Even before she turned two, Raine has always been my little baking ‘assistant’. Take note of the quotation marks. As can be expected, having Raine help always ends up messier and much, much slower—plus her definition of ‘taste the batter’ involves spoonfuls of the stuff (I try to think of it as really good quality control). But once the cloud of flour has settled (and been wiped and swept away), the 387 spoons, bowls and spatulas have been washed (if I bake alone, I usually use less than 10 items) and we’re munching on our freshly baked cookies, I realize all the hassle is worth it. We get to spend quality time, she learns some domesticity and math (counting and measuring), and we consume calories together.
This recipe I picked up from Trish Kuffner’s very useful The Preschooler’s Busy Book. She calls them ‘Aggression Cookies’, but I prefer the more positive if not as catchy ‘Energy Release Cookies’. The batter's meant to be almost like clay, I suppose, and allow your child to release all that pent up energy when they ‘pound, punch and knead the batter’.
I tweaked her recipe a bit—mostly lessened the sugar to assuage my mother guilt, and added the coloring step.
Age Group: 3+ (but Raine was a little over 2 when we started making these)
Preparation needed: minimal. You will need an oven, toaster or turbo broiler to bake these.
Difficulty of preparation: Easy! Even a kid can do it. Ingredients are easy to find. Read the recipe a few times first.
Time needed: 12 minutes to bake a batch in an oven; anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to prepare. Clean up time varies greatly—depending on how much ‘fun’ you have.
- 1 ½ cup quick cooking oats
- 2/3 to ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup flour
- ¾ cup butter or margarine, softened and cut into little pieces
- ¾ teaspoons baking powder
- Food coloring (optional)
- Mixing bowls, cookie sheets
What to Do:
- If you allow your child to measure out the ingredients, do so. Or you can pre-measure everything and allow her to dump all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Attack! Mix everything together with your hands (a spoon could also work for the more fastidious kiddies). According to Trish (yes, we’re on first-name basis), the longer and harder you knead the batter, the yummier your cookies will be.
- Divide the batter into different bowls and add different food coloring to each. Knead well (this step is entirely optional).
- Once you feel that your kid has expended enough energy, and all the ingredients are adequately mixed, heat the oven to 350F.
- Roll the dough into small balls (Raine preferred worm and shell shapes) and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes.
- Take out, let cool and enjoy! Great with cold milk or hot chocolate.
A note on coloring the cookies—you may want to experiment with small batches if you’re mixing colors. Our attempt at purple came out a suspicious, sad looking gray.
Oh, and anyone with a better name for these cookies gets a free batch of them when you come to visit! Plus the cookies will be renamed after your suggestion.