Cooking and baking with children with special needs can be a fun sensory experience that the entire family can take part in and enjoy. From baking biscuits and cakes to creating festive ornaments, in this blog, SpecialKids Company will give you some festive baking ideas for children with special needs.
Christmas Biscuits Recipe
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Beat the butter in a bowl until soft and creamy. Add sugar, egg and vanilla and mix together with beaters (ideally electric beaters to save you some time and energy!). Finally, add the flour and knead to make a biscuit dough, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky.
Next roll the dough onto a floured surface and use Christmas cookie cutters (or freehand if you dare!) to make festive Christmas biscuit shapes. If you don’t have cookie cutters and don’t fancy your chances of creating some shapes by hand, you can use a small glass to create circles.
Put the biscuits in a baking sheet with baking paper in a preheated oven of 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool before decorating with icing or decorations. You can make Christmas tree shaped biscuits, stars, snowmen, reindeer and santa faces - there are so many things that you can do. Go on, get creative!
These biscuits should keep in a sealed box for around 3 days.
Festive Christmas Cupcakes Recipe
280g self-raising flour
175g golden caster sugar
175g unsalted butter, very soft
150g pot fat-free natural yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
85g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g icing sugar, sifted
Add all of the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat with a whisk until smooth. Spoon the mixture into a 12-hole muffin tin with cake cases and bake in a preheated oven to 190C/170 fan/gas 5 for 25 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool on a wire rack before icing.
To make the icing, beat the butter, vanilla extract and icing sugar until creamy and spread onto cooled cupcakes.
You can now get creative using sweets and icing pens and make some festive cupcakes!
If baking isn’t your thing but decorating is, supermarkets sell fantastic ready-made gingerbread houses to help you get into the festive, creative spirit!
Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments
Salt dough is fantastic! You can create lots of lovely ornaments with it and there are tons of great ideas on Pinterest.
You will need the following to make the salt dough:
1 cup/250g of plain flour
½ cup/125g of table salt
½ cup/125ml of water
Simply, mix the flour and salt in a bowl and stir, adding the water gradually until it comes together in a ball. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and create your shapes!
Once created, put them on a lined baking sheet and bake for 3 hours in the oven on a low setting until solid. Once they have cooled, you can then decorate them with paint or pens.
Top tip - once finished, if you brush on some PVA glue, it will make them nice and shiny! Also, if you plan to hang them on a tree, make sure you make a little hole at the top for your string.
These are some decorations that we have created using ideas online - a reindeer and heart made using footprints and santa made from a handprint. Lovely keepsakes or gifts!
Some Top Tips For Cooking With Children With Special Needs
Before cooking any of these recipes with your kids, remember that cookery cannot be taught or learnt under stress. When cooking with a child with special needs, ensure it is done at a quiet time and with patients. it is recommended to get them involved in each step whether this is unpacking or preparing the ingredients. Also take cue from your child, if there is something they are enjoying or show particular interest in then encourage it. To start off with keep it simple and keep it fun so that is neither overwhelming for both yourself and the child.
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The internet can be a lifeline for parents of children with special needs. After all, finding the right support, information and advice whilst navigating your special needs journey is essential.
Read more from SpecialKids Company lists 10 of the best websites for parents of children with special needs.