BAKING WITH KIDS?
HERE’S WHERE TO START
In the thick of winter, nothing beats a kitchen project with your little helpers. 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. —Lesley Porcelli
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 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.