Another UK half term holiday bites the dust and the kids will be back at school for their final term before the summer break. Now, it might seem a little strange for me to write about children seeing as I don’t actually have any. However I’m a proud auntie and godparent to a few children, so I feel it’s my duty to do lots of fun stuff when I spend time with them. And making some lovely baked treats definitely falls into the category of fun. It’s also a great thing to do during school holidays when there’s a little more time to be in the kitchen with kids.

I baked a lot with my mum when I was growing up and it gave me skills that I could apply to other types of cooking. It also helped me get comfortable with being in the kitchen and using different kitchen tools. Jamie Oliver’s latest campaign focuses on the importance of food education for children. Baking is a great way to introduce some basic kitchen skills. That said, there’s a bit of a health warning on this post as it does contain sugar and chocolate. I don’t have too much of issue with either if they’re an occasional treat as part of a good diet, especially if they act as a starting point to getting children interested in preparing food. I’d also suggest planning in some running around time afterwards to burn off any baking induced energy.

This week I spent a day with my godchildren, who are 8 and 10, and I went armed with a big bag of baking implements. After a bit of discussion, we decided to make chocolate rice crispy cakes and vanilla cupcakes so that their different taste preferences were covered. Both recipes are quick to make, which is important. Getting too complex too soon can put some younger children off baking. It’s best for the recipes to be something that the kids can easily get involved in making (and will enjoy eating). Croissants or choux pastry are probably better tackled a little further down the line.

Kids BakingKids BakingWe used a special children’s cookery book called Let’s Cook!, which has clear instructions and a short list of ingredients. However, a lot of normal cookery books also have child-friendly recipes. Both children got stuck in with measuring ingredients, breaking up chocolate, stirring, portioning and, of course, licking the bowls. I was really there just to keep an eye on the recipes and anything hot, and to give some guidance with the electric hand mixer. The kids did most of the work (though I’d still call this kind of work fun).

The anticipation of waiting for cupcakes to cook and rice crispy cakes to set definitely adds to the excitement. Cupcakes also have an extra element of creativity with the final stage of decorating. It was fantastic to see my godchildren’s satisfied faces tucking into what they had created. Baking is such a great way to build skills, kitchen confidence and also spend valuable time together. And it’s not just fun for kids; I had a ball too!

 

Kids BakingKids Baking

 

Here, courtesy of my godchildren who dictated them to me, are the rules for baking children:

  • Bake whenever possible
  • Use a child-friendly recipe book, if possible with wipe down pages for spillages
  • Make sure children get to test and taste the mixture as you add things in
  • Always leave some mixture in the bowl to eat afterwards
  • Let kids lick the bowl / spoon / anything that has something tasty on it
  • If chocolate is involved, make sure you have a little left so that there’s some to eat (1 square per child)
  • Let kids try one of the baked treats as soon as it’s ready, but it’s good to save the rest for later
  • Make sure kids get to join in as much as they can, including the cleaning up (i.e. licking the bowls)

My extra suggestion is to time the treats to be ready between meals so they don’t spoil lunch or dinner. You might also need to give a gentle reminder for little hands to be washed before starting baking, and when there’s any major finger licking during.

 

Kids BakingKids BakingKids BakingKids Baking

 

Find similar recipes here: Chocolate rice crispy cakes (swap the cornflakes for rice crispies) and Vanilla cupcakes

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