For many, fall is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s flannel shirt season, pumpkin season, and tailgating season. Fall also signifies the start of all things sweet and delicious, so if you love a good baking session you might consider the entire season a holiday. After all, what better excuse than a little bit of cold weather to bake a delicious pie or whip up a batch of your world-famous cookies? The only factor that might make this a little better is inviting the kids to help you!
Not only will they get into the spirit of the season, but cooking also serves as an educational experience for kids. You can use this opportunity to teach them about sorting, measuring, organizing, and being careful. Plus, your kids will feel incredible enthusiasm and take pride in their efforts when they see (and taste!) the finished product. Here are some ideas to make it fun, along with some tasty ideas to prepare together.
The kitchen is the hub of the home, where everyone congregates for quality together time and tasty food. But what good is it if the counter tops are cluttered and you can’t find what you need — and your kids don’t have room to handle their responsibilities either? So before you delve into your first autumn baking project of the season, make it a point to keep whatever isn’t essential out of the way.
A few seagrass baskets are ideal for this purpose; you can organize everything easily, be it a small appliance you don’t plan to use or the cooking utensils you want to keep close by and properly contained. By reducing the clutter on your surfaces, you and your child can prepare food much more easily, and leave some extra wiggle room in case your little one makes a mess (note: they will).
It’s time to dive into your first dessert of the season! If your kids don’t have any kitchen experience, you may want to start easy so that they don’t feel overwhelmed. Baked apples with cinnamon are one of the quickest and most straightforward recipes imaginable, but it’s something that introduces your kids to the joys of cooking at the same time.
Peel and core your apples of choice, then slice them thinly. Have your child toss them in the baking dish, then invite them to add the ingredients. Two tablespoons of lemon juice bring out a zesty touch, while a teaspoon of cinnamon, three-quarters of a tablespoon of grated ginger, and a pinch of nutmeg and salt add that mouthwatering flavor. Finish with two-thirds of a cup of coconut sugar, three tablespoons of cornstarch, and a splash of apple juice. At this point, either you or your child can toss the mixture before covering it with foil and baking at 350° for 45 minutes; then uncover it and bake for an extra 15 minutes so that the apples are tender. Add some whipped cream to finish. Getting messy? Keep a monogrammed hand towel or two nearby at all times so your little one can quickly clear up the mess.
Fall is synonymous with pie, be it apple, pumpkin, or pecan. Bottom line is that there needs to be pie at some point in the season, so why not let your kids get involved in some capacity? If you happen to be a master of the best apple pie on the planet, now is the time to share your secret recipe with your kid. The sooner you get started, the quicker they’ll catch on and learn your process.
But you can also start super easy and “bake” a pudding pie instead. The recipe is so simple that you can gather everything in a snap! You’ll need a single packet of instant vanilla pudding, half a cup of pumpkin puree, half a cup of the milk of your choice, and a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Have your little one empty all of these ingredients into a bowl and stir. Remember, splashing and crumbling is likely, so keep something protective on the floor — a bathroom rug makes a practical choice. Pour the mixture directly into a premade graham cracker crust and chill it for two hours. Voila: a quick and incredibly sweet pie, specially made by your child.
If you or someone else in the home consumes an egg-free diet, that doesn’t mean baked goods are completely off-limits. There are hundreds of innovative recipes out there that make it easy to enjoy your favorites. With slight modifications, nearly anything is possible. With your kids, it’s helpful to introduce them to the world of egg-free baking from the start so that they have a few ideas about what it means to bake in different ways. In general, subbing a flax egg, which consists of a tablespoon of flaxseed meal and two-and-a-half tablespoons of water, for an actual egg is the way to go.
You can use that to make some banana chocolate chip cookies that your child is sure to love. Pour it into a bowl, then mash a ripe banana into it, along with a third of a cup of almond butter, a teaspoon of melted coconut oil, about three tablespoons of brown sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and half a teaspoon each of baking soda and baking powder. Mix away, then add a third of a cup of almond meal, three-quarters of a cup of oat flour, and a third of a cup of chocolate chips. Stir, refrigerate for 10 minutes, spoon onto a baking sheet, and bake at 350° for about 15 minutes. They should reach a golden brown color at this point. Remember, those kids’ T-shirts might get a little messy if your kids mix vigorously, so throw an apron on for safety.
With the right recipes and plenty of enthusiasm, your child is destined for greatness in the kitchen. Why not get started this fall?