With schools closed and the population confined, parents and children are trying to find a way to be entertained without scrolling their phones or watching television.
Baking is a great way to engage kids in the kitchen and get them excited about cooking, as well as being an important life skill.
There’s something deeply satisfying and comforting about taking a cake or cookies you’ve baked from the oven. A bit of comfort we could all use right now.
The sweet aroma of vanilla filling the kitchen will make staying at home a whole lot less boring.
To keep little hands occupied for a while, these recipes are quick, easy, and sure to put smiles on their faces as well as yours.
The recipes are designed to use basic, shelf-stable ingredients like margarine, sugar, and flour, plus other little bits you may have stashed away in your cupboards.
The first recipe, store cupboard cookies — sometimes called kitchen sink cookies — are great for using up any treats or snacks you have on hand, added to a basic cookie dough.
You can use a mix of dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, your favorite cereal or any of your favorite snacks – I’ve even seen people add crisps to the mix!
A good mix of stuff is what you want, just remember to keep the extras to around 150g or the cookies won’t hold together too well.
Have your kids mix it up with a wooden spoon or spatula, add whatever treats they like, and roll them into balls of cookie dough.
Raw dough balls can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days, so you can bake them as needed and enjoy them best, fresh from the oven.
They can even be frozen for up to a month, ready for whenever you’re craving cookies (just give them a little longer in the oven).
The second recipe, the quick “cupcakes”, must be the fastest cake recipe in the world, they cook in a cup of tea in the microwave in less than a minute!
It’s a simple sponge cake to which you can add chocolate chips or dried fruit, or heat up your favorite jam or golden syrup and pour over it once cooked.
Put the cupboard cookies away (main image above)
200g dairy-free margarine
200g caster sugar
3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons golden syrup (or maple syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300 grams gluten-free self-rising flour (or use regular self-rising flour)
100g vegan chocolate chips (or broken pieces of a chocolate bar)
50 grams oats
150g mix of dried fruits, nuts, cereals, etc.
- In a decent sized bowl, beat margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy – about three minutes.
- Add the milk, golden syrup and vanilla extract and beat well.
- Add flour and mix until well blended.
- Then stir in the chocolate, oats and your chosen candies.
- On a large parchment-lined baking sheet, use an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter onto the sheet, leaving plenty of space in between, as the batter will spread while baking. Lightly press the top of the dough, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to three days if you want to keep some to bake in the fridge.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for about 18 minutes. They should be light brown around the edges and golden in the middle.
- Let firm for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Gives two cakes
30g oil (olive or any lightly flavored oil)
30g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
40ml non-dairy milk
90g gluten-free self-rising flour (or use regular self-rising flour)
2 tablespoons your chosen extra, such as vegan chocolate chips, dried fruit, jam, golden syrup
- Grease two tea cups with a little oil.
- In a bowl, mix the oil and sugar for one minute.
- Add vanilla, milk and mix until completely blended.
- Add the flour and mix until you get a smooth paste.
- At this point, you can incorporate chocolate chips or dried fruit if you wish.
- Divide the mixture between the two cups and microwave one at a time for 45 seconds to a minute on high power, or until puffed and springy to the touch.
- Leave to rest for a minute, unmold and at this time garnish with your warm jam or golden syrup if that is the direction you have chosen.
- Serve with custard or dairy-free ice cream if desired.