When my kids ask me about my childhood, almost all of my stories involve spending time with my family. I never really cared what I was doing with them, as long I was doing something with them. We grew up in an open-concept Hi-ranch, and as a result, we were always surrounded by family. Looking back, it was really lovely to be able to be with our mother cooking dinner in the kitchen and still interact with our father while he tended to the fire and pretended to be busy while we set the table for dinner. (Dad hated chores.)
Our mother was a wizard in the kitchen and she could cook anything, anywhere, anytime. I was always amazed at her ability to just randomly pull stuff out of the cabinets and fridge and make a delicious meal appear - night after night after night. Dad wasn't too shabby either - although he never made anything without his beloved Fanny Farmer Cookbook right by his side. (Grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade potato chips were his specialty.)
Anyways, now that I have my own family, I make sure that our kitchen is the heart of our home too (although sitting in front of the fire is a really close second!). It may not be the prettiest room in the house, but it's definetly the most used. From breakfast to lunch to dinner, from crafts to homework to meal prep, we spend a lot of our time at our kitchen table.
Growing up with two parents that could cook, I think it's really important for both of my children to know their way around the kitchen (I have a son and a daughter). I also think it's important for them to see their father cooking, so we divvy up the meals. My husband has certain things that he likes to make (his special Chili, his Cookie Pie, and anything grilled) and I fill in the rest. My husband is also in charge of making the kids lunches every day because we want our kids to know that parenting is a team effort and everyone needs to pitch in.
So to make sure that both of my kids are excited about cooking in the kitchen, I make sure that there are cookbooks on hand for them to peruse whenever they feel like making something. Currently, my daughter's new favorite cookbook is Coconut's Cookbook: Fun and Fluffy Treats to Eat and my son's is The Star Wars Cook Book: Wookie Pies, Clone Scones, and Other Galatic Goodies. I like to tie cooking into their interests and my daughter is obsessed with American Girls and my son loves Star Wars, so these are the current favs.
On a recent snowy afternoon, it was my son's turn to pick a recipe and he picked out these super tasty Wookie Cookies. After we baked them, we decided to have a little fun and tried to mimic some of the fantastic food photography seen throughout the book. (Matthew Carden is pretty awesome.) These chocolate chip cookies are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and have a surprising dash of cinnamon to boot. They quickly made their way onto our cookie rotation list and I know you'll love them too.
Modified from The Star Wars Cook Book: Wookie Pies, Clone Scones, and Other Galatic Goodies.
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 cup brown sugar, packed
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 cup milk chocolate chips
* 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375º.
Step 2: Put the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Stir with the wooden spoon until well mixed. Set aside.
Step 3: Put the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in another mixing bowl. Using the electric mixer set on high speed, beat together until well blended and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Step 4: Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and stir with the wooden spoon until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Step 5: Scoop up a rounded tablespoonful of the dough and drop onto a baking sheet. Repeat until you have used up all the dough. Be sure to leave about 1 inch between the cookies because they spread as they bake.
Step 6: Using pot holders, put the baking sheets in the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Step 7: Again, using pot holders, remove the baking sheets from the oven. Lift the cookies from the baking sheets with a spatula, and place on cooling racks.
Step 8: Let cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
May the force be with you and your kids in the kitchen,