8 Easy Baking Recipes to Get You in the Kitchen With Your Kids
Are your little ones ready to tackle baking? Try these fun, easy recipes and make a mess!
Your kids want to play pastry chef, but you're not so sure. You're envisioning frosting on the walls, sugar on the ceiling, your kids getting bored and leaving as you melt -- or maybe burn -- chocolate on the stovetop. And, really, are the results even going to be edible? Don't start your baking adventure the hard way -- begin with really easy baking recipes.
Kim Foster spent enough time in the kitchen with her two kids -- and their classmates -- to write a book, "Sharp Knives, Boiling Oil," full of savory recipes tested in the relative discomfort of a New York City classroom. But she's not as daring when it comes to baking.
"I expect nothing to come out right," Foster says. "We made macaroons for [my daughter] Lucy's birthday and there was no precision. It was insane. I made seven batches of macaroons to have enough. ... We had macaroon batter stuck all over the kitchen. It was awful. Really awful. That's my baking life in a nutshell."
But trying easy baking recipes with your kids -- or even letting them dive into the kitchen alone -- isn't always a nightmare. Elizabeth LaBau of SugarHero does plenty of baking with her 3-year-old son.
"Obviously he's not boiling caramels over the stovetop by himself, but he sees me in the kitchen and wants to help, so I try to include him when I can," LaBau says. "It also probably depends on the child's temperament, but my son is very good with rules and boundaries, so I trust him to obey my safety rules in the kitchen. We primarily stick to making batters and doughs rather than cooking and stirring things on the stovetop."
Many factors will determine what you and your little ones tackle together, but LaBau advises, "Evaluate your setup and see what you can do to make your child comfortable in the kitchen." And don't underestimate the usefulness of the microwave for kid-safe baking.
Searching for some fun, kid-friendly, easy baking recipes to make with your kids or the ones you nanny? Here are eight to try.
LaBau likes to pre-measure all the ingredients before her son, Asher, comes into the kitchen. This ensures precision -- and an easier cleanup -- but her Snickerdoodles recipe still leaves plenty of hands-on time. Kids can help mix the batter and roll each ball of dough in cinnamon sugar. Sometimes LaBau substitutes multicolored sprinkles to up the fun factor.
- Brownie in a Mug
This easy recipe makes a single-serving brownie, practically transforming your microwave into an Easy-Bake Oven.
- Panda Cupcakes
If your kids are more focused on presentation than preparation, whip up a batch of miniature cupcakes and let them do the decorating to make these adorable Easy Little Pandas.
- Chocolate Salami
This recipe requires only a mixer and some elbow grease to produce a log of chocolate ready to slice and enjoy.
- Rice Krispies Treats
Don't underestimate this old-school classic. Melt one bag of marshmallows and 3 tablespoons butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Once the mixture is smooth, add in 6 cups of crispy rice cereal. Keep it classic, or get creative by mixing in a large spoonful of Nutella or other nut butter, small candies, sprinkles or chocolate chips. Spread the mixture in a buttered 9-by-13-inch pan and let it set. Slice into squares and store in an airtight container.
- Oreo Truffles
LaBau has an easy recipe to elevate these ubiquitous sandwich cookies to fancy truffle status with the help of cream cheese, dipping chocolate and your microwave.
- Edible Cookie Dough Balls
Adapt your favorite cookie dough recipe to make it safely edible by substituting 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg. For added fun (and sweetness), dip your cookie dough balls in chocolate candy coating and let it harden.
- Cake Pops
What could be better than cake crumbs mixed with frosting, rolled into balls and dipped in chocolate -- all on a stick for easy eating? These cute Rose Cake Pops! Your cake pops needn't be that fancy, of course. Kids of all ages can help with different steps.
Now that you're armed with new recipes, you're ready to head to the kitchen. Still hesitant? Know that even after more macaroon batter ended up on the walls than in the oven, Foster lived to bake another day with her daughters.
"They do make a mess but they get into it," Foster says. "It doesn't matter that it's perfect. Who cares if the Christmas cookies look like poop? It doesn't matter. ... You want them to have a relationship with their food, so that's what you're giving them."
Want some healthier options? Try these 5 healthy desserts for kids.
Jody Mercier is a New York City-based writer, editor and mother of three kids who help her bake, but mostly stick around to lick the batter off the beaters.
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