“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!”

So much of what we think of as “educational material” is visual, but we have five senses to help us learn about our world: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.

You’ll hear me say this often, but anything you can do to reinforce all the textbooks, workbooks, and lectures with learning adventures that give your kids a chance to touch, smell, and taste are well worth the effort!

Baking Christmas cookies involves all three supporting senses. Get out the big mixer, measure, stir, roll, cut, and giggle over sticky fingers. Smell the sugar and spices and fill your house with the aroma of fresh-baked goodies. Then pop a couple of treats in your mouth, still warm from the oven. Mmmm…the whole experience will create cherished memories.

Baking Christmas cookies appeals to a child's senses and gives them the flavor of foreign cultures. Click To Tweet

Many of our family’s traditional cookie recipes come from foreign lands–handed down from immigrant ancestors or gathered from places we’ve lived.

What better way to “get a taste” of foreign cultures and of our own heritage? And I remember the impact it made on me when I first realized how many countries and cultures celebrate the birth of Jesus…and how many do not. Something as simple as baking Christmas cookies can inspire a real life lesson into what it means to “go into all the world.”

Here are two of my favorites you might like to try with your family:

My Grandmother’s Pralines (a traditional Mexican recipe)

BakeInternationalCookies_Pralines

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp butter flavoring
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon margarine

Mix soda and buttermilk, and then dissolve sugar. Use a real big sauce pan and boil slowly to soft ball stage (234 degrees, or 236 degrees in damp weather). Mixture turns brown as it cooks but needs stirring constantly. Remove from fire and add flavorings, margarine, and pecans. Stir until it begins to look like it is ready to sugar or  cream. Drop in small cakes on wax paper. Makes about 30 pralines.

Anise White Caps (traditional German “Anisegebeck” or “Anise Weisskappen”)

BakeInternationalCookies_AniseGebeck

  • 1/2 lb. sugar
  • 1/2 lb. flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. anise seed (pulverized)

You should bake these cookies during dry weather so that the white caps will form. Put eggs in large mixing bowl and mix slightly, add sugar gradually, beating well. Add flour gradually, beating well. Add anise. Beat a total of 30 minutes. Drop on greased and floured pans. Let stand over night. Bake in moderately hot over of 325 degrees about 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly brown. Remove from pan immediately and place on cooling rack. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

 

Easy, fun, and as an added bonus it doesn’t even feel like “school”. 😉

If you have international cookie recipes your family enjoys making, I’d love it if you’d share the recipe in the comment section!