Sunday, April 29, 2012

baking with children

I've long been a proponent of baking with children.


Probably because I've long been a proponent of baking. 

There's something that's so warm and comforting about whipping up a batch of something to pass around and share. My favorite thing to bake is my mother's banana bread which over the years, has morphed in to chocolate chip banana mini muffins. This has become my hallmark recipe and they're always a sure crowd pleaser.  I've witnessed ten Daisy Girl Scouts and seven Tiger Cub Scouts, devour 96 mini muffins in less than five minutes.  That's approximately one mini-muffin per minute.

For five minutes.  


Whenever possible, I try to involve the children in baking activities. I'll admit, this takes a great deal of patience because the cheerful vision of baking with children seldom matches the chaotic reality of baking with children. But over the years, as our children have grown up a bit, and have ceased trying to put their heads directly in to the mixing bowl, I've actually found joy in completing this activity together.

I'll let them measure out the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt ... and if I'm feeling particularly relaxed, I'll even let them crack the eggs.  Never directly in the bowl, mind you.  Usually in a measuring cup that I'll then strain for shell fragments, before it is combined with the rest of the ingredients.


This weekend, I baked muffins with Henry. And as my four-year-old was spooning the contents in to muffin tins, I felt a feeling of peace settle over me.  Not once did I feel compelled to step in and clean the blobs of batter off the tin. And not once did my Control Freak take over and pry the spoons out of his little hands while cooing, "Why don't you let me do this...?"  

He was so focused, so determined, so thorough. And he did it all, by himself.  I'm not sure if I'm more proud of his ability to get the job accomplished...


Or my ability to let him do it.  

Whatever the case, these are the days that I'm searing in to my memory. These precious days of baking alongside my chubby-cheeked preschooler. They are even more sweet than whatever it is we're making.