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Making Cookies with Preschoolers

I am going in to my daughter's preschool class on Tuesday to make cookies for Hanukkah. My original plan was to make the sugar cookies discussed in this thread ahead of time and just bring them in to the class with a bunch of frostings/decorations, but the teachers would rather have me actually make the cookies in class. So I went back to make a list of ingredients that I need to buy and I realized that the dough needs to be refrigerated for a while, or overnight, before cutting into shapes.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/579171

So now I'm not sure what to do. This is class of 12 kids -- mostly age 4. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to best approach this? I will bring in all of the ingredients and cookie cutters but there really is no time to let the cookie dough chill.

They do not have to necessarily be sugar cookies, just nothing with nuts. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks...

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  1. Thumbprint cookies are fun for kids.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cassoulady

      preschool teacher here...very nice gesture....google ...no chill roll out cookie and there will be a few to choose..sorry mine are in my classroom have fun..4 yr olds are a blast:)

    2. Make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate. Bring the raw ingredients to class, assemble, cover, and set aside. Use the refrigerated dough in class.

      You do not have to make a "whole" recipe in class, it could be a half recipe. Take the "class" dough home and use later.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Alan408

        I think this is a good strategy. I just made cookies with my grandchildren, 3 1/2 and 2 years. They were up for about 20 minutes of continuous activity. I made the dough while the kids were running around, and after it was chilled, we cut a few. Then, the kids went away, and I did more. After the cookies were cooled, I made colored royal icing, and then gathered the kids together again for decorating. It worked pretty well, and they have great memories of it. But there's no way I would try to have them hang in with me through the whole process.

      2. I agree with cassoulady re the thumprints. Fun for adults, too (at least to eat).

        JOC has a recipe for whole wheat seed wafers that is meant to cut with cutters, but does not need refrigeration before using. Now...whole wheat isn't exactly what I want to reach for when splurging on holiday cookies, but...it's healthier, and if you want to make cookies that you can still decorate with them, it should work. The ratio is 1 c. whole wheat flour to 2 c. AP. The recipe calls for sprinkling a light layer of a mixture of ground seeds (anise, cardamom, coriander, etc.) atop the dough after rolling and before cutting. That don't sound particularly kid friendly to me, but you could skip that *in* the dough, instead.

        I tried to find the recipe on line for you, but I can't. I have a 1980 edition of JOC, and it's on page 712. "Whole wheat seed wafers".

        1. so are you going to try to make the dough, roll it out, cut out shapes, bake it and then decorate it??? with 4-year-olds? how long a day is your child in preschool??

          I would EITHER make cookies or decorate cookies, but not both - and I would probably find a no-chill recipe b/c even if you bring the dough directly from the fridge to to school, by the time you get set up and the kids start man-handling it, it'll be a goopy, frustrating mess. Go for ease over taste in this case, I say!

          Good luck. You're a nice mama to do this!

          1. How about making the dough and forming it into a THICK roll - 3" or so in diameter. To help form it, line an empty can or container with tin foil, or cut the top off a plastic soda bottle. Press the dough evenly into the container and refrigerate. Take it to school in a cooler with ice packs. Slice it into 1/8" thick rounds with a sharp, thin knife (dip in water between slices) and let the kids cut out shapes with the cutters before decorating. You could bake the centerless round slices as cookies, too. Not sure if the technique of crushing hard candy and filling the centers, for "stained glass " or "jewel" cookies would work when a large area has been cut out. Maybe put chopped chocolate in the center, leaving the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet until completely cooled? As a matter of fact, perhaps it would be educational to try both these fillers - tell the kids that you don't know if it will work, and you'll all find out at the same time.