The Beginner's Guide to Baking With Kids
A kitchen project with your little helpers can be a lot of fun. But, especially when there’s more than one kid, things can snowball out of control fast — as in a blizzard of flour all over your counters! Here’s how to keep things fun and still bake up something you can actually eat.
Tips for Baking with Kids
Go With a Dough
Between the rolling and the fun of working with cookie cutters, any roll-out cookie dough is a hands-down winner for a group project. Have a second, smaller rolling pin on hand for really little kids. Give them their own lump of dough to work on while you roll out the majority of the batch. (They won’t notice that most of the cookies are your handiwork, since playing with dough is so engaging.) Older kids can roll the real dough with some tutelage and plenty of flour on the pin, countertops, and cookie cutter to prevent sticking.
Try Muffins and Quick Breads
Dump-and-stir muffin and quick bread recipes are so simple, they’re likely to go right even if things are a little off. Using mini pans — like mini loaf pans or muffin tins — means that everything will bake quickly for nearly instant gratification. If you have small kids (or a group of them), divvy up tasks based on age appropriateness, or have them take turns. One child can read the recipe (double-check over his or her shoulder), one (age 8 or older) can measure out ingredients, and little ones can dump the ingredients into the bowl and stir (remind them to keep the whisk in contact with the bottom of the bowl to prevent a full-body coating of flour). Younger kids can line muffin tins with paper liners, and older ones can drop in dollops of batter (no overfilling!). Let children customize their own muffins or mini loaves by adding fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips. Use shakers of cinnamon-sugar to add extra sparkle.
Easy Recipes to Bake with Kids
1. Crazy Cake
"When I want chocolate cake, nine times out of ten, this is the cake I make..." —Morena
"I should rename these to the Houdini cookies, with how fast they vanish from my kitchen. Very fluffy and delicious. My daughter just turned one and loves to help make these. She pulls the paper from the butter, peels the bananas, mashes and mixes. It's so fast and easy. Any time we have a couple bananas going brown we mix up these. The recipe originated as my grandmother's banana bread, but one day I was in a rush and didn't want to wait an hour for the bread to bake so I tossed them in as cookies and we all agreed it came out better this way." —Tiffany Hawkey
"An easy way to make the favorite treat from the fair. You can substitute cocktail wieners for hot dogs." —TINA3031
"My grandson LOVES Snickerdoodle Cookies. He asked me if I could bake him Snickerdoodle Cupcakes for Christmas. I found this recipe and thought I'd give it a try. I substituted butter for the shortening and increased the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons. He gave it a THUMBS UP! So, I will make it again..." —Candice
"Basic and easy, and very versatile. Layer with white or chocolate frosting, strawberries and whipped cream, etc. Make sure your baking powder is gluten-free." —Amy
Baking Tools You Can Buy Online:
Chefaith 2-Pcs Stainless Steel Balloon Whisk; To buy: price varies by seller at Amazon.com
OXO Good Grips Mini Chopper; To buy: price varies by seller at Amazon.com
OXO Good Grips 3-piece Mixing Set; To buy: $27.99 at Amazon.com
Kuhn Rikon KinderKitchen Essential Set; To buy: $29.99 at Amazon.com
This article originally appeared in the February/March 2018 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.