23 May 2019
Fun recipe ideas to cook with your grandchildren
It can be hard to think of ways to entertain the grandchildren each time they visit, but baking and cooking allow countless opportunities to enjoy some quality time together. You can have fun making creative sweet treats or some delicious savoury snacks whilst also teaching the children valuable life skills. If you’re less able and rely on a well priced stairlift, this is a perfect non-strenuous activity. You can also use tools and gadgets that make cooking easier such as extra grip pizza wheels, easy to see measuring jugs or digital scales and be sure to get the little ones involved to help along the way! Read on to discover some fun and tasty recipes you can create together.
Easy sweet treats
Everyone deserves a sweet treat every now and again, so why not create something delicious? There are hundreds of fun recipes you can choose from, including cookies, brownie and fairy cakes. Baking is also a great opportunity to teach your grandchild about measurements and how to use simple kitchen utensils.
We asked baking blogger Lucy, who has created many delicious recipes on her blog, Pudding Lane, for her advice on what you could bake with your grandchildren. Lucy shares: “Baking and cooking with children from a young age is a great way to introduce them to new ingredients - I find that fussy eaters are much more likely to try something if they've been involved in the process of making it. Baking, in particular, allows children to get involved, channel their creativity and reap the rewards of following a process and seeing results at the end.
“When baking with kids, I think it's important to choose a recipe which lets them get their hands in there - biscuits and cookies are perfect for this, especially as there is plenty of scope for decorating them too! Try thumbprint cookies such as peanut butter jam ones, or iced shortbread biscuits.”
We also spoke to Natalie, who owns the bespoke cake company Cuppies ‘n’ Cream and runs the baking and lifestyle blog Hello Cuppies, to find out her thoughts: “When I think back to baking with my grandmother, I remember making simple things. Fairy cakes, shortbread, rhubarb crumble and Yorkshire puddings! All the types of things that never get forgotten about or that anyone dislikes. I'd say she taught me the kind of things that everyone should know how to do. The basics and staples are always great for building a foundation for baking more complicated recipes.”
Our top three sweet treats
A fun and easy recipe to try creating with your grandchildren is a rocky road. You don’t even need to use an oven and it’s delicious! Let your grandchild be involved in each step of the simple recipe, from breaking the chocolate into chunks to crumbling the biscuits. When it comes to mixing the melted chocolate together with the additional ingredients let them decide what to add, the rocky roads don’t have to follow the traditional fillings. Decide together which flavours will taste delicious, this could include; marshmallows, raisins, nuts, popcorn, honeycomb, popping candy and plenty of other choices.
Fairy cakes are another great idea for an easy bake. They require few ingredients and are great fun for children to decorate. Once the sponges have cooled from baking, lay out an array of toppings for the children to choose from, including icing and food colourings. You could try and create faces on top of the cakes using sweets, chocolate chips and butter icing.
If you’re looking for something that doesn’t have quite as much sugar, a sugar-free banana cake is perfect for you to bake with your grandchild. The flavour and natural sugars from the ripe bananas still add enough sweetness to the recipe.
We spoke to Anna from Anna’s Family Kitchen, a blog for recipes and food tips, planning and preparation, and asked for her recommendations. Anna regularly cooks with her three little ones, so she is an expert at cooking with children, and tells us which sweet treats she recommends: “When I do my children’s cookery class I always throw in a sweet option. Usually muffins, pancakes, a banana loaf or chocolate brownies. Easy flatbreads also always go down well. A banana loaf is one of my children's’ favourite snacks. The bananas add sweetness so you can reduce the sugar you use. I also love making muffins - Blueberry, Banana, Raspberry, Chocolate. Classic chocolate brownies always go down a storm!”
It doesn’t always have to be sweet treats, there are also a variety of simple savoury recipes perfect for dinner time, that are great for getting the children involved and keeping them entertained.
Pizzas are great fun for children to decorate. Layout a choice of toppings such as sprinkled cheese, tomatoes, sweetcorn, pepperoni and mushrooms for the children to choose from. A fun idea is to try and create pizza faces; use peppers for the ‘smile’, olives for the ‘eyes’ and sweetcorn around the edge of the dough for ‘hair’. You can also experiment with creating stuffed crusts, simply roll the dough out flat and sprinkle cheese and whichever filling around the edge and fold in the sides.
Anna from Anna’s Family Kitchen continues: “Children are always more likely to eat what they have been involved in preparing. When it comes to baking, why not try some easy bread? A simple recipe to follow is equal quantities for Greek Yogurt to Plain flour with 1/2 tsp baking powder. This makes a simple dough which can be used to make pizza bases or flatbread which are delicious served with soup, dips and crudités. Just roll out into flat breads and sear in a pan or griddle for a minute on each side.”
We asked Karyn from Irish Baking Adventures, a blog for easy and tasty recipes for her top baking with grandchildren tips: “Family baking is a great way of family bonding and a fantastic way to share family recipes and pass them on to the next generation. Keep it simple, children especially young children love getting stuck in especially with their hands. Easy bread recipes are a great bake for children, only a few ingredients and they get to knead the dough, which is fun, watch it rise and then bake it into something delicious to eat!”
Top tips for easy baking
Cooking and baking can become complicated, so keep things simple, tidy and most of all fun. Lucy from Pudding Lane shares her top three tips for easy cooking:
- “Choose a recipe which doesn't call for many ingredients - having too many parts in play can make the process more complicated and stressful than it needs to be, and kids may lose interest or heart along the way if it's too prolonged!
- Accept that it's going to be messy - I think it's important to let kids get involved in doing the weighing, mixing and shaping themselves, so prepare accordingly with tablecloths and aprons and then let them go wild.
- I like to make a bit of a fuss about the eventual eating, as it really helps little bakers feel a sense of pride and achievement in what they've created. Grandparents could invite the parents or friends for tea at the end of the day, to all sit down and eat the bakes together.”
What are you going to bake next time your grandchildren visit?