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5 Failsafe Recipes to Cook with Kids

Of course I’m fibbing a little here, no recipe is *truly* failsafe when it comes to cooking with kids. However as long as you accept the inevitable mess (flour over every surface, crunchy sugar on the floor and sticky fingerprints which you’ll be finding for months) these recipes are darn good for cooking with your little darlings.


Recipe 1. Gingerbread Men

Never underestimate the allure of a big box of different shaped cookie cutters. The biscuit mix takes less than 5 minutes to whip up in a mixer and any bits you don’t use can then be popped into a plastic bag and frozen until you next want to make some.

  • 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g/4&frac12;oz butter
  • 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm;in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.

Decorate with icing and raisins, sprinkles or sweets. Source

Recipe 2. Cupcakes

If you don’t fancy the enormous mess which results after combining children with cake mixture you can make the cakes ahead of time and just let the kids go crazy with the decorating, they’ll be just as happy! I use the Hummingbird Cafe recipe for vanilla cupcakes:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • Half a tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • Quarter of a tsp vanilla extract

You will need a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
  3. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.
  5. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. When the cupcakes are cold, add icing and whatever decoration you fancy.

Recipe 3. Pizza

Don’t be fooled into thinking that kids need to make something sweet to enjoy cooking. Let them make their own pizza and you’ll be sure they’ll eat all their dinner as well as having fun!

  • Ready made pizza bases
  • Tomato pasta sauce
  • Grated cheese
  • Any toppings you fancy: mushrooms, ham, sweetcorn, peppers, chicken (the list is pretty much endless)

Recipe 4: Pancakes

This is the easiest thing in the world if you use a bottle of dry pancake mix. Kids love to do the shaking, and while you’re doing the actual hot cooking part, the kids can be in charge of fillings. Our favourites are Nutella, grated cheese and lemon juice with sugar but you can put pretty much fill a pancake with anything. Let your child be a kitchen explorer and rummage around in your cupboards to find something they fancy trying (cornflake pancake with chocolate sprinkles anyone?).

Recipe 5: Pitza

No, that wasn’t a spelling mistake. Pitza is the proud creation of my 7 year old and it’s basically a pizza made inside a pitta bread – hence pit-za (he was very pleased with himself for coming up with that name). 

It’s super simple to make, just grate some cheese (kids love grating cheese) and get some tomato pasta sauce. 

Cut a pitta bread in half and open up each half to be a pocket. Add a spoonful of sauce and spread it around inside, add in some cheese (all this can be done by the kids using a blunt knife and some patience) and then you (emphasis on the YOU) pop it into the toaster (with the open part of the pocket facing up of course). 

20 seconds later you have piping hot pitza filled with melty cheese and happy kids…

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