Monday, November 19, 2012

Baking With Kids

You know, even though I want my children to learn to cook, and even though I love that they want to learn, most of the time I still would rather do it myself.  I'm faster alone and I'm a lot tidier, too.  Having little ones join me in the kitchen is one way to make me totter on the brink of losing my cool.  In other words, I do usually maintain my sanity, but it's not always easy. 

Here are a few of the techniques I employ to make sure that we all enjoy our kitchen time together: 

  • Slow down!  I encourage the kids help when I'm not needing dinner on the table in 20 minutes.  When we have the luxury of time, I am more open to showing them how to crack an egg or measure the oats. 

  • Give the child(ren) a specific job.  For example, I'll mix the dough myself, but ask a child to cut out the biscuits and put them on the pan.  Or...ask a child to man the mixer while I add ingredients.  Or...have someone  set the oven timer after I put the chicken in the oven.

  • Let the child take charge of a box mix recipe.  If I'm cooking or baking alone, I almost always cook from scratch, but I keep a few box mixes in the house for the kids.  The instructions are simple and they're hard to mess up!  

  • And sometimes I simply say, "No, I don't need help right now, but I'll let you lick the beater (or have a bite of dough) when I'm done. No one ever complains about that!


As a special week-of-Thanksgiving treat, I'm sharing one of our family's favorite autumn cookie recipe.  I bet they would make good Christmas cookies, too!

1½ cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2¾  cups flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. cream of tartar
½ t. salt

additional ¼ cup sugar
3 T cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream 1½ cups sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, and beat well.  Add dry ingredients and blend well.  Roll ½ teaspoonfuls of dough in mixture of additional sugar and cinnamon.  Space balls 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes. 


  1. I think the time factor is my biggest tip. When I'm in a hurry, the "helping" is hard to appreciate. Usually, at those times I offer the job of taste testing or give the kids other meal related jobs. Thankfully, my kiddos are still young enough that setting the table and filling the water pitcher are still fun (& often fought over) jobs.

    I like the idea of giving a child complete control over a box mix. There are also lots of "homemade mix" recipes online that can be just as easy, only you would have to write out the ingredients and directions.

  2. Snickerdoodles are one of Tim's favorite cookies!! These look great!


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