Keep your kids busy this summer with these easy baking recipes

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With summer vacation in full swing, kids need to be kept busy with a variety of activities. Baking is all the rage and many kids of all ages are eager to learn more. Although there are many people and institutions offering summer baking classes, it is not always feasible for everyone due to time or cost constraints. The good news is that you can cook with your kids at home, even if you have no prior cooking and baking experience. The internet is full of recipes ranging from very simple to more difficult in terms of time and ingredients. Choose what suits you and let your children’s imagination run wild.

It is important to note [and most mothers know this already]this cooking [or cooking] with kids can be tricky, so it’s good to set some ground rules beforehand. Depending on their age and skills, you can decide whether your children are allowed to use the stove or handle knives [safety knives are a good option for younger kids]. It’s also good to talk to them ahead of time and tell them a few do’s and don’ts about kitchen safety and hygiene, including hand washing and handling hot items with care.

Once you have the basics in place, print out the recipe you are preparing ahead of time and make a list of the tools and ingredients needed. If your child is older, they can help you weigh and measure ingredients and assemble equipment. If they are younger, it may be a good idea to prepare everything in advance for a stress-free cooking experience. Above all, remember to have fun and enjoy your creations, no matter the results, because with baking, as with so many other things in life, practice makes perfect. Here are three super easy recipes to get started:

Keep the kids busy in the kitchen during school holidays and enjoy the results as a treat

Bunches of no-bake cornflakes

Bunches of no-bake cornflakes

56g unsalted butter (cubed)
1 cup peanut butter
1.5 cups mini marshmallows (if you have large ones, just cut them with a pair of scissors)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 pinch of salt
6 cups of cornflakes

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Add marshmallows and stir constantly until melted and mixture is smooth, but do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and salt and gently stir in the cornflakes so they don’t break. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop mounds of the mixture and place them on a tray. Let the cookies sit at room temperature for an hour to set (to speed up the process, refrigerate for 20 minutes).

rocky no-bake road

rocky no-bake road

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup peanut butter
3 cups mini marshmallows (or regular size marshmallows cut with scissors)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
½ cup broken cookie pieces (any plain sweet cookie works well)

Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with aluminum foil. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter over low heat until smooth. Add nuts, cookies and marshmallows and mix well to coat. Spread in pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares with a buttered knife and serve immediately.

Sugar cookies

Sugar cookies

226g unsalted butter
1 cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt (omit salt if using salted butter)
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup milk, plus more for brushing cookies
1.5 teaspoons of vanilla essence
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream the butter, sugar and salt with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add egg, milk and vanilla and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix only until just combined. Place the dough on a work surface and gently flatten it with the palm of your hand. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Preheat the oven to 160°C, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out with a rolling pin until ¼ inch thick. Use your favorite shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cookies and carefully place them on an ungreased baking sheet. If you don’t plan to glaze the cookies, you can brush the tops with milk. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges and bottoms of the cookies are just beginning to brown. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Cool cookies completely before storing in airtight containers.

The writer is a professional chef with a pastry degree from Le Cordon Bleu

Originally posted in Dawn, EOS, July 3, 2022

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