holiday baking lessons - homeschool living

Beyond the Gingerbread House: Holiday Baking for Your Homeschool

The holiday season is the perfect time to incorporate some baking lessons into your homeschool. Do you have extra holiday guests to bake for, or homemade treats to make great gifts for friends and neighbors? Whether you fill a plate with traditional favorites or try your hand at unique recipes from around the world (geography and culture!), bake with your children for a fun, festive way to celebrate the holidays and learn at the same time!


Baking Tricks and Safety Tips

This article from Simple Homeschool offers several compelling reasons to incorporate baking into your curriculum and outlines the way homeschool mom, Jamie, organizes her homeschool cooking course. With Holiday baking could be a great way to jumpstart a child’s interest in a more disciplined course through the rest of the winter or in the spring.

One Time Through describes helpful tips for baking with small or multiple children.

This kitchen safety rules chart from Snack Works is a great list to print and hang in your kitchen as a general safety refresher for everyone in your family.

KidsHealth addresses children themselves with some great ways to be safe while cooking, baking, and even storing the items they’ve prepared.

Familiar Favorites

This handy sugar cookie dough can be used in three ways to make drop, sliced, or cut-out cookies.

Peanut butter blossoms are a popular holiday favorite, and little ones will love unwrapping chocolate kisses to press on the baked cookies.

Spicy snickerdoodles are simple enough for small children to mix and prepare themselves–always with appropriate supervision, of course!

Spritz cookies are shaped using a cookie press.  The dough can be flavored and colored in multiple ways; and with the simple press and short baking time, large batches can be make quickly.

Peanut butter balls, or “buckeyes,” as they are colloquially called in many parts of the U.S., are simple to roll and dip, and freeze easily for storage. Fill decorative jars with them to make lovely and popular gifts!

Recipes for Little Hands

These holly cookies from Recipe Girl are reminiscent of marshmallow Rice Krispie treats. Younger children love to help shape and decorate the wreaths!

Skip all the tricky gingerbread measuring and cutting, and get right to the fun part–decorating–with these graham cracker gingerbread houses. Incorporate them into your holiday decor by using them as holders for flameless votive candles.

Try these four-ingredient cookies from Your Cup of Cake for a great way to use that box of cake mix sitting in your cupboard. This is easy and fun for kids of all ages.

Fudge can be tricky, but this peppermint crunch fudge from Real House Moms boasts a no-fail microwavable recipe. It’s easy for young children to safely help–and it’s too pretty not to add to your holiday table!

These easy Christmas peppermint patties are delicious on their own or dipped or drizzled in chocolate for a little extra pizzazz.

Potato chip cookies – who wouldn’t love that? An intriguing blend of sweet and salty, and little hands will love smashing up the potato chip crumbs.

Rainbow ring cookies look beautiful –and appear much more complicated than they actually are. This is a great recipe for older children to prep and younger children to assemble.

These Christmas cookie puzzles are a cute twist on iced sugar cookies and are a unique way to gift cookies to friends and neighbors.

Christmas mice cookies are a simple, no-bake cookie that only take minutes to assemble.

Around the World on a Cookie Tray

Your children can pick a recipe–or two, or three!–to experience a sweet holiday tradition from a land far away. These make great additions to a presentation or report about a specific country, or holiday traditions around the world. Some of them do require more patience and are a bit more complicated than the simple, kid-friendly recipes above, but children would still be able to perform most of the prep and assembly. You may need to provide more supervision or direction, especially if the recipes are unfamiliar.

These British stained glass cookies are popularly hung as tree ornaments in the United Kingdom, and make a beautiful, eye-catching treat.

Vanillekipferl are vanilla cookies you would be likely to find at a traditional German holiday celebration. This recipe gives measurements in grams and baking temperatures in Celsius. It makes a great tool for a mini math lesson while your student converts the measurements. (Shh! Just don’t tell them it’s a lesson.)

Pecan linzer cookies, popular in Austria, are sweet, delicate-looking cookies that can be filled with a variety of jams to suit your family’s taste.

Bûche de Nöel, or yule log cake, is a traditional French dessert that is typically decorated to resemble a yule log. It makes a beautiful centerpiece dessert for a holiday meal.

Turrón, a soft almond nougat, is a popular Spanish Christmas treat. This delicious recipe from Oh the Things We’ll Make results from the author’s exhaustive, trial-and-error process. And–yay!–it includes a helpful instructional video.

The cute little Italian amaretti cookies are a delicious blend of almond and chocolate flavors.

And Over to the Americas

Paciencia are a popular Filipino meringue cookie, often given as holiday gifts. With just five simple ingredients, they are easy to make, as long as the egg whites are beaten to the right consistency–a sweet lesson in patience!

Alfajores, a caramel sandwich-style cookie, makes mouths water. They are popular Christmas treats all over South America, though perhaps most well-known as an Argentine specialty.

Besitos de Coco, or “coconut kisses”, hit the spot as a favorite holiday treat on the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. Try dressing up these light coconut cookies with crushed nuts or drizzled chocolates and are similar to coconut macaroons.

Try these simple Mexican butter cookies, Galletas con Chochitos! They are easy to make and can be decorated in a number of festive ways with colored icing, sugars, and sprinkles.


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