The festive season is almost upon us, which means the little people in your life are probably already starting to bubble with excitement.
With so much going on, it’s easy for them to go a bit crazy at this time of year, so putting all that boundless festive energy to good use is highly recommended – and the kitchen is just the place to do it. So why not get the kids involved in making some gorgeous edible gifts that are also the ideal way to keep little fingers busy?
DECK THE HALLS
When it comes to making homemade decorations, a batch of gingerbread dough is a great place to start. Cut out the shapes of your choice (people, animals, stars or trees; the possibilities are endless!) then punch a hole through the dough before you bake it so you’re able to attach it to the tree with ribbon. Gingerbread is quite robust, so little ones can knead and shape it as they like. Go mad with the decorations, too – mix up different-coloured icing, then set up the table with dried fruits and chocolate buttons and let them get creative.
For a new take on the traditional candy canes that usually adorn the tree, try these chocolate cookies. Older kids will love helping with these mint-chocolate biscuits that are speckled with crushed candy canes. They’ll keep for a couple of weeks, and make a lovely gift, presented in a pretty tin, for relatives or teachers.
Getting kids to help out with some batch-cooked edible gifts will come in really handy over the busy festive period. Make up big DIY cookie jars to give out come Christmas – older children will love helping to make homemade labels and decorating the jars with pretty ribbon, cinnamon sticks and pine cones.
Many kids don’t like mincemeat, as the rich flavour can be a little intense, but this mellower version is much more kid-friendly. There’s no cooking involved, so children of all ages can get stuck in, and it’s packed with fruit, too. The jars will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks, or in sterilised jars for up to a year – the ultimate get-ahead gift!
BAKE IT UP
Filling the house with the smell of seasonal spices is guaranteed to get everyone in the Christmas spirit, and little ones of all ages can help with mixing, kneading or decorating. Don’t get too hung up on things being perfect – this is about the fun of the process as much as the end result.
These cranberry and cinnamon swirl buns are made with a mixture of wholemeal and spelt flour, giving them a lovely malty taste. There are lots of stages that kids of all ages will love to help with – measuring, sifting, stirring, kneading or rolling. Enjoy these treats straight from the oven, or pack them up and take them to lucky friends’ houses.