Winter Baking- Cookie Taste Test for Picky Toddlers
I’ll admit it…. The last few years have been tough to get all of the holiday traditions in. I’ve left off the holiday lights, moved cookie baking off the list, and postponed ornament construction over the past few years as life gets in the way of “doing it all”. This year, with activities limited (we did do an outdoor light show AND a drive through one!) I have been able to use the time at home to make some fun holiday memories right at home! (Hello, lunch break ornament making last week… I impressed myself with 30 minutes of crafting with our gaggle of kiddos and nanny!)
Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to bake cookies. Now hear me, I am not a career baker. I went to Target pickup in my pajamas to get a pound of butter and baking powder (I couldn’t even tell you what year my last can was from). As I was making the 6 minute trek to Target pick up, I came up with an idea. See, we are struggling HARD with my picky eater since being home all the time. His food choices dwindle by the day, which breaks my heart and also leaves me baffled. (He literally refused to try hot chocolate because there was a marshmallow in it!) My idea was to make cookies the way to get him to try a new flavor. Here’s what I did and WHY:
I made a double batch of the following basic Sugar Cookie dough (see below):
Prep: 15 min; Cook: 10 min; Yield: 4 dozen
- 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup of butter softened *** Hint: Make sure it is softened!***
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F; Mix together flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.
- (Here's where I separated it into 5 parts) Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 8-10 minutes in preheated oven or until golden brown. Let cool on wire rack.
When I separated it into 5 parts, here is what I did. I chose 4 foods that my picky eater has a hard time even looking at. I chose: Peanut butter, jelly, raspberries, almonds and bananas, I kept one plain sugar cookies and added the following to the others:
- PBJ/Hot chocolate: add ½ cup peanut butter and 1 packet of hot chocolate to dough and blend; Jelly is for a topping after baking
- Raspberry: mash up ½ cup raspberries and blend into dough
- Banana: Use one small or ½ medium ripe banana and mash into dough and blend
- Almond: Crush ¼- ½ cup of almonds and blend into the dough
We got out our Innobaby Chicken Steamers (They are oven safe and my kids love them for anything from snacking to cooking!) and put the dough into 5 separate sheets of parchment paper. I let the kiddos roll the plain sugar cookie part into balls on a cookie sheet. We then moved onto the Chicken Steamers for my middle guy. They are the perfect size and shape for little hands and feature silicone material that is naturally antimicrobial and easy to clean. They have fun shapes that he could press the dough into and they each have 2 compartments! I had him roll the dough with all the different flavors and press it into the compartments as I talked about why each one is so delicious. I then let him place his personal molds into the oven and then help the rest of us roll the 96 cookies I committed too.
When the cookies came out of the Chicken Steamers and cooled, I told him that I needed a taste tester for all the flavors. He was reluctant to try them (as the other two were practically knocking me over trying to eat cookies!) but he took bites of each of “his cookies” and actually liked them! (Other than the jelly topping which he refused- ya win some and ya lose some, right?)
Here is why I did it this way: I’ve learned over quarantine that ages 2-4 is all about control and being in charge. My picky eater is 4 and very much wants to be in control of the situation. He also wants to be different from the crew. This is where the “ownership” comes into play. He molded them in his chicken steamers. He picked which one went where. He was in charge of the management of the cookie baking.
Though I don’t love using tons of cookies as meal parts, this was a big win for us. We got holiday baking accomplished, were creative and spent time together, and got some new flavors involved in our kiddo’s diet. Who knows? Maybe he will eat a pint of raspberries today. One can dream, right?
At the end of the day, we made cookies, made memories, and my kid ate like a 10th of a raspberry which is more raspberries than he has ever eaten before! We have an abundance of cookies to share and enjoy over the next couple of weeks AND we got to use our beloved chicken steamers in the “maker” (my 2 year old calls the oven “the maker” and I hope he never stops!)