Friday, November 30, 2012

Cooking with Kids

It takes a special kind of crazy to want to make something with kids. Fortunately for the Raisin, I'm just that kinda nuts. This morning Thing 1 went to school and Thing 2 had to go see the doctor, leaving Thing 3 (the Raisin) alone with Nanny Cait. We tried going outside, but after a trip to get the paper and check the mailbox, her little lips were blue and she was shivering too hard to even say yeah when I asked if she was ready to go in. (And she was dressed in tights, leggings, fleece pants, wool socks, boots, snow pants, a turtleneck onesie, a sweater, a jacket, mittens and a hat. Poor  kid looked like a pink starfish!)

So in we went, warmed up with a couple of stories under a blanket and then the wiggles struck. The Raisin is not the world's most snuggley child. She's a girl of action, and today she came up with her own plan. Knowing her twin was at the doctor, she told me, "Doodle 'prise make." This, for those of you not fluent in toddler, meant that she wanted to make a surprise for the Doodle. The smile on that girl's face when I asked if she wanted to bake cookies was amazing.

I find it's easiest to bake with kids if everything is pre-measured and set up. I put flour, sugars, butter, etc. in bowls, pulled out the Kitchen-Aid and brought a chair over to the counter. The Raisin asked about each individual ingredient. I let her touch a bit of flour and sugar so she could feel the difference, then taste a grain of sugar and a grain of salt. We talked about safety and why it's important to always bake with a big person- at least until you're old enough to be a big person. Lectures over, we began pouring the ingredients one by one into the mixer. The Raisin is a very careful girl and managed almost everything without spilling. The vanilla extract dripped a bit and I was dusted with a cloud of flour when she turned the mixer on high right after adding 2 cups to the bowl, but other than that there were no casualties.

The tough part, but also an awesome teaching opportunity, comes during the actual baking. I won't let the girls eat the raw cookie dough because of the eggs, so patience plays a HUGE part in this project. Not to mention the fact that the cookies are too hot to eat when they first come out of the oven. The Raisin handled this like a pro. I gave her the timer and sent her into the playroom with the instructions to come and let me know when it dinged. Exactly 10 minutes later she danced her way back into the kitchen to let me know I should take the cookies out. I told her to pick a really long song to sing and then the cookies would be cool enough to taste, so she sat down by my feet and sang Baby Beluga all the way through. Didn't stop once to ask for a cookie! When she was done, I picked her up and let her choose which one she wanted. And what did she do? She picked up a cookie, kissed me on the cheek and asked, "Cait want cookie yes peas?" Nanny Cait was proud!