Letting little ones loose in the kitchen (within reason...) is a sure-fire way to make their Christmas extra special. Their creations magically turn from mix to masterpiece in the oven, and then there's the fun of decorating. Yes, there may be the small matter of cleaning up all the batter, icing and sparkles from wherever they end up. But it's worth it to see the look on their faces when they proudly present you with their best Christmas cookie.
Here are some cute Christmas baking ideas for three to five-year-olds that are fun, easy and packed with festive cheer.
Doubling up as snowballs, coconut-covered truffles are an easy recipe for cooking with toddlers – because there's no cooking involved! Chill a cream and chocolate ganache mix, then arm everyone with a spoon to scoop out little balls. Throw some edible glitter in with the desiccated coconut before the children start rolling to make the truffles extra festive. Popped in a box and tied with a ribbon, these make a great homemade Christmas present. They're bound to impress grandma!
mince pies for father christmas
It’s not Christmas without a mince pie. Make your life easier and buy some ready-rolled pastry and jars of mincemeat (no one’s judging). Get little hands busy marking out the pies with a plastic cookie cutter and pressing them into the tin. Sticky hands alert – it's time to dollop in the mincemeat. Let them top the pies with a holly-shaped bit of pastry (or their best imitation of it). Then bake and cool, ready to leave out for Father Christmas.
Easy Christmas baking recipes don't come simpler than this. Whip up a shortbread mix and roll it out to half a centimetre thick. Let your little one take over, pressing out shapes with yuletide cookie cutters (think fir trees, angels and stars). Once the cookies are baked and cooled, they can ever-so-carefully smooth on some coloured icing. Red and green Smarties are a bright finishing touch – though more might end up in little mouths than on the biscuits.
carrot cake for rudolph
Rudolph’s got to have his carrot. Why not bake it into a cake so everyone can have a slice? You'll need to do the grating, of course, but little hands won't be idle for long. They can grab handfuls of raisins, sultanas and nuts to throw into the mix. The thick, gloopy batter is great fun for them to stir, too. If your children are a little older, help them make a carrot out of icing to pop on top.
Ok, this takes a little more effort, but the payoff is pretty magical. Help little ones to roll out a simple gingerbread mix, then use templates to cut out the walls and roof. Once it's baked, grab a fun-to-squeeze piping bag to stick it together and ice on the windows. Let them go to town with the details – chocolate button roof tiles, candy-cane trees and colourful sweets everywhere.
If Santa is about to visit any moment and you're really pushed for time, look out for pre-made gingerbread house kits. Your little ones will have just as much fun (and get just as sticky-fingered!) but you'll have a little more time to wrap those final few gifts. After all, we all know that eating our Christmas bakes is the best bit. Just be sure to leave a crumb or two for the man in the sleigh!