The holiday season often means two things: time spent with family and friends and great food. This year, Sharon Davis, Manhattan based mother of two who works as the family and consumer sciences education consultant for the Home Baking Association recommends great ways to incorporate the two.
She shares that baking is a family activity that will encourage healthy eating and make subjects like math seem fun for kids. Davis suggests baked goods as the perfect gift for the season. She especially recommends baking mixes and granola as easy and delicious holiday giveaways.
“Baking mixes can be made in large portions and then divided to make great gifts for family and friends,” said Davis. “I especially love putting them in mugs and doing small portions for just one person.”
Davis said she believes that holiday baking traditions can be started at any time. Davis added that baking is a science and it is okay to fail because it is inexpensive and often most failures still taste great.
“Nothing could be easier than baking bread!” said Davis. “Plus people will be so wowed that you made them a loaf of bread, and really it is not that hard.”
For families, Davis says there are too many good reasons to bake to name. She said she believes that baking as a family can create some of the best memories. Although it often takes more time to bake with a child, the opportunity to spend time together, foster relationships and teach important skills like math and science is priceless.
“It’s never too late to start,” said Davis. “My kids who are 20 and 21 and their friends still want to learn to bake and create things with their hands. Just remember, it’s not art, you are not going to hang it on your wall you are going to eat it!”
Grandma’s Refrigerator Dough is a recipe that Davis uses every holiday season. This versatile dough can be turned into cinnamon rolls, tea rings, dinner rolls, butterhorns and more. However, she says her favorite holiday baked good is gingerbread because her kids always look forward to it. Grandma’s Refrigerator Dough recipes and more can be found online the Home Baking Association’s website at www.homebaking.org.
Cindy Falk, nutrition educator for Kansas Wheat shared that her favorite way to take holiday baked goods to the next level is by adding white whole wheat flour to provide a whole grain product, often without family or party guests knowing the difference.
“My favorite way to incorporate more whole grain flour into baking is to use white whole wheat flour,” Falk says. “It is ideal for the full range of your holiday baking repertoire, from cookies to quick breads, yeast breads and even pie crusts.”
Falk, who has been baking for over 50 years, also shares her favorite holiday recipe, Sweet Wheat Bread, a finalist recipe in the 2011 National Festival of Breads. For Falk’s recipe, additional baking tips and holiday recipes visit www.americasbreadbasket.com.