Made up baking with kids


Recently Ollie’s been talking about a time he lived “in England.” Whenever he begins a sentence with “In England…” I know he’ll follow with something that displays his independence and self-sufficiency. Often the stories are about cooking, and he’ll tell me about things he baked in England. Sometimes there are adventures with his cousins, Strawberry and Pumpkin, with whom he lived, and he had some jobs and drove a lot as well. But mostly it’s about cooking.

Lately I indulge his “In England” baking stories and we recreate his favorite recipes. He instructs me on the ingredients he used to create things like “Honeychrists”, a kind of inedible biscuit like hardtack, and “Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins”, which we baked on Sunday.

After the honeychrists episode, I’ve tried to direct a little more, so these muffin cookies were actually edible and quite tasty. Half-way through the measuring, I got a great idea. Ratio, a book and iPhone app by Michael Ruhlman gives you the ratios for ingredients for all kinds of recipe, would be perfect for this situation. (Though he doesn’t have “cookie muffin” listed).

In the future I can guide Ollie knowing the ratios, so if he wants muffins, I can measure 5 ounces of flour and liquid, and 2.5 ounces eggs and butter. He can add the spices or food coloring or chocolate chips, whatever else he wants, and I can be assured that the resulting baked good will probably be edible. I’m looking forward to trying this out, as it’s been so much fun to do this crazy baking with Ollie.

Funny thing about the chocolate chip muffin cookies: they were edible! And because I added baking powder and baking soda, they were puffy cookies, soft and kind of doughy, wide-spread on the sheet and mounded in the middle. Just like you’d expect a “muffin cookie” to be!

6 thoughts on “Made up baking with kids

  1. If you’re going to share these adventures with us, can you share the recipes too? 🙂

  2. Meg, I’ve been following you since I read about you in the New Yorker in 2001. Now you have kids, and so do I. I also have “Ratio”. This is awesome. I’m going to try it myself once my little one is big enough.

  3. I love this! The “In England…” is so great. Inspired by Ollie, Penelope made Honeychrist this past holiday season as well. Hers was more an oatmeal cookie that wasn’t very sweet — it seemed like some sort of oatmeal bar you’d get in a vegan restaurant. It was edible, though.

  4. My grandmother’s persimmon cookies looked just like that, except with sweet spices, raisins and walnuts instead of chocolate chips. I hadn’t thought about it then, but “muffin-cookie” is exactly how they seemed, too.

  5. My husband came home quite excited about your blog post and how it could apply to our son, who LOVES to bake and cook with us. He’s only 21 months, but loves to help, stir, dump things in the bowl etc. My husband thinks I need to master ratios now in order to make being creative with our son in the kitchen even easier (so I don’t always have to be consulting a recipe). Your post has sold me on that and I look forward to as much fun in the kitchen with our son as you have with Ollie. Thank you so much for posting about this snippet of our life…
    Oh yes, and I second the request for sharing the recipe…

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