Looking to make memories with your little ones? Baking cake, bread, and cookies is a great way to encourage both creativity and logical thinking.
Baking is one of the easiest and most fun ways to get kids into the kitchen. But before you can create both sweet treats and sweet memories together, stock your pantry with the baking essentials listed here, and check out our tried-and-true tips for making the experience a positive one for younger and older bakers alike.
Since kids have short attention spans, prepare as much as you can ahead of time. When making snickerdoodle cookies, for example, cover the counters with wax paper, get out the cookie cutters, and have ingredients like flour, sugar, and Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon ready to measure on the counter before calling kiddos into the kitchen.
No cookie cutters? No worries. Use the rim of a water glass to cut cookie or biscuit dough—it’s easy for kids to hold onto.
Outfit your kitchen with tools that help your children participate, like a step stool to get them to kitchen island height; kid-size spatulas, whisks, and rolling pins, as well as chef’s aprons to keep clothes mess-free. And for pre-readers and visual kids, set up the tablet in the kitchen to watch the recipe video before you start.
Assign specific tasks (and titles) to each child before you start. Not only can this help curtail any would-be arguments, but it helps kids feel less overwhelmed by the whole process. Plus, it’s fun! Some suggestions: Call the child you tasked with sifting “Sergeant Sifter.” The one who’s safely crushing nuts with an apple corer? She’s The Crusher. Then, of course, there’s the Mix Master.
Go ahead and let older kids use the electric mixer—with guidance. To shield the splatter, poke the beaters’ ends through the middle of a paper plate before attaching to the mixer.
Because accuracy is critical to baking success, show your children how to properly measure both wet and dry ingredients. When your recipe calls for, say, 1 cup of sugar, let your kid level off the top using a butter knife. When readying wet ingredients, use a clear measuring cup with spout (for easy pouring), so that kids can get an eye-level view of the measurement.
When a recipe calls for Maple Grove Farms Pure Maple Syrup, which adds a pop of flavor to everything from muffins and cinnamon rolls to blondies, avoid sticky spills by measuring the syrup out for the kids before having them incorporate it into the recipe. Adding eggs? Let older kids take a crack at cracking them, but provide a separate bowl to make any shell removal easy. Finally, keep little fingers out of the batter by setting up tasting bowls of items like chocolate chips. This way, kids can snack without ingesting raw ingredients.
Sometimes baking can be as easy as raiding the fruit bowl. Split some bananas, drizzle with Maple Grove Farms Pure Maple Syrup, and top with Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, and Ground Nutmeg. Bake at 375°F for 10 to 15 minutes, and you’ve got the easiest dessert ever.
Children do not want to spend hours in the kitchen, so consider spacing out the steps when you bake. With cookies, for instance, make the dough together in the morning, roll out and bake them in the afternoon, and have the kids add the final touches right after dinner so the entire family can enjoy a home-baked dessert!
With older kids, turn doubling the recipe into a yummy math lesson. For instance, you can’t simply add twice as much Clabber Girl Baking Soda or Baking Powder to a recipe. Instead, you’ll need to add about 1½ teaspoons baking powder per cup of all-purpose flour or 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup of flour. See if your budding baker (and mathematician!) can figure out the right amount.
If your Clabber Girl Baking Powder has been open for more than six months, test its leavening power before baking by adding a small amount to warm water. If it fizzes, the baking powder is good to use. Ideally, you should replace it every six months for guaranteed leavening.
It’s 100 percent okay to introduce your kids to baking by way of decorating. After all, it’s the most creative part! Simply squirt and mix Dec-A-Cake Food Coloring into bowls of frosting, whipped cream, or shredded coconut and give each froster a butter knife. Once the baked goods are frosted, set out small bowls of candy, cut fruit, and sprinkles, such as Dec-A-Cake Confetti Sprinkles—and let the decorating games begin!
Writing on cakes takes practice. To make it less difficult for small hands, refrigerate your buttercream-frosted cake before writing with Dec-A-Cake Writing Gel. Then you can scrape off any lettering mistakes.