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Beyond the cookies: the many benefits of family baking

‘Tis the season to be busy, it seems, but what happened to jolly? From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, it can sometimes feel as though we’re so occupied with checking lists and fulfilling obligations that we forget about jolly and, more importantly, joy. One way to bring the jolly and joy back to the season is to begin or rekindle a family baking tradition.

While the prospect of having little ones in the kitchen can seem overwhelming, baking is a great way to bring the family together for a few hours, encourage cooperation, creativity and conversation. Research shows that it’s not the amount of time parents spend with kids that matters as much as it is the quality of that time. And engaging in family activities that require teamwork goes a long way to helping kids and parents connect.

Baking as a family can also present many opportunities for learning. Encouraging kids to figure out how to halve or double the ingredients for a recipe is a practical, hands-on math lesson. And explaining what happens when heat meets matter—like cookie dough—might just turn out to be their favorite chemistry lesson. (If you’re a little rusty on your chemistry, here’s a short animated video on the mad science of making cookies.) Baking together can also cultivate patience (in parents and kids alike) and foster gratitude, particularly if you give away some of your fresh-baked bounty to someone in need.

So start or reestablish a family baking tradition this holiday season. It’s an inexpensive and wonderful way of making sweet memories. Need some tools to get you started? Browse our hand mixers and stand mixers, or go straight to this 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Easy Clean beaters, which can really help with post-cookie cleanup. (Of course, getting the kids to help clean up is yet another teaching opportunity.)

Need a little inspiration? Here are eight holiday cookie recipes to get you started.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

A favorite with kids and grownups alike, these delicious peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s kisses are everything a cookie should be.

Ginger Cookie Stix

Delicious and fun to decorate, these ginger cookie stix will be a hit with kids, adults and everyone in between.

Triple Chocolate Cookies 

With baking cocoa, semisweet baking chocolate and milk chocolate chips, these triple chocolate cookies are sure to please all chocolate lovers.

Shortbread Toffee Cookies

Chocolate drizzle and English toffee bits dress up these simple shortbread cookies to make them holiday-ready.

Best-Ever Sugar Cookies with Candy Cane Frosting

With cream cheese frosting, this classic holiday cookie tastes better than ever. Yummy to eat and fun to decorate.

Wedding Cookies

Made with only six ingredients (most of which you probably have on hand) these simple wedding cookies are always a hit.

Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

With cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, molasses and both dark brown and turbinado sugar, these are truly classic gingerbread cookies.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

That other great holiday flavor, peppermint, finds a home outside of candy canes in this delightful cookie.

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