Sunday, 27 April 2014

Toddler cooking (1)

Doof and I have a new tradition - cooking together at weekends :) I love how excited he gets now when he sees me starting to get equipment ready on the table (we have a really small kitchen with tiny work surfaces so I cook with him sitting on the kitchen table - which actually lives in the living room!) and a few times he's even gone to the kitchen and got out his cooking utensils :)

I also love that it is like a creative version of messy play - and where we get to eat the contents afterwards :) some of these recipes we made specifically with Doof's tea or snack time in mind, others we made together but I ate rather than him (like the cookies - waaaay too much sugar for me to let him have them before bed! Lol).

For those of you who are too scared to try, don't be! I'm going to blog all the things we cook together and you can see what did and didn't work...



We started with the most basic thing to make - a ready-made cookie mix that we just had to add water to. For Doof it was just as fun as more complicated recipes though - sometimes simpler might be better (and definitely easier!).

Toddler age: 16 months

Ingredients: packet of Betty Crocker cookie mix, crushed almonds, water, easy-release cake spray

Equipment: plastic mixing bowl, wooden spoon, measuring jug/spoons, baking tray

1. Empty cookie mix into bowl
2. Add crushed nuts and water (amount as directed on cookie mix packet)
3. Mix all well together - we used a spoon to start with and then our hands 
4. Spray the baking tray with easy-release cake spray (or butter it or use piece of baking parchment)
5. Form small round balls of cookie mix on the tray
6. Flatten the top of each cookie
7. Bake in the oven as directed on packet

What did Doof enjoy doing?
- emptying the mix and nuts into the bowl
- stirring the mix with his spoon
- trying to eat the balls of cookie mix
- flattening each cookie ball with his hand

What was Doof not interested in or unable to do?
- he was happy to stick his hands in the mix but was not able to make the balls or roll mix between his hands 
- he also needed help in making sure all the ingredients were really well mixed together

Note - we put the nuts in because we had some in the kitchen and I know D can safely eat them. You could obviously omit them if you want.


Jam tarts & pastry shapes

We started off with the plan to just make jam tarts but had lots of little pastry bits left so improvised and expanded our cooking to include other pastry shapes. These made great little snacks for D over the next few days. Be warned though - puff pastry = very flaky = have your Hoover ready for the crumb carnage  that will undoubtedly happen!

Toddler age: 17 months

Ingredients: pack of jusrol puff pastry, jam (we used St Dalfour as it has no added sugar), cake spray, sprinkles

Equipment: circular pastry cutter, assortment of animal pastry cutters, baking sheet, cake tray, teaspoon

1. Put a few teaspoons of jam into a small dish and stir it until it is runny
2. Open up pastry roll (if you keep it on the blue sheet it comes wrapped in then you don't need to even sprinkle flour on your work surface)
3. Put a circular pastry cutter that is larger than your cake tray holes and use this to cut out the tart bases
4. Spray the cake tray with easy-release cake spray (or butter each compartment)
5. Insert each pastry circle into a hole and gently poke it down so it fills the whole well and sides
6. Spoon a small amount of jam into each pastry-filled well (be careful not to overfill - as this is puff pastry it will expand a lot in size during cooking
7. Use pastry cutters to cut out shapes/animals from remaining pastry
8. Place on a pre-sprayed/buttered baking tray
9. Decorate with either a small smearing of jam, some sprinkles or any other edible decorations you have
10. Bake both in the oven - our shapes took about 8 mins (fan 160)  and tarts about 12 mins

What did Doof enjoy doing?
- stirring the jam
- putting the pastry circles in the cake tray
- spooning in the jam
- moving the pastry shapes to the baking tray
- spreading jam on the shapes
- adding sprinkles

What was Doof not interested in or unable to do?
- he wasn't very interested in using the pastry cutters although he did make a half-hearted effort - I think it was because he didn't understand how firmly you need to press to actually cut a shape out and he is in that independent stage where he doesn't want help!


Puff pastry pizza

We made this about an hour before tea time which meant D could have warm pizza for tea :)

Toddler age: 17 months

Ingredients: pack of jusrol puff pastry, tomato passata, grated cheese, a pepper, sweetcorn

Equipment: large pastry cutter, silver foil, child-friendly knife, teaspoon, baking tray

1. Slice up quarter of a pepper into long strips and grate some cheese
2. Open up pastry roll (if you keep it on the blue sheet it comes wrapped in then you don't need to even sprinkle flour on your work surface)
3. Cut out pizza bases using whatever shape cutters you have
4. Place pastry bases on silver foil covered baking tray
5. Using blunt knife cut pepper into small chunks
6. Add passata to each base
7. Sprinkle on cheese, sweetcorn, pepper chunks and any other toppings you have
8. Bake in oven until pastry has puffed and cheese melted (we did fan oven 160 for 12-15 minutes)

What did Doof enjoy doing?
- cutting the pepper strips into chunks
- dolloping and spreading the passata
- scattering the cheese and other topping

What was Doof not interested in or unable to do?
- I think he is too young to grate cheese so I didn't let him do that
- he wasn't very interested in using the pastry cutters, although he did enjoy poking the pastry sheet with his fingers!


I hope you have fun if you try making any of these :) I have a few more ideas lined up for the next few weeks so look out for "Toddler Cooking (2)" next month. 

Thank you so much to all the Twitter mummies who suggested recipes and if you have any other cooking tips or recipe ideas then I'd love to hear them and Doof would love to try cooking them :)