Kids in the Kitchen: Cooking Tips for Mini Chefs

Beautifully shot cookbook images of a mom cooking with her child look like a piece of cake (no pun intended). Commercials in which a mom is baking cookies with her kids look like memory-making moments. However, if you’re raising a real child, one who is clumsy, impatient, and hasn’t fully developed his or her fine motor skills (so, essentially, 99% of kids), you know it isn’t always picture perfect with them in the kitchen. In fact, when I bake with my kids, I can become impatient, clumsy, and lose count how many cups of flour I’ve added and have to start over.

With all of those caveats, I set out to find something I could make with my kids that wouldn’t be likely to fail. And after clocking many hours in the kitchen with and without my kids, I have discovered that the best (and least messy recipe) to make with them, at any skill level, is banana bread muffins.

To make my kids feel more involved – as though it’s truly their project and I’m just their sous chef –– I turned our kitchen table into a baking station, so they could sit in their booster seats or on their knees in a chair. That way, we’re in a contained environment and I don’t have to worry about either of them absconding with a cup of flour and decorating the place with it.

The best time to make banana bread muffins (or just bread) is when you have three over-ripe bananas that no one is going to eat. If you go through bananas quickly like my family does, the next time you’re at the store buy extra bananas: one for a homeless person, and three to put in a paper bag on your counter to get super ripe.  A toddler or elementary aged child armed with a big fork will have fun mashing them up.

Needless to say, my kids were very proud of themselves (and I of them), not just because they held focus, but because they had fun. The cooking also boosted their confidence.

Banana Bread Muffins

3 ripe bananas
2 eggs beaten
2 cups of flour
¾ cup of sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. In one bowl, mash the 3 bananas with a fork. Add the eggs into the banana mixture and stir. In a separate bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and incorporate until blended.
  2. To make 12 large muffins, use one large muffin tin and fill with cupcake wrappers. Use a large ice cream scoop and scoop the batter into each cupcake holder. To make mini muffins, line a mini muffin tin with mini cupcake wrappers and use a small ice cream scoop and scoop the batter into each wrapper.
  3. Bake muffins for 15-20 minutes. Use a toothpick to check if the muffins are done. If the toothpick comes out clean, they’re done.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days – if they last that long. You can also store them in the freezer for up to 2 months.

What’s your favorite and yet oh-so-simple recipe you like to make with the kids?

If you have a personal story + recipe  you would like to share, contact us at [email protected]

Tags : confessions   toddlers   muffins   bonding   

No Comments.