Are your kids ready to bake? Cindy Mushet‘s Baking Kids Love (McMeel 2009) is just the kind of cookbook to get if you aren’t very handy in the kitchen and kids want to try their hands at dessert. It is heavy on information and technique, so that kids are safe and confident. The recipes range from easy to challenging, with the emphasis on having fun and making something very good to eat. Even though it was written with Sur La Table, it features Cindy’s daughter Bella, and photographs of her and other kids baking are sprinkled throughout the book. Kids like to see kids do what they are going to do. The book and the photographs are colorful and inviting.
The first section starts with ten notes to parents including taking kids grocery shopping, and teaching them how to clean up. The section goes through all the basics, from preparing ingredients to mixing and rolling techniques. There are photographs to show how to peel and apple and chop it safely. There are notes from Bella to readers in boxes on many of the recipes, but they sound a bit over-edited as if an adult had written them.
Most kids will sail through the cookie chapter and then find the Pies, Tarts, and Fruit Desserts more challenging. There are step-by-step instruction on making an Easy Pie Dough (p. 46-7) with helpful instructions:
Pretend the circle is a clock face, with 12 o’clock at the top. Turn the dough 2 hours to 2 o’clock, and then roll up and back again twice. When you turn the dough, it should move easily. If it doesn’t, gently lift the stuck area, loosening it with a small icing spatula, and sprinkle some more flour underneath. (p. 47)
If you don’t happen to have an adult handy to show you how to roll out dough, these instructions should get you through.
The book includes a basic recipe for bread dough, The Amazing Shape-Changing Bread (pp. 96-98) and then let kids make other recipes out of it like Soft and Sweet Cinnamon Rolls (p. 101) or Cheese-y Pizza (p. 103). They’ll have fun making pretzels and other shapes until they really feel like there ready for an adult bread-making book.
They won’t be introduced to anything very exotic or ethnic in Baking Kids Love – this is the kind of book to pull down when there is a bake sale and the kids are ready to make their own cupcakes and other American treats. Get this book for kids if they are ready to do more on their own in the kitchen and feel like reading a book is the best way to sweet success.