Friends often say to me:
“How do you cook with the kids all the time”?
“They make so much mess”!
“They get in to absolutely everything”.
“It’s so much quicker to cook when they’re at school/asleep/out of the house”.
I reckon you’ve got to go in with low expectations. Yes. There will most likely be a huge mess to clean up or an epic tantrum about who gets to lick the beater but I reckon the positives of cooking with your kids outweigh the negatives. Cooking something yourself brings with it such a sense of achievement, whether you’re an adult or a child.
In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if something spills on the floor? And if it does – why don’t you make ‘cleaning up’ fun. What toddler doesn’t love being given a mop and bucket of soapy water to make a mess with?
And if I had a dollar every time someone said to me, “you only cook with your kids because they’re girls.” I know lots of little boys that love to get involved in the kitchen. More famous chefs out there are men anyway. Cooking isn’t just for little girls.
Now I agree that I can achieve ten times as much and more quickly without the girls in the kitchen with me, but it’s good to take the time to cook with them. I spent my early years in the kitchen and have learnt so much from watching others cook. You’re teaching them life skills that will stick with them for years to come.
So I’m not trying to sound like a saint. Yes, there are times when I want the kitchen to myself, and yes, cooking is something I do love doing. So if having the kids in the kitchen with you is too much, then find other activities that you like to do with your kids instead. How about getting out in to the garden and planting some fresh herbs in pots; do some finger painting; have a running race or simply read them a book. Kids just want our time and attention, no matter what we’re doing with them.
This recipe below works wonderfully for a kids activity, if you’re feeling up to it. The cookies taste delicious and are perfect for you to enjoy for a 3pm ‘pick me up’ with a hot cuppa.
The biscuits hold together really well, meaning that cutting them out with the cookie cutters is easy. You can make the dough in advance and have it in the fridge, ready to roll when you need it. Why don’t you invite a friend over for morning tea so that you have an extra set of hands to help you? The dough freezes well too so you can make some now and keep the rest for a later date.
And don’t worry if they don’t look perfect. Let your little ones ice and decorate the bunnies however they like. We won’t be winning any style awards here, but the biccies will still taste great and the kids will have fun!
bunny biccies | cut out butter biscuits (makes 60 bunnies)
175 grams of softened butter
200 grams of castor sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
400 grams of plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
150 grams of icing sugar, for the icing
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a mix master until pale and creamy.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold in to the mixture.
- Halve the mixture and shape in to two flat discs. Wrap each half in glad wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour before rolling out. (I pop one of the halves in to the freezer to use at a later date).
- On a clean work surface, sprinkle some flour and roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it’s 1/2 cm thick.
- Cut in to shapes using whatever cookie cutters you have handy. (NB: dip the cookie cutter in to some flour before cutting in to the dough so that it doesn’t stick).
- Place the biccies on the baking tray and pop in to the oven. Cook for 8-15 minutes, making sure you don’t go too far away. I check on mine constantly because they cook quickly and you don’t want them to go too brown and overcook.
- Let the biccies cool on a wire rack.
- In a mixing bowl, sift in the icing sugar. Add a tiny bit of boiling water from the kettle and mix with a fork until you have a thick paste. You can also add some food colouring here if you like, or I like a tiny spritz of fresh lemon in the icing to freshen it up.
- Ice the biccies and decorate with sprinkles if you desire. Let your imagination run wild.
Creaming the butter and sugar. This should take about 5 minutes on a med-high speed.
Fold in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.
This recipe makes about 50 or 60 biccies, so I always pop half of the mixture in the freezer for next time.
Sprinkle flour over the dough when you are rolling it out as it will prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin. PS. I always used to use a red wine bottle as a rolling pin, until I bought myself one a couple of years ago! Improvise.
Make sure you press down quite hard with the cookie cutter to cut right through the dough.
Sometimes the dough is hard to scrape off the work surface if it is not sufficiently floured. Use a steel egg flip to scrape them off the surface if needed.
You can eat them without icing too!
This icing tastes delicious!
If the icing is a little on the runny side, it is easier for little fingers to use.
If you make these bunny biccies, send me a pic here as I’d love to share it on the blog. xx