Guest post by Ann McCallum, Eat Your Homework Books
For back-to-school this year, try something revolutionary. Digest some delicious learning by making your own batch of Revolutionary Honey-Jumble Cookies!
How do you help your children transition from the hazy days of summer to the busy schedule of the fall? With hands-on (and mouths-on) learning, kids will be excited and engaged when they go back to school. Many years ago Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” And speaking of history . . .
A sometimes dreary subject, now kids can immerse themselves in learning history—and make connections to the present—by heading to the kitchen. Food makes studying America’s past both applicable and tasty.
For example: Rewind to 1773, a year of incredible changes for the American colonists. Late in the year, the people living in these British colonies organized the “Boston Tea Party.” They dumped tons of British-imported tea into the Boston Harbor to protest the taxes levied on them by British Parliament. Soon, war broke out between America and Britain, as colonists declared their independence from the most powerful nation in the world at that time. The idea was revolutionary!
Imagine what life was like when the colonists decided to boycott tea (Coffee became the morning drink of choice), a time when anyone could be forced to house—and feed—British soldiers in their homes. Here’s a made-modern recipe to connect these past events to current times. The Dutch settlers called them koekjes (ever wonder where the name cookie came from?), though nowadays we refer to these treats as cookies.
Revolutionary Honey-Jumble Cookies use modern methods and ingredients. And honey, originally imported to America in 1622, adds a tasty touch. When making a batch of these cookies, think back to life in the American colonies. What foods do we have now that would NOT have been available then? How would people even bake a batch of cookies without electric or gas stoves and ovens?
Hands-on learning is a valuable way to make history authentic and relevant. More importantly, learning through food is old-fashioned fun!
Here’s a recipe to try on your own. I used whole wheat flour and high quality cinnamon for the cookies pictured here.
Revolutionary Honey-Jumble Cookies
Before You Begin
- Prep time: 30 minutes
- Cooking time: 8–12 minutes
- Oven temperature: 400° F
- Yield: 30 cookies
- Difficulty: medium
- 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Topping: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons sugar
- Large mixing bowl
- Sturdy spoon or electric mixer
- Shallow bowl
- Cookie sheet
- Smooth-bottomed glass or a spoon
- Cookie racks
- Ask an adult to preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Mix the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and honey.
- Blend together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir into the butter mixture (chill dough in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to make it easier to handle).
- Mix the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place in a shallow bowl.
- Form the dough into balls. Roll in the cinnamon mixture and then place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Slightly flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass or a spoon.
- Bake for 8 – 12 minutes (check to see that the cookies are slightly browned on the edges). When done, use a spatula to transfer to cookie racks to cool.
Ann McCallum is a mom, teacher, and the author of several books for children. Books in her “Eat Your Homework” series have been named a Junior Library Guild selection and a Book Links Lasting Connections. While she’s written mostly on the topics of math and science, her latest book, Eat Your U.S. History Homework: Recipes for Revolutionary Minds (Charlesbridge, October 2015), focuses on making history delicious. Ann lives in Kensington, MD and is blessed with a wonderful — and often hungry — family.