What’s more fun than playing in the kitchen & baking holiday treats with your kids? For all of us here at Team LS, it’s definitely one of our favorite seasonal traditions! So, to help us get in the holiday spirit (and plan some yuminess for the weeks to come), we sat down with food blogger and chef, Ali Hooke.
We got to chatting about childhood traditions and what she has planned for this winter with her little one, Alden.
Read on for smiles and inspiration!
I grew up in an extremely holiday obsessed household! No matter how hard we struggled through the year, my parents put aside money all year long, and always made a big deal out of the holidays. Whenever we asked for a toy, we received a “put it on your wishlist” kind of response. So, it’s safe to say the excitement I felt during the holiday months was unparalleled. Now that I have a child, I know he feels exactly the same way!
As much as I have always felt holiday joy deep in my bones, the feeling has only gotten stronger since I had my son, Alden, who is nearly two now. Since he’s entered his toddler years, the household holiday excitement is at its max! He gets really into cooking alongside me now, and is even starting to understand the concept of presents.
We’re just getting started celebrating… and the holidays are shaping up to be as delicious as they are fun!
Sweet Treats in the Kitchen
I don’t know about you, but our schedule is stacked with holiday baking (and eating) plans! We recently kicked off all the yumminess of the season with our first bit of family baking: Apple Hand Pies. Here are all the sweet details!
How to Make Hand Pies
Why do I love this activity for kids? With a little prep ahead of time, you can make it a stress-free hands-on activity… with a ton of room for error. And hey, that’s exactly what you need when your sous chef is a two-year-old! Hand pies can be any shape or size, so they’re pretty hard to mess up.
Step One: Start by getting a hold of any pie dough. This can absolutely be store bought, or, I love Martha Stewart’s very simple recipe. I have tried many pie dough recipes much more elaborate than this and, honestly, it’s the recipe I keep coming back to. Simple, sweet & perfect!
Step Two: Prepare your filling. One of my favorite foolproof methods for hand pies is a little fresh fruit mixed with your favorite jam. It’s easy as can be and cooks off perfect every time. If your littles are old enough to chop, this is a perfect time to have them help with prep. If not, chop ahead of time and just have them help mix in the jam! I find 50/50 is a good ratio, but do what feels — and tastes! — right to you.
Step Three: Get your hands sticky! It’s time to roll out your dough and shape it up. Little ones love this because it’s essentially play dough. If they’re having a hard time shaping the hand pies, they can simply play away with all the scraps. You can even bake off whatever strange shapes they make and they’ll still be delicious as can be.
To form a hand pie, cut out two matching pieces. Cookie cutters work great for this — try whatever festive shape you have in the drawer! Fill the center of the shape, leaving a good half inch of space around the filling. Egg wash the outer rim, place the second piece of dough on top, and crimp the edges down with a fork.
Step Four: Bake them at 350* for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Voila! Fun, festive & delicious treats your little one will be proud of!
What Else We’re Baking
I’m big into “mix & dump” type recipes with little kids. I don’t know what it is about pouring and mixing, but it seems to be an absolute favorite pastime for my little guy.
So, next up, we’re diving head first into some brownies. Again, store bought items are fantastic here — I have never turned down a Ghirardelli boxed brownie! But if you’re wanting to try from scratch, Dorie Greenspan has some amazing brownie baking recipes.
In our home, we’ll be adding a little extra fun with some of our favorite Fancy Sprinkles. They come out with adorable themed sprinkles for every holiday that turn baking activities into instant excitement for kids. And for this adult… I love them!
What are you baking up this season? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to tag us in your holiday kitchen experiments and adventures. We can’t wait to see what you and your kiddos create!