Top tips for baking with little ones

Now I’m not much of a baker. In the past, I made a mean Baileys chocolate cake but since having my girls, it’s all a bit too much effort. Especially as often someone is on a diet, my little sister is Coeliac and the girls are too young to be appreciating such amazingness.

Nowerdays, the only baking I do is with my girls. I see it as an opportunity for messy play but at least at the end of it you should hopefully end up with something yummy to eat (as well as the big mess to tidy).

Here is how I manage it with two littlies ‘helping’. First, lower your expectations. No amazing culinary creation is going to be made here, just start with some fairy cakes or biscuits. I opted for some oaty biscuits from ‘Finger food for babies and toddlers – Jennie Maizels’

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I like to work on a low table as the prospect of toddlers balancing on chairs either side of me is an extra stress I just don’t need. It also means you can move around the space more easily.

Before we start we get out all the ingredients we will be using and have a look at them/talk about what they are. This recipe called for golden syrup which my girls hadn’t tried so we also had a little taste. Surprise surprise, they loved it.

When we are ready to start, I remove anything we won’t be needing right away from arms reach to avoid unnecessary spillage/breakages. Our lovely butter dish, which was a wedding gift, was moved quickly up and only brought back when I was holding it.

Dry ingredients are the best for letting them get involved. Yes it can get a bit messy but they are also much easier to clean up. The girls helped scoop the flour and oats for weighing. I then topped up to the correct amount and added fiddly ingredients like the baking powder and syrup.

When it was all in the bowl, they both took turns stirring. I’ll be honest, hands went in and were licked. Now they knew about the syrup, it was a bit too irresistible. We were going to be the only ones eating them and like I said before, I think of it more as sensory play than baking.

I took over to knead it into a ball and flatted out the dough. The girls then used the cutters to basically create a thousand prints and not one cut out biscuits so I needed to reshape again and show them how to press and cut them out.

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A few more bits ended up in mouths but luckily there was no raw egg so I didn’t mind too much. Finally, they put them onto a baking tray to be cooked. They liked looking through the oven door to watch although nothing exciting was going to happen here.

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They turned out pretty well and I especially liked all the patterns from the girls stamping the dough before cutting. A big thumbs up from the girls too.

Does anyone have any other ideas for making baking with toddlers easier?

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