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What's the first dessert you remember baking as a child? 

Was it cake from a mix, chocolate chip cookies or blueberry muffins? My first attempt at baking was a cookie I made with a friend in her kitchen. An adult oversaw us and because the cookies were so good, we continued to make them for years. Here are a few pointers to be aware of, especially if you are the one in charge.

5 Tips for Baking with Children

Make sure you have all the ingredients on hand and get them all out so they are ready to be used. They should be clean and small enough for little hands to handle (think small spatula). The fewer the ingredients the better, especially in the beginning. Keep it simple!

Go over the recipe with your child. Let them know that Mom will handle knives and puts food into and out of the oven. This is a good safety lesson! But there are plenty of things kids can do, such as helping you measure, putting the ingredients in a large bowl, stirring the ingredients and, depending on their age, ladling the batter into the muffin tins or cake pan.

Explain that when your food comes out of the oven it is much too hot to touch or taste. Young kids will want to taste right away. Put the cookie sheet out of their reach to prevent burns. For some, these goodies will be just too hard to resist.

Make a recipe that has lots of variations. In other words, one where your child can add raisins today, nuts tomorrow and sprinkles another day. This makes it fun for the baker and he or she has a new dessert each time!

Now let’s talk cleanup. This should be quick and easy as it won’t be the child’s favorite chore. But it is a lesson best learned young. 

The satisfaction your child receives from a job well done will be quite evident. It will be a sign of their independence. And you will be proud watching him or her offer their treats to family and friends. Watch the smiles all around. 

The following recipe I prepared as a child makes meringue cookies, which are light and fluffy. Try this recipe with your little ones! 

Chocolate Kisses Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, grated
  • 1/2 t. vanilla

Directions:
Beat egg whites in a stand mixer using a wire whisk until very stiff. Fold in sugar, chocolate and vanilla. Butter a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Drop the mixture by spoonfuls. Bake in a slow 250-degree oven for about 60 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 65 cookies!

For more cooking tips, visit Sally's Place.

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