My two boys have been asking me to bake them some cookies. So, during the one week school term break last week, we spent an afternoon baking together.
Many learning opportunities are present through such a simple activity like baking.
Personally, I prefer to use the rub-in method when it comes to making cookies. I find both the recipe and method very simple. Great and easy for kids!
These are the learning points that my boys were presented with through our simple cookie-making session.
I showed my boys how to measure the ingredients using our kitchen weighing scale. We poured the flour and measured it. I asked them to read the weighing scale and tell me to stop when it showed 200g. We did the same for the measurement of sugar.
We learnt ratio as we calculated the ratio of fat to flour in the rub-in method, which is 1 part fats to 2 parts flour. I adjusted the amount of flour as we prefer our cookies to be very crispy.
Other Math concepts which we discussed that day were counting, division, time and even fractions!
2. Practical Life
Baking itself is a practical life activity, as it incorporates so many aspects of practical life skills. The boys had a chance to help me set the table, prepare the ingredients and tools, prepare themselves by washing and sanitising their hands, as well as cleaning and washing up after the baking session.
Another great benefit of using the rub-in method is the rich sensorial experience it provides. I made a mental note that day to include my toddler in our next baking session, as she will benefit greatly from the sensorial experience. (She was at the grandparents’ that day and missed our baking session!)
If you’re not familiar with the rub-in method, it is simply mixing the butter and the flour together by rubbing them with your fingers, until the texture becomes like bread crumbs. The boys were surprised that the butter felt so cool and the flour so soft. They enjoyed mixing them!
We talked about temperature, and how heat can change a substance. They were really excited and was standing in front of the oven waiting for the cookies to be ready. They saw how the dough rose when it was heated, and saw first hand the transformation from raw ingredients to a fresh batch of crunchy cookies as a result of heat.
If I dare say, cookies baking can also be an art experience! The part that my boys enjoyed the most was when I asked them to decorate their cookies with chocolate chips and coloured chocolate rice.
The whole baking experience was a language-rich experience, as we conversed and discussed throughout the baking process. Children, being curious by nature, are full of questions. You can imagine the number of questions my boys asked throughout the baking session.
A great language extension activity from this baking session will be to get my boys to write about the experience.
The boys couldn’t wait to have a taste of their cookies creation.
They ate so much that I went on to make another two batches of cookies that day.
Here’s the very simple cookies recipe that we used that day.
250g self-raising flour
(I reduced the flour from 250g to 200g as we prefer our cookies to be crispier. Stick to 250g if you like harder cookies.)
(adjust according to your sweetness preference.)
2 tablespoons of fresh milk
1 tablespoon of beaten egg
Chocolate chips / chocolate rice
(Or anything you like to decorate your cookies with, eg. nuts, raisins…)
1. Cut the butter into small pieces.
2. Pour the flour and small pieces of butter into a big mixing bowl.
3. Rub the butter together with the flour, using your fingers, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
4. Pour in the sugar and mix with a big spoon.
5. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh milk into the mixture.
6. Beat an egg and add just 1 tablespoon of it into the mixture.
7. Stir the mixture until it is thoroughly mixed.
8. With your hands, gather the mixture together into the form of a dough. It should stick and become like dough.
9. Cut the dough into your desired cookies shapes, decorate with chocolate chips, chocolate rice (or anything you like!). Arrange the cookies onto a greased baking tray.
10. Bake at 180 degrees celcius for 20-25 minutes, or until cookies turned brown.
Most importantly, have fun baking with your kids!