Around the World on a Cookie Tray: Creative Homeschool Geography
by Megan Mora Fuentes
The Christmas season, with help from some creative homeschool geography, can be the perfect time to incorporate some holiday baking lessons into your homeschool. There are often extra holiday guests to bake for, and homemade treats make great gifts for friends and neighbors. You can bring even more to the table by exploring these different traditional holiday treats from around the world. Try your hand at unique recipes and introduce a creative geography lesson right in your kitchen. Baking with your children is a great holiday activity and a fun, festive way to celebrate and learn at the same time!
Creative Homeschool Geography Recipes
Your children can pick a recipe–or two, or three!–to experience a sweet holiday tradition from a land far away. These can make great additions to a presentation or report about a specific country, or holiday traditions around the world. Or, take a bit more time to bake your way across the Atlantic to the British Isles, trek south through Europe, cross Asia down to the Philippines, then loop around to South and Central America and finally, Mexico. While some of the recipesm do require more patience and are a bit more complicated than the simple, kid-friendly recipes that are popular, children would still be able to perform most of the prep and assembly. More supervision or direction may be needed, especially if the recipes are unfamiliar. Your delicious, creative geography lesson will be one of the most memorable you’ve given!
These British stained glass cookies are popularly hung as tree ornaments in the United Kingdom, and make a beautiful, eye-catching treat. This would be a fun Christmas Eve activity to occupy little hands on what can be a very long day!
Vanillekipferl are vanilla cookies you would be likely to find at a traditional German holiday celebration. Note that this recipe gives measurements in grams and baking temperatures in Celsius, making it a great tool for a mini math lesson while your student converts the measurements.
Pecan linzer cookies, popular in Europe and said to have originated in Linz, Austria, are sweet, delicate-looking cookies that can be filled with a variety of jams–or even a quick chocolate ganache–to suit your family’s taste. They make a beautiful homemade gift, too!
Bûche de Nöel, or yule log cake, is a traditional French dessert that is typically decorated to resemble a yule log. It would make a beautiful centerpiece and special dessert for a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner.
Turrón, a soft almond nougat, is a popular Spanish Christmas treat. This project ist one of those that may require a bit more patience–a good lesson in itself! This recipe from Oh the Things We’ll Make is a result of the author’s exhaustive trial-and-error process, and includes a helpful instructional video.
These cute little Italian amaretti cookies are a delicious blend of almond and chocolate flavors. Consider a bit of advance planning for this one to give you time to order pearl sugar.
Paciencia are a popular Filipino meringue cookie, often given as holiday gifts. They require only five simple ingredients and 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, are popular Christmas treats all over South America, though perhaps most well-known as an Argentine specialty.
Besitos de Coco, or “coconut kisses,”, are a favorite holiday treat on the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. The light coconut cookies can be dressed up with crushed nuts or drizzled chocolates, and are similar to coconut macaroons.
These simple Mexican butter cookies, Galletas con Chochitos, are easy to make and can be decorated in a number of festive ways, with colored icing, sugars, and sprinkles.