Bake Tree Ring Cookies
Looking for a fun way to combine science with cooking? Teach kids about cross-sections with this fun kitchen activity. Kids make their own cookie log, then cut it into cross-section slices. This experience helps kids understand how one slice relates to the whole, making it easier for them to interpret cross-sections when they come across them in science class. Your duty is clear: bake cookies in the name of science!
What You Need:
- Chocolate cookie dough
- Vanilla cookie dough
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- Pastry brush
- Rolling pin
- Wax paper
- Plastic wrap
- Baking sheets
- Butter knife
- Easy reader book about trees (optional)
What You Do:
- Divide chocolate and vanilla dough to make four balls. Ask your child to choose one, then refrigerate the rest.
- Have her form a short, fat sausage shape on generously floured wax paper. Take turns rolling the dough with the rolling pin, aiming for a rectangle. Flip the dough over often, and use plenty of flour.
- Roll dough as thinly as possible, then slide the dough onto freshly floured wax paper. If the dough tears, she can reposition the pieces, overlapping slightly.
- Next, have her brush the flat sheet with lots of milk to hold all the layers together.
- Repeat, alternating dough. As you finish rolling out each ball, place each new sheet on top of the first, brushing with milk between each one.
- When all are in place, have her fold the pile in half, then gently roll it into a log together.
- Wrap the log in plastic wrap and freeze for an hour.
- While you wait, this is a great time to read an easy reader science book about trees! If you have access to a tree cross-section, count some rings together. Explain to her how the number of rings represents the age of the tree.
- Preheat the oven and prep baking sheets per your cookie dough recipe.
- Remove the chilled log and mark it every 1/4" by pressing with the knife.
- Have her slice on the marks with the butter knife. After she cuts each slice, move it to the baking sheet.
- Bake as directed.
When they're cool, count the rings to find out how old your cookie would be if it were a tree!