My mom has been making these Chewy Chocolate Cookies since I was a child and she even stacked them like a cake and put candles in them one year for my birthday party! Anyone else have an unusual cake for their birthday or celebration?
These cookies are so easy to make, you only need one bowl, but the batter is so delicious you’ll need a lot of self discipline to resist, haha. Oliver, my two and a half year old toddler has made these a few times with me and it made me want to write down a couple of tips that have worked for me when baking with him.
Baking with a toddler (or kids)
Oliver has baked almost every single thing with me during this quarantine. Banana bread, french toast, cookies, cake, brownies and his personal favorite – açaí bowls. Not sure if the last one is considered baking, but wither way, the same tips work for cooking or preparing snacks as well.
He is getting A LOT better with following directions and not sampling the batter until right at the end. Of course it wasn’t easy when we first started baking together when he was one, but now that we have had SO much practice the last 11 weeks (crazy to type that!), he is a pleasure to bake with.
He says everything ingredient is going to be “a quarter cup” and literally cheers me on saying “go mum, go mum” over and over if I mix something in a bowl with the electric mixer. It is the funniest! I didn’t teach him that at all, but he is already my biggest fan.
Toddlers can learn so much like new vocabulary, patience taking turns, following directions, pouring and mixing skills as well as early reading and math skills if you show them numbers and letters in the recipe as they get older.
Tips for baking with toddlers
Be Prepared | Know the recipe well | Expect some mess | Be on the same level | Start slowly and simply | Introduce rules one at a time | Take your time
- BE PREPARED: Have all the ingredients close by but not too close that little hands can get into everything. I now let Oliver (2 1/2 years old) crack eggs, but one at a time into a separate jug so that I can fish out the inevitable shell. Cracking eggs is his favorite apart from tasting the batter at the end.
- KNOW THE RECIPE WELL: Start with a recipe you know well so your focus can be on assisting your toddler.
- EXPECT SOME MESS: Have a wet dishcloth and a dry cloth ready to wipe fingers. Dress in clothes you don’t mind getting oil stains on if you don’t have aprons. I really need to get some aprons!
- BE ON THE SAME LEVEL: I started baking with Oliver when he was 15 months and I put the mixing bowl on his small kids table and he stood. We transitioned to the kitchen helper stool around 17 months. I still have to monitor him closely on the stool as it’s an IKEA hack and he fell out of it once when he was younger.
- START SLOWLY AND SIMPLY: Don’t try to bake a whole cake and do the icing with a toddler the first time. Maybe just let them add and stir the dry ingredients the first time or start with something really simple like pancakes or banana bread. Model whatever it is you want them to do with clear, simple instructions and then you can say “your turn” and give them a chance. Slowly ask them to help for longer as they build up the attention span and motivation to help. Most of the time Oliver holds the measuring cup over the mixing bowl and I pour the flour or oil into the cup and he dumps it into the bowl. He loves to mix, crack eggs and can spoon cookie batter onto the pan. On another note, if they don’t want to help or are “done”, then just keep baking (maybe on their level) and they will be interested in their own time.
- INTRODUCE RULES ONE AT A TIME: Oliver knows that if I use the electric mixer, his hands go on his chest until I’m finished. Toddlers are so quick and they could get their hands hurt in the mixer in a second even if you are watching. Give simple directions and introduce rules one at a time each time you bake. He also knows that he has to ask me before doing something, like “can I open this lid?” or “can I taste this?” as he once put a whole tablespoon of cocoa in his mouth and choked pretty badly. Too fast I tell you. Also, Oliver has nothing to do with the stove or oven at this point. When he helps with french toast, he dunks the bread in the mixture, flips it over and I transfer it to the pan by myself. He just watches from a distance and that’s my personal preference for now.
- TAKE YOUR TIME: If you want to bake with a toddler, don’t be in a rush. Have fun and if they aren’t listening or are “done” then just take them off the stool, and thank them for helping but tell them you are going to finish baking and they can play. Sometimes you might leave your recipe half done while you redirect your kiddo and that’s ok. They will learn after a lot of tries and it will be enjoyable. Trust me. One blogger suggests having toddlers bake their own mix in their own bowl so that you can taste as much as they like without risk of eating raw eggs, and so that you have a toddler-free baked good in the end. Whatever suits you! I have some great egg-free recipes that I started with. I’ll put them below.
Best recipes to start baking with toddlers
- Vegan Banana Oat Pancakes
- Vegan Apple Bran Muffins
- Vegan Lemon Hemp Blueberry Muffins
- Easiest Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Scones
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Sugar Cookies
- Food Babe’s Almond Butter Brownies
Aaaaand…..this Chewy Chocolate Cookie recipe! Here it is below. I have baked it with Oliver twice in this quarantine and it’s turned out really well!
Chewy Chocolate Cookies
- 1 ¼ cup butter softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 cups flour
- ¾ cups cocoa
- 1 tsp bicarb of soda
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and lightly grease a cookie sheet.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an elecrtic mixer.
- Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
- Add dry ingredients and mix well.
- Place small balls of batter onto cookie sheet.
- Bake 8-10 minutes. Don't overbake. They will puff up during backing and then flatten on cooling.
- Cool on a cookie sheet for 1 minute then place on a cookie rack to cool further.
What’s worked for you baking with your kids?
Have any other questions about baking with your toddlers or kids, feel free to comment below or hit reply and I’ll get back to you!
HAPPY BAKING EVERYONE!
Tag me @rebellekitchen so I can see and share your wonderful creations!