Last week was particularly stormy, even for us Northerners. Huge dumps of snow caused my husband to be stranded for an extra day in Toronto and gave two snow days to my kindergartner, Noah. My list of priorities quickly changed at that turn of events.
Of course, the boys and I spent the better part of both days baking up a storm of our own; our time in the kitchen was interspersed with bursts of play in the snowdrifts and lengthy story times. We may have had a few non-suppers as well. Why, with the man of the house away, what better excuse not to cook a real dinner?
A season for kids in the kitchen
Although we often get outside for a snow picnic or sledding expedition, the majority of play in February is indoors. By now, puzzles are getting worn, books read and reread, and just today my eldest sighed heavily and said “I wish it was another season, like spring”. Like most of us, he’s feeling the winter blahs. I think another cooking lesson is in order for this week!
Winter is the ideal season to get kids cooking alongside you in the kitchen. While summer is spent playing outdoors from morning ’til night, the cold weather practically demands you assemble together at the stove and bake up something to warm you from head to toe. Even if your climate is not as cold as it is outside my door, the routine of the winter months makes incorporating a family baking session into the week easier than in the scattered days of summer.
On Wednesday we’ll take a closer look at what to expect when you bake with children, and provide helpful steps to make it enjoyable for everyone. For now, I suggest you brush up on basic kitchen safety and knife skills for children, then make a date with your children for a fabulous baking activity!
Tip: Does your child have a winter birthday? Consider a cooking/baking themed birthday party and inspire kids of all ages to get in the kitchen. Head HERE for a complete guide with tips, links and a suggested timeline.
Recipe: Baked Apple-Gingerbread Pancake
Since our favorite foods for a snow day include both pancakes and gingerbread, I decided to combine then in one perfect dish. We enjoyed it immensely and I knew I had to share it with you!
It’s a great dish for making together, and my five-year-old was able to complete most of the steps with my close supervision.
- 1 medium apple
- 4 Tablespoons organic whole cane sugar (why? head here) or brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup milk, at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons molasses
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of salt
*Start with all ingredients at room temperature*. This helps the pancake to ‘puff’ without any leavening.
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly butter a non-stick ovenproof skillet (I love the Scanpan CTX Fry Pan) or a Pyrex pie pan.
2. Peel the apple, then quarter and chop into chunks. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 2 Tablespoons of the whole cane sugar and cinnamon.
3. Pour apples into the pan and spread them around the bottom. Place pan in preheated oven and set timer for five minutes. Meanwhile, make your batter.
4. In a blender, combine 2 Tablespoons sugar, eggs, milk, molasses, flour, salt, and ground ginger. Blend for about one minute until smooth.
5. Using oven mitts, open the oven and carefully slide the rack out partially until the pan of baking apples are accessible. Pour the batter from the blender into the pan, slide the rack back in and close the oven door.
6. Bake for about 25 minutes until puffed and golden.
To Serve: Slide pancake onto a large cutting board. Dust with powdered sugar, slice into wedges and serve.
Do your kids show interest in the kitchen?