Monday, February 22, 2010

How To - Baking With Toddlers

This is sort of a combination post. It is both a how to and a post for my MMmmm Good Mondays series. A few weeks ago I had a friend asked me how I was able to bake like I do with the help of a toddler. So last week when Wednesday and I made Whole Wheat Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins I took some process pictures to share with you. You'll have to forgive the quality of the photos, my kitchen gets really poor light so I am playing with the exposure levels some were over exposed and so I had to touch them up. On to the how to though. Before i go on to the instructions though, I would like to point out the obvious. Do not choose a super complicated recipe that takes precise times and measurements and methods like something from Martha Stewart Cupcakes (Heck, I still have trouble with her icing recipes!)instead, pick simple recipes like oatmeal muffins or chocolate chip cookies. That way you and your babe get the most enjoyment out of the exercise from start to finish. Ok, now on to the instructions.

Baking With Toddlers
First things first. Measure everything (And I mean everything) before hand. Toddlers have little patience for you while you level of your quarter teaspoons of baking soda. I advise you to measure all big measurements like flour and milk into their own cups and combine the smaller measurements like baking powder and salt in single cups. Crack and fork beat any eggs that are called for in the recipe too. Toddlers love eggs but have yet to acquire the fine motor skills of not getting shell pieces in the goop.

Baking With Toddlers
Let them pour everything. So long as it is all pre-measured, you need only direct now. They can do just about everything all by themselves.

Baking With Toddlers
They are pretty good at stirring but you might have to take the wheel here just for good measure. Notice the tongue sticking out? That makes the whisk work better.

Baking With Toddlers
Now here is tip, one I learned while making these very muffins. If you have to do things in two separate bowls like mix dry with dry and wet with wet, you need to put the current bowl in front of them. It is not enough to say "In THAT bowl!". By that bowl I mean the clear glass one at the end of the counter in the photo. Thankfully, these were not an uber exact recipe and it was okay that the eggs went in with the oatmeal.

Now, we made mini muffins and as a rule I do not use muffin cups with mini muffins, it is one of the reasons I love them so much. That and come on...they're MINI! But, if you choose to make big muffins or cupcakes and do opt for paper cups, you would let your little one put each one in the tray. This was the first thing I would let Wednesday do when I baked. I would separate those tricky little cups and she would put them in. If she crushed them out of excitement, I would just replace it when she was not looking.

I do not advise letting little ones fill the cups though, this is messy even for an adult with leverage over the tray.

Baking With Toddlers
While you wait for your muffins/cookies/cupcakes etc. to bake, eat bowl of the filling. In this case we ate a bowl of frozen blueberries. Wednesday has loved frozen blueberries since she was a babe. And she still makes just as much mess while eating them.

Baking With Toddlers
Enjoy the fruits of your labours. Who doesn't love some mini muffys? I made the mistake of keeping these close to the counter edge where she could just grab one at will. But they were uber healthy so I was happy she liked them.

Blueberry Oatmeal Whole Wheat Muffin
Oh yeah, this is how they turned out. Not bad for a two year old eh? She has skills. I let her help me whenever I can. And more importantly I am learning when is and isn't a good time for her to help. By knowing both of our limitations we are able to have much more fun together when we do bake.

I would like to thank Joy the Baker for the very delicious Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffin recipe. They were awesome. Especially with a cinnamon sugar sprinkle that I put on all of my muffins.


Linked to Whatever Goes Wednesday @ Someday Crafts


Jamee said...

Thanks for this post- i often say to myself they are too young for this and that and they miss out because i don't even try. I will have them help me make something with me this week.

Rosemary said...

What a delightful post. Messy face and fingers brought a smile .

Donna said...

Cute post Melissa! She is so so darling and I love that you let her help. One day she will grow up and she'll be cooking for you!

The mess is always worth the memories. Such beautiful pictures as usual!