With new gathering restrictions in place, many of us are facing a holiday season unlike any other we’ve had in the past. For my family, we always travelled to the houses of relatives to spend the holidays together. This was lucky for me as Grandmothers’ houses are always filled with memorable baked goods. My sisters and sisters-in-law would also bring tasty goodies. I would contribute one or two items as well, but always left the more traditional treats to experienced hands.
This year, my family will be staying home and having Zoom calls with relatives. We have shipped our gifts to family members far and wide and will open them together, virtually. The distance is not so bad for gift opening and socializing thanks to the day and age we live in and the technology at our fingers. However, the classic holiday treats my family has grown accustomed to having this time of year is in short supply! Therefore, with a bit of proactive bakers shopping, I started getting my hands dirty…
These recipes provided below are from the more experienced bakers in my family but are also age appropriate for a few little fingers too. If you feel up to it, give them a whirl with your little helpers! I hope you enjoy them!
Some tips before starting the baking process are start with a clean workspace and end with one as well. Nothing is more daunting than a pile of dishes, so it’s best to clean as you go. You also want to be careful with hot surfaces, sharp objects, and food safety before baking with children. Remind them to wash their hands, and to ask for help when needed. And if you are going to double, or triple a recipe, I find it easiest to write down the number of ingredients I need (e.g. instead of 1 cup, write down 2, or 3 cups as to not alter the recipe too much). Lastly, if you do deviate from the recipe, be sure to write it down in your cookbook. This helps you replicate a favourite treat later, and it makes for a great memory book year after year to pass on to your children.
So let’s get cooking (rather, baking)! Be warned, although I like to substitute healthy ingredients in my recipes all the time, these recipes are holiday specific in my family. Therefore, they really are treats!
Whipped Shortbread Cookies
1 cup softened butter (can’t use margarine or oil)
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup icing sugar
½ cup glazed cherries
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Mix the butter, sugar, and flour with an electric mixer for approximately 10 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Lay the parchment paper out on a baking sheet. Put roughly tsp sized dollops of the mixture spaced evenly on the parchment paper.
- Put a half glazed cherry in the centre of each dollop. This is the step kids like to help with most!
- Bake at 325° for 15 minutes, until very light brown.
- Let cool and enjoy!
Source: Grandma’s Recipe!
½ cup softened butter (can’t use margarine or oil)
½ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup cocoa
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups coconut shavings
2 cups oats
¾ cup coconut shavings (for coating)
- Bring butter, milk, cocoa, sugar, and vanilla to a boil over medium heat.
- Mix in coconut shavings and oats.
- Stir the mixture and pour into a medium sized bowl and allow to chill until cold (around 2 hours).
- Once cool, roll small dollops into 1 ½ inch balls. Perfect step for little helpers!
- Roll into the coconut for a coconut-y coating.
- Keep chilled and enjoy!
Source: Auntie Krystle’s Recipe!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
3 tsps baking powder
½ cup shortening (or butter)
¾ cup milk
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
- Cut in shortening (or butter) using two knives until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. I personally like using my hands. It’s messy, but I find I get too impatient with the knives. Plus, the kids love to help with this step!
- Pour in the milk slowly, stirring as you go. Pour in and mix until the dough leaves the sides of bowl and starts sticking together.
- Now you can place the dough on a lightly floured surface and begin kneading. Knead roughly 10 times.
- Roll or pat the dough until it is roughly ½ an inch thick.
- Cut with holiday cookie cutters. Another kid favourite step!
- Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet approximately 1 inch apart.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
- Once done, remove from the oven and remove from the cookie sheet, leaving on a counter or plate to cool.
Source: Auntie Julie’s Recipe!
Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares
½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 (300g) bag of butterscotch chips or chocolate chips
1 (200g) bag of mini marshmallows
- Put the butter, peanut butter, and butterscotch chips in a pot on the stove and melt together at a very low heat stirring constantly.
- Once melted, cool for a bit off the burner but keep the mixture in the pot.
- Stir in the mini marshmallows.
- Pour into greased pan. I like to use a glass pan with roughly 2 inch sides.
- Let sit or put into the fridge for faster drying.
- Cut up and enjoy!
Source: Auntie Rocky’s Recipe!
Nothing Says It Like The Smell of Baking!
Hope you enjoy these holiday treat ideas! They really make my home smell and taste like the holidays. If you have a special recipe that your family enjoys during the holidays and want to share it, send it along to me! We can all use some more sweets this season. Take care!