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Baking with Children: Double Chocolate Muffins

July 19, 2008

I love baking.  I love sharing things I love with my children.  Not too far a leap to loving baking with my children.  One recent afternoon my son had a friend over and we headed to the kitchen to do those things I love.  My son loves chocolate.  That lead us to this recipe from Linda Collister’s, Cooking with Kids for Double Chocolate Muffins.  The recipe was from her aptly named section in the book, “baking afternoon”.

I got the boys suited up into aprons and away we went, mixing, stirring, cracking… and of course spilling.  We made it through with only the barest of messes (one egg did miss the bowl completely but a quick swipe, a new egg, and we were back in business.   30 minutes later- cooling muffins.  The interesting thing is that I think they enjoyed the process of baking more than those muffins.  By the time they had come out of the oven they were onto another activity— but momma enjoyed them!

Here are a few tips when baking with children.  The thing to always keep in mind is that baking with children will be a little bit messy.  But there are some things you can do to minimize the mess and mishaps.

1.  Have them crack eggs in a small separate bowl so if shell goes in with it all is not lost!  I picked up this little trick from one of my favorite children’s cookbooks, Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson.

2. Use nice large bowls.  It helps when they pour in too quickly (slosh), too much at one time (large puff of flour in the air), or stir with the might of mighty mouse (flinging unincorporated flour or, even better, bits of batter, throughout the kitchen).  It doesn’t solve the mess, but it does minimize it.

3.  Read through the recipe before you invite them in the kitchen.  Make sure you have all the ingredients and prepare what you can.  

3a.  Be sure that if you are baking with more than one child that the recipe has more than one egg to crack.  This is the highlight of baking for most children.  You can also check to see if there might be a compensating step, but cracking the egg is hard to beat.  To ensure equal egg breaking consider making scrambled eggs after or instead.  All will be happy.

4.  Choose a recipe that will be done today.  Preferable within an hour.  Patience is not common in children, especially when it comes to eating dessert.

Happy Baking with your children!

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