With restaurants being an uncertainty, we bet you’ve been spending more time in the kitchen this year, baking, roasting, and sautéing your way to heavenly home-cooked meals. With the holidays fast approaching, the kitchen is going to see even more action. And nothing says “celebration” like a sweet treat, fresh out of the oven!
Sure, you could do the usual and keep the kids busy and out of the way while you whip up your famous, delicious cookie recipe. Or—hear us out—you could do the unconventional and have your kids help!
Let’s explore how you can get the little ones to help out and feel like kitchen scientists in the process!
Finding a Recipe
To be fair, not all of us have a famous family recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. But don’t worry, we know where you can find one: The internet!
If your kids are anything like ours, they can hardly stay away from screens. Smart phones, tablets, and laptops may seem like intruders in the kitchen, but with this quick list of recipe-finding apps, you’ll never cook without one again.
If you’re okay with letting your child browse the internet, these family-friendly mobile apps are the perfect way to have them help. Just let them scroll through a few cookie recipes and pick one or two that sound doable. (And don’t worry, these are all free apps.)
- Tasty is not only full of mouth-watering recipes, but it’s also user-friendly. There’s even a section for quarantine cooking!
- BBC Good Food has a section labeled “baking activities for kids.” Need we say more?
- Food Network Kitchen is an easy-to-follow source of yummy recipes!
These three apps only scratch the surface of the places online that serve up free, scrumptious recipes for anything from breakfast to midnight snacks. See what’s out there and get cooking!
Measure (But Check it Twice)
Every recipe calls for a lot of measuring. Butter, flour, sugar, chocolate chips—these ingredients require precise measurements to get things just right.
With close supervision and a steady guiding hand, letting your kid scoop out the flour with a measuring cup goes a long way toward a feeling of involvement.
If you want to truly inspire them, explaining what each ingredient adds to the baking process and to the final cookie product will not only help them understand just how much they’re contributing, it may also spark the flame of creativity and plant the baking bug!
Your child may be a pinch too young to handle the hefty responsibility of measuring, but that’s okay. Simply allowing them to dump the pre-measured ingredients into a bowl is an acceptable alternative.
However you choose to let them help with this stage of the process, it’s sure to put a smile on their face—and maybe some flour on their tiny apron … and the counter … and the floor, but only a little.
Whisk, Stir, Mix
There comes a time in every cookie recipe where the ingredients need to mix, mingle, and meld together.
Hand over a spoon or a whisk and let your kid do the stirring! And remember: spills happen. That’s why we have the final step below.
This step is pretty easy to accomplish, so we won’t talk about it much. No need to convince us—or your kids, we’re sure—to taste the cookie dough before it’s baking time. Just make sure to use a clean spoon or finger.
Turn up (or Down) the Heat
Preheat that oven! If you’re using a conventional oven, you’ll likely want to set the temperature at 350-375 degrees. But if you’re baking in a convection or true convection oven, you’ll want to adjust those times.
Convection ovens give a faster, more thorough cook to whatever you toss in, so you’ll want to dial the temp back by 25 degrees and bake the cookies for the usual time.
Have your child don their thinking cap and help you calculate the temperature conversions.
The Final Step
There is one final step that your child can help you with, and it’s perhaps the most valuable lesson of the entire process. Remember that flour they may or may not have spilled on the floor? Time to grab a broom and get to cleaning!
The final step in every cook’s process is cleaning up the aftermath. While some like to clean as they go—and we applauded you for that—we prefer to get to the cookies as fast as possible, so we save the cleaning for the end.
Keeping a tidy kitchen is lesson that can be applied to almost all aspects of life, from bedrooms to bathrooms. While the cookies bake, direct your child on the best practices for a spotless counter, and squeaky-clean floor, and a smudge-free kitchen.
Even the perfect cookie recipe needs an oven in which to bake. That’s where we come in! This holiday season, let us be a part of the celebration by giving us a call or stopping by today. Our experts are more than happy to assist you in finding the range or wall oven that will make all of your baking and roasting taste and look like a pro was behind the apron the whole time. Even if that pro is only 3’2”.