Cooking with kids isn’t exactly fun. In fact, chances are you recoiled hearing the words “Oooh, I want to help!” when preparing a treat. We’ve all been there – the thought of sticky little fingers touching every inch of the kitchen sending us into an instant panic attack. But honestly, it’s totally worth it. And these to-die-for baking recipes for kids are literal proof of that in pudding. If a less than perfect presentation or the (guaranteed) messy consequences are the only things standing between you and a plate of fudgy brownies, just remember that taste still won. The cleanse can wait…until the sweet tooth-induced coma has passed and you have a nice cocktail in your hand.
Allyson Reedy, mother of two and author of the new baking cookbook 50 things to cook before you die, assures us all that “On the grand scale of chess, those involving sugar, butter, and chocolate are pretty cheap.” As a self-proclaimed “baking killer,” Reedy also readily admits her failings in the kitchen — like that time she tripled the butter in a cupcake recipe right before a photo shoot. Luckily for her, her 9-year-old daughter was by her side to remind her that just trying is an accomplishment in itself. Awww. And luckily for the rest of us, she’s managed to create her collection of the best desserts which she says she’s “cheated amazing bakers like Christina Tosi, Joanne Chang, Duff Goldman and Dominique Ansel, and other amazing bakers and less known for they leave [her] use for this book.”
Whether you decide to try some of these fun baking recipes for kids to spend some serious one-on-one time with your kids, for teachable times, to try and satisfy your insatiable sugar cravings, or, like Reedy, to keep the kids busy and get through a divorce, we promise it’s a regret you won’t have before you die.
PS: Be sure to pick up the book so you don’t miss the booze-filled adult cupcake recipe.
Funfetti Cookies by Kate Wood, Wood & Spoon
These colorful cookies are what Reedy calls “butter nostalgia” and only take about 20 minutes from start to mouth. And they might also contain a little soothing magic for the kids! They worked for Reedy anyway – one day she ended her child’s antics that ‘lead to happy eating, as sugar and rainbow sprinkles are known to have anger-busting properties’ . Find the complete recipe for Funfetti cookies here.
Robin Wehl Martin’s Mackles’mores, Hello Robin Cookies
These s’more-inspired cookies are ideal for those days when building a campfire just isn’t in the cards. All the usual s’more stars come together in this delicious, fudgy cookie topped with a square of graham crackers. It’s a bit like camping, only tastier and much easier! Find the full Mackles’mores recipe here.
Fluffy Brownies by Tessa Arias, Managing the Heat
Remember that plate of fudgy brownies we talked about earlier? Yeah. These are the brownies we were talking about. They are essential for any chocolate craving and only require one bowl. And because Arias is pretty much the brownie expert, with around 40 brownie recipes to her name, there’s really no reason to look beyond that. Find the full recipe for fluffy brownies here.
Biscoff White Chocolate Blondies by Anna Wierzbinska, Anna Banana
Who can’t follow a baking recipe that cuts down on time and effort using prepackaged ingredients? And if you and your kids have never had Biscoff cookies before, this is a great way to try them. Their caramel and spice profile pairs perfectly with the white blondie batter and because they’re layered in a baking dish, they’re an easy recipe for kids to put together. Find the complete recipe for Biscoff white chocolate blondies here.
Strawberry Pies by Tracy Wilk, #BakeItForward
The story behind this recipe is sure to add another layer of love to any pie lover’s obsession. Reedy says “These cute little [strawberry] the pies were part of Tracy Wilk’s #BakeItForward movement during the pandemic, where she delivered freshly baked treats to frontline workers in New York City. And don’t worry, the crust is completely mortal proof. Here’s the recipe, which makes six hand pies:
For the dough
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) + 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup ice water
- 2 cups strawberries, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon of water (for the glaze)
- Granulated sugar, to sprinkle on
- Whisk flour, sugar and salt together in a large mixing bowl to combine. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients by hand and stir until the butter is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces.
- Slowly add about half the water. Using a rubber spatula (or your hands), bring the dough together. Adjust the water as needed to get the right consistency. When a handful of dough can be squeezed together and holds its shape, the dough has enough water in it. There will be chunks of butter left in the dough, and the dough should just start to hold together. If it’s sticky, add a little flour. If it is too dry, add a little water.
- Wrap pie crust tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 to 2 hours. The dough can also rest in the fridge overnight.
- For the filling: combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the strawberries start to break down and the mixture starts to thicken, about 8 minutes. Place in a bowl and let cool completely. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Lightly flour a work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll out the pie dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles. Place on prepared cookie sheet.
- Using a pastry brush, create a border of gilding on half of the circles. Place the strawberry filling in the center and cover with the second half of the slices. Pinch the outside to release air bubbles. Using a fork, pinch the edges. Using a paring knife, cut an X in the center of each pie.
- Brush the tops of the hand pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from sheet pan.
Peanut Butter Pie by Kelli Marks, Sweet Love Bakes
Aside from a quick oven appearance, this is super cool cooking. Not really. Once the cocoa cookie crust has cooled, it’s piled high with a fluffy mixture of peanut butter and cream that’s a bit like eating clouds, that’s if we lived in a sweet world. And who doesn’t want to at least pretend to live there? Here’s the recipe, which makes a 10-inch pie:
For the dough
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup Dutch cocoa
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
For the coating
- ¼ cup heavy whipped cream
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate
- 2 cups heavy whipped cream
- 8 ounces of mascarpone
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine butter, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Scrape down sides and add egg; mix until smooth. Add the flour in 2 times.
- Once combined, press into bottom and sides of 10-inch pie pan. (If you only have a 9-inch, don’t use all of the batter; it will be too thick. Use only the amount needed to cover a ¼-inch thickness on the bottom and sides.) Bake in oven for 20 minutes. The sides will be puffy and the bottom will no longer appear shiny. Use a measuring cup to gently press the bottom and sides down. Reserve the crust and let cool.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the dark chocolate and heavy cream and heat for 30 seconds until completely melted. Pour into the bottom of the crust.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Put that aside.
- Still using your stand mixer or hand mixer, combine the mascarpone cheese, peanut butter, salt and vanilla and whisk until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar to the mixture in 3 times. Blend until combined, scraping down the sides if necessary. Fold in the reserved whipped cream by hand.
- Spoon filling into cooled crust and top with chopped peanut butter cups if desired. Let cool 2 hours before serving.