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Lockdown baking: child-friendly recipes to try at home
The UK government recently announced plans to ease lockdown restrictions, including the reopening of schools from Monday onwards. But with many restrictions set to continue until June, parents and carers need to continue finding ways to engage their children during weekends and the fast-approaching Easter holiday. So, we have detailed some of our favourite recipes to help keep children entertained, teach them new skills and, of course, create delicious homemade foods.
Create and bake, together
This is our second blog on lockdown baking and this time the focus is on recipes that are accessible to children, with support from a responsible adult. We have chosen these specifically as they have limited ingredients and baking steps, offering easy – and sometimes messy – fun with a delicious outcome for everyone.
For children, baking can reinforce proficiencies such as following chronological instructions, weighing, timing and mixing, all of which can develop fine motor skills. Not only that, though. Baking together can be an important bonding experience for both parent and child, with taste and smell helping create strong memories.
Using the below recipes, you can work together to create flavoursome foods that your children will be proud to have produced. Remember, though, all still require adult supervision.
Treacle flapjack: a quick and easy lunchtime snack
This treacle flapjack recipe is simple and fun, with just four ingredients and a 30-minute bake time. All you need to do is melt butter and soft brown light sugar in a saucepan, mix in black treacle, take off the heat and then add oats. Children can help to stir the mixture until the oats are evenly coated, before leaving to cool.
The next part of the recipe is ideal for children who enjoy tactile activities and do not mind getting a little messy. So, once the oat mixture is sufficiently cool it should be poured into a large, lined tin and then children can use a spatula or wooden spoon to help gently press this flat. Bake for 30 minutes at 180⁰C and then leave to rest until cold, at which point the flapjacks can be cut or broken into portions.
Soft brown light sugar has a fine grain size which means it dissolves more easily and develops a smoother texture when melted with butter, while the viscosity of the black treacle ensures that the oats combine into a solid flapjack that can be divided into neat portions.
Furthermore, it is important to use black treacle and not substitute it with molasses because the former has a more rounded flavour profile, making it more suitable for younger children’s tastebuds. This recipe can also be modified by adding dried fruit or chocolate chips once the oats have cooled but before pouring into the baking tray.
This substantial snack can be neatly packed into lunchboxes when children return to school.
Blondies: an alternative take on a household favourite
Blondies are much like chocolate brownies in terms of texture and appearance but are made without using cocoa solids. As a result, they have a blonde, not a brown, colour and usually rely more heavily on brown sugars for their flavour. To further differentiate themselves from their counterpart, blondie recipes often include white chocolate – which, crucially, does not contain cocoa solids – as opposed to milk or dark chocolate. The inclusion of white chocolate makes this recipe especially favourable for children, who tend to like its sweet, vanilla flavouring.
To make your own blondies, this recipe requires butter, eggs, flour, white chocolate chips and demerara sugar, however, some may prefer to substitute soft brown light sugar for demerara sugar. First, add the demerara sugar and eggs to a bowl and mix well. Then, melt butter and once cooled, pour into the mixing bowl before whisking. The next stage is the best bit for children: mixing the flour with the other ingredients. But be warned, the mixture can get very thick and messy.
Finally, add the all-important white chocolate chips to the batter, pour into a baking tin and bake at 160⁰C for 30-minutes. Once done, the blondies should have a crisp top, chewy centre and a sweet and mellow flavour.
Demerara sugar is the ideal sugar constituent for blondies.
Golden syrup filled cupcakes: a sweet-centred surprise
Making golden syrup filled cupcakes requires lots of whisking and mixing, which develops fine motor skills and can be thoroughly amusing for younger children. The full recipe and list of ingredients are detailed here; in this blog, we will just set out the method.
First, mix plain flour, caster sugar and baking powder, before adding melted butter, egg, golden syrup, milk and vanilla extract. This mixture should all be stirred until well combined into a fluffy texture.
The next stage requires careful spooning so may be more suitable for slightly older children, or those with more advanced hand-eye coordination. Lay out cupcake cases on a large tray and place a half scoop of the sponge mixture in the case. Add a teaspoon of golden syrup and cover again with another spoonful of cake mixture. Cook at 160⁰C until golden and then cool.
The beauty of these cupcakes is the unique flavour developed by the golden elixir, especially in the centre. This is only possible because golden syrup can withstand higher baking temperatures, meaning the syrup does not crystallise and the cupcakes remain moist.
These moist, golden cupcakes go well with a glass of milk or a cup of tea.
Apple pie using muscovado sugar: a spiced and nuanced alternative
Apple pie is a household favourite that comes in many shapes and sizes, with family recipes passed down through generations. If you do not have this tradition in your family yet, now could be the perfect time to start.
This recipe is slightly more complicated than the others included and is therefore more suitable for older children. To make it, you will need premade pastry, bramley apples, light cane muscovado sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. You can also choose to make the shortcrust pastry yourself, but we prefer to use premade pastry to keep things simple.
Start by cutting two circles of pastry, both an inch wider than your ovenproof pie dish. Set one aside for later and place the other inside the dish, smoothing the edges to sit on the rim. Meanwhile, peel, core and chop your apples, mixing with lemon juice to prevent them from going brown. Then, add your apple mix to a pan with light cane muscovado sugar and water, and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the apples have softened. As light cane muscovado sugar has a fine grain, this should not take more than a few minutes.
Next, add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the pan to subtly complement the natural toffee characteristics of the sugar constituent. Once the spices have been mixed well, add all of this on top of the pastry in your ovenproof dish, even if its stacks higher than the edges. Cover with the second circle of pastry and ask your children to complete their creation by gently pressing to seal the edges.
The pie should bake at 190⁰C for around 20 minutes. Once the twenty minutes is complete, check the appearance and then bake at 180⁰C until golden. Once ready, leave to cool slightly and then serve warm or cold. And for our final recommendation – do not forget to serve with thick cream for optimum results.
Light cane muscovado sugar’s mellow characteristics complement the flavours of the apples and spices.
We have been conscious of selecting recipes that are fun, accessible and have lighter flavour profiles, and we hope they can provide you with some entertainment and lasting memories.