Let Cookie Monsters bake their own

These cookies may be kid friendly, but adults won’t be disappointed.

I firmly believe that children should learn to cook. It’s a basic life skill, teaches creativity and gives picky eaters more control. Cooking is also a source of pride for children. They like being able to express themselves in the kitchen. Nothing is better suited for tiny chefs than baking cookies.

Kitchen safety is vital, so it is important to give children age appropriate cookie making jobs. Children 2 to 4 years of age will enjoy cracking eggs in a dark bowl (makes it easier to fish out the shells), rolling cookie dough into balls and add measured ingredients into a bowl. Children ages 5 to 7 are ready to tackle premeasured ingredients and rolling cookie dough. Some are mature enough to properly use an electric mixer or food processor. Children of all ages can decorate cookies, sneak chocolate chips and steal a bite or two of cookie dough, although I am not advocating eating raw cookie dough.

So take some time this summer and nurture those budding chefs with one of these delicious cookie recipes.

Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: about 36 cookies

1 ½ cups of old fashioned oats

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

½ teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon of nutmeg

1 cup of butter, softened

¾ cup of granulated sugar

¾ light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Pour the oats into the bowl of a food processor and pulse on high until partially ground, about 15 seconds.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until completely incorporated.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Using a medium (#40) cookie scoop, portion the dough out onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 11-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Use a can of commercial frosting to frost the cookies, if desired.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: about 18-20 large cookies

8 Tablespoons of salted butter

6 Tablespoons of creamy peanut butter

2 cups of all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon of baking soda

¼ teaspoon of salt

8 Tablespoons of salted butter

6 Tablespoons of creamy peanut butter

1 cup of brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

¾ cup of miniature chocolate chips

Set a small saucepan over low heat; add the butter and peanut butter and heat, stirring frequently, until completely melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, add the melted butter and peanut butter, the brown sugar, the granulated sugar, eggs and vanilla extra. Stir the mixture until well combined.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring to make a stiff dough. The mixture will be dry and hard to mix at first, but keep mixing it will come together. Little helpers will enjoy using hands to completely mix the dough. Add a tablespoon or two of milk if the dough doesn’t come together. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Using your hands, shape the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. Place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each dough ball. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. The centers will be soft and puffy.

Do not over bake. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sprinkle Cookies

Yield: 15 cookies

½ cup of butter, softened

¾ cup of granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon of cream of tartar

½ cup sprinkles, plus more for sprinkling on top

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Beat in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Do not over beat; when the mixture is combined, fold in the sprinkles.

Using a medium (#49) cookie scoop, portion extra large balls of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Make sure the balls are taller than they are wide. They should look like scoops of ice cream. Top the dough with more sprinkles.

Chill the unbaked cookies on the baking sheet for at least 2 hours and up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the chilled cookies for 9-10 minutes. The cookies will appear under-done. Allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.