Baking

How to Cook With Your Kids & Keep Your Cool!

How to Cook With Kids

One of the most difficult things I have ever done is to make cupcakes with my four year-old on TV (shown in the clip below). Cooking and baking in the kitchen with your kids can get really hectic on a normal day. Now throw in the need to keep your cool as a show host and well, let’s just say it was kind of stressful, but the result was quite comedic and this ended up as one of my favourite segments of the show, City Mom on Rogers TV.

KEEPING YOUR COOL

In order to be prepared for baking and taping I had to have everything ready ahead of time. I measured all the ingredients ahead of time and placed them in order to be ready to dump into the bowl.

This segment is less than five minutes long, but we all know it takes longer than that to make cupcakes. Not only were we limited on time, we had no room for error.  Another thing we all know, that when cooking with kids, it’s not likely that you’ll make it out error-free.

All was not lost, as I said, it provided a humourous episode and some good blooper shots, but it also gave me insight on how to make things work in the kitchen more efficiently when working with Little S.

MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU

If your children are like my daughter, they love to help you in the kitchen. Giving children real tasks and allowing them to be part of the adult world builds confidence and independence, but it can get stressful!

Once in a while I make a “test” recipe so that the finished product is not reliant on perfection. But when I’m making something that I want to turn out properly or when I have limited time, little hands can sometimes get in the way. I never have the heart to turn Little S down when she asks to be included.

This is where my experience on the show comes in handy and here is how you can make it work for you and your family.

TEN STEPS TO A STRESS-FREE KITCHEN

Before you call the kids into the kitchen to help you, do a little prep work:

  1. Read through your recipe so that you know exactly what you need and how the timing will work.
  2. Measure out all of the ingredients two times and place each into a separate bowl or container.
  3. Arrange the bowls of ingredients into two workstations, side-by-side.
  4. Organize all the measuring cups, spoons, spatulas etc. that you will need for creating your recipe so that everything is within reach.
  5. Now it’s time to invite your kids into the kitchen to work with you.
  6. Ask your kids to follow along with you. Perform the actions according to the recipe and have your kids do the same.
  7. Allow older children to work small appliance like the mixer.
  8. Trust even the younger kids with delicate tasks like cracking eggs. They’ve got their own batch after all so you can bypass the shells in your own batch.
  9. Have the kids set the oven temp and timer. This is a hit especially if your oven makes sounds.
  10. Have fun!

What tips do you have to make working in the kitchen with your kids easier and stress-free? What are your favourite recipes to make together?

 City Mom

Faking Your Holiday Baking

Photo from presidentschoice.ca

Faking Your Holiday Baking 

Christmas shopping, gift wrapping and tree decorating; these are all a must for the holiday season, but what about Christmas baking?  Who has the time on top of all this to make dozens of happy-looking gingerbread men and jolly old shortbread snowmen?  

Personally, as much as I love to bake, it moves to the bottom of my list during the holidays.  So today I am sharing my cheat notes with you because I assume you’re in the same boat. If you’re like me, you put a small amount of pressure on yourself to produce something that can be classified as Christmas baking. 

 

 

Enter President’s Choice Shortbread Cookie Mix.  I picked up a box at my local grocery store and whipped up a batch of cookies in no time.  All you need to have on hand is a cup and a quarter of unsalted butter.  Mix the two together and voila…a batch of shortbread cookies. 

I made mine following the package directions but you could easily roll out the dough and cut with Christmas-shaped cookies cutters.  Either way, the result is a light, flaky shortbread cookie.  They aren’t the most buttery tasting but definitely on the nice, light side. 

 

I picked up a box on sale for $3 but they usually retail for $3.99.  Also look for the Gingerbread Cookie Mix

 

City Mom

White Chocolate Gingersnaps

Cookie dough balls tossed in sugar coating.

This post is dedicated to my American friends. These tasty, tender cookies are a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving table.  And Christmas? Forget about it…baking list complete!

The combination of ginger, cloves and cinnamon with white chocolate make these soft cookies a spicy-sweet treat that will quickly become a holiday family favourite.

This is an easy recipe to allow even the smallest hands to help with.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 /2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup confectioners’ sugar

Adding molasses to the brown sugar mixture.

DIRECTIONS

  • In a medium bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until blended
  • Beat in the egg, then the molasses
  • Mix the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves
  • Gradually add to the wet mixture and mix well (the dough will be stiff)
  • Stir in white chocolate chips until well mixed
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1.5 hours
  • Combine both sugars in a deep bowl
  • Shape dough into 1 inch balls
  • Toss in sugar mixture
  •  Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray
  • Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes or until set
  • Cool for a few minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. 

White Chocolate Gingersnaps

Yield: 3 dozen

Happy baking & Happy Thanksgiving!

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