Fully Baked With Kids

Fully Baked With Kids

By Sarah Welch

Baking with children is a special event. Their little bodies, attuned to the promise of sugary treats to come, bounce around with anticipation, desperate to take on challenges that are often beyond their ability. Figuring out how to harness all that anticipation fruitfully can be quite a challenge.

Here are a few ways to enlist the help of a young child while you are baking without putting them (not to mention your sanity) at risk.

Make a big deal out of setting aside all of the ingredients.

I don’t know about your kids, but my three-year-old loves help mom get all of the ingredients out and ready. I stand in front of the pantry cabinet and hand him each item: a bag of flour, spices, sugar, etc. He places them on the counter top and makes sure that the spices are up to code (he can’t resist opening each spice bottle) to smell. The bonus for me is that little exercise eliminates the time I typically waste running back and forth to the pantry to get items as I need them.

Give them a grown-up task.

If I’m baking an apple pie, I let Will help me cut up the apples, and make a really big deal of it. At first I was terrified of the thought of him holding a knife. But then I realized, if I don’t teach him, who will? So, I set him up with his little Bjorn stool next to the counter so that he is high enough to be productive. I put a cutting board in front of him along with a quarter of an apple and give him a table knife to use. I demonstrate how to chop up the apple and he then follows suit on his own. It doesn’t matter if he makes a dog’s dinner of it – he feels like he’s contributing in a big way. Plus, it keeps him quiet and out of my hair for at least five to ten minutes! I always make a big deal out of including his bits into the mix.

Throw on an apron for good measure.

Kids love costumes and getting in character. Give them an apron and ask them to be your main chef. If you have a chef’s cap, all the better! You might find that they’ll take their duties more seriously if they are in character.

Let them do the mixing.

What kid doesn’t like turning on the electric mixer and going to town? Taking charge of the grown-up device with you standing by to help if needed is empowering and f-u-n.

Give them a few items to decorate if you can.

Whether you’re making blueberry muffins or gingerbread cookies – everything is more fun with a little flair. Give your littler helper permission to make the final product her own by adding a bit of flourish.

Give Back To Ovarian Cancer Research:

Take a minute to give back. Go to Kelly Ripa’s Cake Off For A Cause http://www.kelly-confidential.com/rd/0003/ from February 10th to the 19th. Why? Because Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for every vote cast in the Cake Off. You will also get great tips on baking from Kelly and the Cake Boss himself. And don’t forget to enter to win yourself an Electrolux Induction Range