all up?
You get happy kids, happy parents, happy neighbors (if you’re feeling generous), happy families.
Oh, and cookies, of course.
Now that’s a good recipe.
Photos from top: Milk splash, kid chefs making disturbing worm pie, Stock Market Fortune Cookie, 8-bit cookies – who wants to beta test?, sous chef strikes again, cookie monster, who stole the cookie…,