Christmas Baking, A Family Event…

Yummy Christmas Shortbread!

Yummy Christmas Shortbread!

Kids love to bake with their mom or dad. It can be a rewarding experience for the parent and child. Not only do they get some one on one time together there are delicious treats too.

Okay, so the kitchen may get a little messier than normal and take longer to clean up. Oh, and when it comes time to cleaning the child has already lost interest and moved on to something else leaving the parent with the baking mess. It is still a lot of fun for everyone involved.

Other than muffins or cookies throughout the year the only time I bake is it Christmas. Years ago my cousin and I started a tradition of getting together for a baking weekend to prepare our Christmas treats. When she moved away I carried on the tradition with my Aunt. It is a wonderful weekend and the kids have always loved it as they got to bake and try many different treats instead of the usual cookies or muffins. The kids would come in and out of the kitchen working on their favourite recipes and leaving when they had had enough. It usually took about three days for us to get everything finished.

This year for a change I went over to my aunt’s house for our annual baking weekend and unfortunately my kids missed out. My aunt and I however, worked like busy bees and had all the shortbread, biscotti, butter tarts, squares and nuts & bolts baked, with icing and wrapped in a day and a half. We were both surprised how quickly we finished everything and it was so peaceful, no fights over who could stir the batter, crack the eggs or add the ingredients. It was a great mommy time weekend and although I felt a little guilty doing it all without including my children I think I would try it again.

My kids loved tasting samples of everything when I came home and I saved a couple of their favourite recipes to make with them too so they could get in on the Christmas baking experience with me.

Chocolate Marmalade Biscotti

Chocolate Marmalade Biscotti

Chocolate Marmalade Biscotti

2/3 cup of white sugar
1/3 cup of butter (room temp)
2 eggs
3 tbsp of marmalade
2 tbsp of grated orange peel
2 1/3 cup of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
Pinch of salt
Half a cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 of a cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Method:
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs, marmalade and orange peel until combined. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, stir into creamed mixture, add nuts and chocolate chips and work into a dough. Turn onto a floured board surface. Shape into 3 to 4 logs about 1/2 inch thick. Place on parchment paper lined or lightly greased pan. Bake 25 minutes @ 325° until firm and light brown. Cool on a wire rack for five minutes. Cut diagonally 3/4 of an inch wide. Place back on the cookie sheet leaving space around each slice. Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes or until golden brown. When cooled drizzle with melted chocolate.

This recipe has become a family favorite and is an easy recipe to make a double or triple batch of.  My Aunt found it in The Toronto Star one year submitted my Marion Kane

Sharing the Tradition of Christmas Baking with your Children

Christmas Treats Always Taste Better When Made With Love!

Christmas Treats Always Taste Better When Made With Love!

So many families these days go to the store and buy all their Christmas goodies. The packaged treats in Grocery stores and bakeries make it far too easy for busy families to purchase their Christmas baking and not take the time to make it themselves.

It is worth the effort to bake with your kids even if it is only one traditional family recipe.  Children love baking with their mom and they learn so much in the process. They learn about family traditions, how to measure, mix, stir, bake and of course the best part tasting. They can learn scientific facts about the chemical reaction in baking powder and baking soda and how they make the dough rise. And best of all they get some quality time with mom, something they love any time of year.

I do not bake a lot throughout the year but in December I spend a day with my kids baking some traditional family Holiday treats passed down to me from my mother’s family. My son doesn’t always have the patience for a whole day of baking but he loves to pop in and out of the kitchen and help with the stirring, licking the bowl and tasting. My girls have always loved helping out in the Kitchen.

When my children were younger I would plan at least one recipe we could make together as that would be about the length of their attention span. They loved rolling out gingerbread or shortbread dough and cutting out the cookie shapes. One of their favourite recipes was making Nuts N Bolts. I have revised the recipe so many times I am sure it is different each year and before I can get any, my kids have usually picked out all the pretzels and cheese squares but it is still really yummy. I have added extra pretzels and Cheese Nips in this recipe so I get some too.  When they are packaged up these treats make great Teacher’s gifts too. Feel free to alter the recipe to your own taste as I did. Enjoy!

Nuts N Bolts

1 lb of melted butter 1 small box Cheerios cereal   1 box Life Cereal or Corn Bran
¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce 1 small box Shreddies Cereal   3 boxes of Cheese Nips or Straws
1 tbsp onion powder 3 pkg Pretzels
1 tbsp garlic powder 2 ½ cups Cashews
1 tbsp celery salt 2 cups unsalted mixed nuts

Method:

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large clean paper or plastic bag rotate it several times to blend it then fill a roasting pan ¾ full with blended mix. Melt the butter in a 4 quart sauce pan on low, add the Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic powder and celery salt. Heat on low to medium heat stirring occasionally until melted. Using a metal ladle fill with the liquid and pour slowly onto the

Homemade Teacher's Gifts are Always fun to Give!

Homemade Teacher’s Gifts are Always fun to Give!

dry mixture while stirring to blend. (This step is easier done with two people one pouring and one folding and stirring) It takes about ¾ – 1 cup of liquid to coat a large roasting pan full of mix. You can tell you have enough when the pretzels get a slight buttery sheen on them and the mix looks slightly wet. Bake at 225° F with the lid on for about 30 min to heat it through stirring occasionally. Then continue to bake with the lid off for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes until lightly brown and Shreddies with sauce on them are crunchy not soft.

If you would like to cut down on the butter in this recipe you can mix it half and half with olive or grape seed oil instead. Half the fun is experimenting try using your own favorite cereals.

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Disclaimer

The information on this site is based on the personal experience of the author. There are no guarantees of a perfect method to raise a child, it is all trial and error. Please feel free to try some of the suggestions on this site and let me know how you make out. If you would like to use any words or pictures from this blog please contact me for written permission. © 2013

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