I must have been about 7 or 8 and I had entered an IXL (the jam) colouring competition and won myself a children’s cookbook. I was pretty excited and I felt really grown up that I had my own cookbook. I started going through the recipes and deciding what to make – the first thing I baked was jam drops. To this day, I still follow that easy recipe! My mum was incredibly supportive with my creativity, and understood my need to be independent. With 2 brothers who both have a weakness for sweets, I was always busy (and happily) baking.
For 2 years I lived in a place with a terrible oven and to avoid the constant disappointment of burning the base and uncooked centres of cakes I stopped baking and relied on no bake recipes. Now that I have a decent oven again, I am making up for lost time and baking almost every second day. Personally I find cooking an enjoyable experience.
Benefits of cooking with kids
As much as any activity can be fun, what I always promote is connections. Relationship building is the most important. With cooking, you’re not just making food, you are teaching science in action; helping to lay down basic math, reading and time-telling skills; encouraging healthy food choices; building confidence and creativity; enhancing communication and deepening connections with your child. Indeed, cooking with little ones is nothing short of awesome.
Cooking with kids gives you the chance to introduce them to fresh, healthy food and interesting ways of cooking it. It can be lots of fun, and it’s also a way of spending more time with your children.
There are also all sorts of things your child can learn while helping you to cook, including:
- what different foods look and feel like
- where foods come from
- how to get food ready for cooking – for example, washing and peeling vegies
- what new words mean – for example, whisk, peel, egg beater, grater
- how to understand measuring and maths concepts – for example, half, one teaspoon, 30 minutes
- how to follow instructions in a recipe and do things step by step
- how to wait patiently for that cake to rise!
This recipe is incredibly easy (not healthy 🙂 but we can indulge once in a while) and should make about 25-30 cookies.
- 125g butter
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cup self-raising flour
- small amount extra plain flour
- some of your favourite jam(s)
Preheat oven to 180C (moderate heat). Line baking trays with baking paper.