When my children were growing up, I don’t recall their ever being interested in helping with the cookie baking and I didn’t have the time or ingredients to waste, so I just made the cookies myself without any help from them. When my grandchildren started arriving in the 1980s, though, I thought it would be nice to have them come to the house, starting when they were about 3 years old, to make Christmas cookies. Granddaughter #1 loved mixing the dough, using all the different cutters, and decorating with sugar.
She is now married with two children and her husband is in Iraq this Christmas.
Grandson #1 joined his sister when he turned 3, and his specialty was piling lots of sugar on the cookies and cracking the eggs to mix in the batter.
Granddaughter #2 made it a threesome and her favorite cookies are still the cutout Butter Crisps. She has two children who are too young to help her with baking, but the 2-1/2 year old likes the cookies, too.
There was a hiatus of a few years between when the older grandchildren grew up and before the youngest came along. This year, Dolphin and Jellyfish came to do their best and Jellyfish takes it all very seriously.
Dolphin is also serious about her baking but takes a more fun approach.
All of the kids have enjoyed the baking but most of all, enjoyed taking home plates of their own creations.
Here is a gingerbread cookie that the older grandchildren liked to make.
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ginger
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream sugar, shortening and molasses until smooth. Blend in egg. Mix together dry ingredients. Add to creamed mixture and blend well. Form into a flat circle, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate dough at least one hour.
Roll out dough on floured board 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. Cut out with floured cutters. Place cookies 1/2″ apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.