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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chocolate Ginger Cookies So Easy Even a 2-year-old Can Make Them

"Auntie, play pasta," baby M asked recently.

I can do better than that! As I got out the ingredients to make sugar cookies, she flipped the page to ginger cookies and was enthralled by the white icing and candied fruit toppings.

"Oooh," she looked at me imploringly. OK, guess we're making ginger cookies then. When you let a 2-year-old handle the measuring spoons, she gets a little heavy-handed measuring out the cocoa. Chocolate ginger cookies it is then.

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 1

Chocolate Ginger Cookies
Adapted from Ginger Cookies in "The Cook's Encyclopedia of Cookies" by Hilaire Walden.

For about 1 dozen cookies, you'll need:
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup buckwheat flour)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 tblsp soy milk (Regular milk would work too.)
1 heaping tblsp cocoa powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

For icing glaze, you'll need:
2 tblsp powdered sugar for each color you intend to make
1/2 to 1 tsp water
1 or 2 drops food coloring

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together 1/2 cup butter, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tblsp soy milk, and 1 tsp vanilla extract until creamy.

Once I showed baby M how to hold the mixer, she very quickly caught on and started moving it around the bowl herself.

Add 1 1/4 cup flour, 1 heaping tblsp cocoa powder (I let her measure out the ingredients too.), 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Mix again until the flour appears like small crumbs. This will only take a few minutes.

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 2

Stop when the mixture starts clumping into a big blob.

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 3

With your hands, quickly knead the mixture into one smooth ball.

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 4

Divide the ball into halves or fourths. Liberally flour a cutting board or table and roll the dough out to about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness.

"Rolling pin," says baby M. "I do it."

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 5

"OK, OK, you can do it. I'll just help a little."

When the dough is rolled out evenly, cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

"What shape do you want?" I asked.


"Big heart or little heart?"

"Big heart!"

Aww, she's already learning to cook with all her heart.

"I do it!"

OK, OK, I let you do it.

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 6

Into the oven for 10 minutes. The only problem was that I couldn't tell when the raw cookies...

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 7

...were done.

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 8

While waiting for the cookies to cool, you can make the colored icing.

Since this is a relatively small batch of cookies, I didn't make too much icing. For each color you intend to make, you'll need separate bowls and about 2 tblsp powdered sugar. Add 1 or 2 drops food coloring and 1/2 tsp water. Mix and if it's still too dry, add more water if necessary. Too wet? Add more powdered sugar. You'll want a mixture that's thick enough to coat the spoon so it can coat each cookie.

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 9

Use a spoon or butter knife to spread the icing. If you really want to go to the trouble, you can make the icing a bit thicker, fill a plastic bag, cut the corner, insert a piping tip and make fancy designs. Set aside so the icing can set on the cookie.

For some reason, whenever I asked if baby M was done icing a cookie before I could set it aside, she had to take a bite. Well, they do say that children are more likely to eat if they helped cook...

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 10

"Are you done?"


"All done."



"All done."

Notice below the doves missing beaks, stars missing a point, angels missing part of a wing. :)

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 11

Chocolate Ginger Cookies 12

We boxed the cookies up and brought it over to my second-youngest uncle's house so baby M could proudly show off her creations.

And yes, she really did it all by herself.

Mostly. ;)

My other cookie recipes:
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies
Meyer Lemon Shortbread Bars
Shortbread Cookies with Brown Sugar
Shortbread Cookies with Lavender
Slightly Spiced (Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg) Molasses Cookies

1 year ago today, Iceberg Lettuce, Radish, and Carrot Salad.
2 years ago today, old-fashioned mochi (Japanese rice cakes) pounded by hand at Fugetsu-Do Sweet Shop, the oldest business in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo and possibly the inventor of the Chinese fortune cookie.


  1. Too cute! I always bake with my son. It's the only time I can get him into the kitchen to help. He loves to measure stuff out and a lot of it doesn't end up in the bowl, but still fun.

  2. What a cutie-pie! I'll bet you both had fun.

  3. wow, that's great!!! i didn't start letting my daughter do this kind of stuff until she got older. i wish i had started her earlier...i guess it's because i'm so anal and i hate mess anywhere.

    chocolate ginger cookies sounds like a good combination to me.

  4. Darlene,
    I bet sonny is a great help in the kitchen. He also serves as a very cute model. :)

    I bet you have great fun with your grandkids too!

    Canine Cologne,
    My house is so cluttered, what's a little more? :P I'm not terribly worried about perfection or messes. It's more important that kids have fun.

  5. Too cute! And very talented for a 2-year-old! =D

  6. TS,
    She caught on about operating the cake mixer pretty quickly! Amazing how fast kids learn.


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