Gingerbread Cookies

Prepare to use all of your senses while making gingerbread cookies. You may want to spread this activity out over two days; one day for mixing and chilling, the next for cutting out, baking, and decorating. During the entire process be sure to help children use their senses. What are they hearing, smelling, touching, seeing, and tasting? You may want to make a chart that lists some of the children's comments to share with families. Do not forget to send a copy of the recipe home for families to enjoy.

Begin by washing your hands.

You will need:
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 cup shortening (or 2 sticks margarine)
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs*, or egg substitute
2 teaspoon cinnamon
cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all purpose flour
teaspoon salt
1 cup whole-wheat flour

Cream together sugar and margarine. Then add the eggs and molasses. In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients together. Then mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Cover and chill about 3 hours or until the dough is easy to handle. If doing this over 2 days, remove dough from refrigerator 1 hour before children begin to roll it out.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to an 1/8 inch thickness. Using your gingerbread boy (or girl) cookie cutter, cut dough into shapes. Place 1 inch apart onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake in a 350° oven for 9 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Remove cookies and cool on wire racks. Don't forget to Decorate!

Baking Tip: Use parchment paper (found in the baking section of the grocery store) so that you can label and separate each child's cookie while baking.

Decorating Ideas

Plump up raisins in hot water to decorate cookies before baking. Nuts such as almond slices and walnut pieces can also be pressed into cookies before baking.
After cookies have cooled, children can spread a thin coating of peanut butter, frosting, or cream cheese. Add chopped nuts, raisins, or dried fruit pieces for the face and buttons. Eat soon if you use cream cheese.
Omit decorations and dip cookies into yogurt, pudding, or applesauce at snack time.