Welcome to Baking With Babies. I am sure you are asking yourself why on Earth you would want to bake with babies! A few months ago, my daughter Kate, who was a year and a half, was falling heavily into the toddler phase. She was bored and easily frustrated, which resulted in some difficult behavior. Like every other toddler ever. Aside from watching tv, the only thing that really seemed to make her happy was watching me cook and clean. She kept insisting “I help” as she’d yank something out of my hands while I cooked, and fling it all over the place. It was incredibly irritating to both of us, as she really wanted to be involved, and I really wanted to be able to cook dinner without also having to vacuum the floor!
At some point, I realized that I was wasting a great opportunity. She really wanted to cook, and so why not let her? The first few attempts were a disaster. Even though I stuck to simple brownie and muffin mixes, there were tears and tantrums. As you’d imagine, she didn’t understand the rules, and would dump the bowls out, run away with the open bag of mix, stick her head in the bowl to lick the batter, etc. But over time with a lot of repetition of the rules and a lot of excessive applauding of good behavior, we have gotten to the point where she is actually fun to cook with!
There are certainly some things that I’ve learned that make this easier. Prepping all of the ingredients in advance, and setting them out in order in individual cups that are easy for her to pour. Using the mixer instead of mixing by hand. Accepting the fact that the counters and floor will need to be cleaned, and that this will take at least twice as long as if I’d done it myself. And most importantly, selecting the right recipes.
That is why I started this blog. After we began having some success baking with mixes, I became concerned with the amount of preservatives in those mixes. We aren’t a calorie counting family, but we do try to eat “real” food. I went online and tried to look up simple recipes for cooking with kids, and found that most of the kid friendly recipes were either more about assembling food (peanut butter on celery with raisins on it) or were based on those same preservative laden mixes.
I wanted to share the recipes that I’ve found that have worked very well, as well as those that don’t. The recipes are rated based on ease of baking with a child, as well as taste (because we are baking primarily for Kate, I am rating taste according to her.)
Please excuse the shoddy photography. I tend to need three hands while supervising the cooking, so the camera on my phone is about as good as we are going to get! Also, please try to ignore dirty faces, tangled hair, and mismatched clothes. She’s a toddler after all, and there is no point in getting dressed up just to make a mess in the kitchen!