I like to bake. I like to make sweet things to eat. Healthy cooking is great, but sometimes you need some good old fashioned comfort food. I like the memories that come from baking with my kiddos. I like watching my kids’ pride at making something everyone enjoys. I like to eat the sweet things that are made.
If I’m making a treat and want my kids to participate, I usually wait until the older two are in school. I know, not fair you say, but it’s a lot more manageable that way. If I want to cook with the older kids, I usually cook with them one on one and try to let them do all they can on their own.
My favorite recipe to use with my kids is my Grandmother’s banana bread. There’s nothing “conscious” about this bread. It uses, gasp, butter and, double gasp, real sugar. But it smells like summer days spent with Grandma and gentle talks shared together. Add in a fabulous boost of cinnamon and it tastes good to.
Because the recipe is just an honest to goodness, real-ingredient recipe, it’s also very forgiving. So, little hands can help make it without fear of disaster.
Generally, I let my kids peel and mash the bananas. Some people use a zipping baggie to mash the bananas in. I’ve done that once or twice, and it works great. But we usually are short on zipping baggies (I don’t know why, I buy them all the time), so I let my Kindergartner have at the bananas with a fork in a bowl.
Then we take turns mixing in the ingredients. One ingredient per child, stir between each ingredient. Next, it’s pour in to the pan, and place in the oven.
My oldest can help pour the batter in, but I still reserve the right to use the oven. (No, I really don’t want to take any one to the emergency room for burns, thank you.)
Then, I let people lick the spoon, bowl, and beaters – the best part of baking anyway.
I’ve included my Grandmother’s recipe. Give it a try next time you need some homemade goodness. It takes a while to get the bread completely cooked, but it’s worth it. Do you have a favorite recipe you like to bake with your children? I’d love to hear about it. Happy baking, everyone.
3 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 unbeaten eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup nuts, or raisins, or chocolate chips
Combine all ingredients in order given into a large mixing bowl.Pour into a greased loaf pan.
Bake for 1 hour at 325 F.
Test bread’s center, adding more baking time at a lower temperature, if needed.