It’s always nice to have another pair of helping hands in the kitchen, but when it’s your kids’ hands you can’t expect to be whipping up Michellin starred delights. The key to cooking with kids is to keep it interesting, and there is no better way to keep them keen than to make desserts. The other important thing to bear in mind before you let your children loose in the kitchen is this: keep it simple. You may like crafting intricate choux pastry or chocolate souffle, but these recipes will be too complex for children to follow and too tricky to help with. So, bearing those things in mind, here is a selection of great and delicious desserts to make with your kids – but don’t expect them to eat their greens first!
All kids love ice cream, and although you may not be able to conjure up authentic Italian gelato there are still plenty of easy – and quick – recipes to keep young ones entertained on a summer’s afternoon. All you need for this colourful treat is some heavy cream, condensed milk, vanilla extract and food colouring. Whisk the cream then combine with the other ingredients and portion in small bowls. Leave to freeze for several hours – this is the hardest part for the kids – and then serve with plenty of sprinkles on top.
A fun twist on the American campfire classic, this is a quick and easy recipe that kids will love to share. Simply take 200g milk chocolate and melt in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of full-fat milk and 200g of marshmallows. Then top with another 150g of marshmallows and stick it under a hot grill for a couple of minutes to get it toasted. Serve with biscuits for dipping, or pieces of fruit.
All kids love chocolate desserts, from mousses to brownies and beyond. This recipe is really simple and will help build skills and confidence in the kitchen. Slowly melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over some hot water, then prepare some small cups or ramekins with frozen raspberries. When the chocolate has cooled a little, stir in some creamy Greek yoghurt and a spoon or two of clear honey. Then simply divide the mixture between the cups and leave it in the fridge to set. Delicious!
Kids love colourful food, so this recipe is a great way to incorporate that while satisfying any sweet tooth. Beat some butter, caster sugar, vanilla and egg yolk together in a large bowl with flour and a pinch of salt, then get in there with your hands – you children will love this messy bit too – and form into a crumbly dough. Press it all into a tin and spread a generous layer of jam over the top. Bake it for 35 minutes or so, and when it’s cooled use icing sugar and food colouring to decorate it on top. This is the difficult bit – leave it to set overnight, then cut it into slices. It’ll keep for five days in the tin, but I doubt it will last that long.
Two more perennial childhood favourites – chocolate and peanut butter. And this recipe is great for kids to make and share, however, it relies on a bit of preparation from you when it comes to the brownie mixture. Now, you can buy packet mixture in supermarkets, but making your own is pretty easy too, and gives you control over the ingredients. For the crispy bars, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and prepare your base. Then spread a bit of peanut butter over the whole thing – put the remaining peanut butter into the microwave with chocolate chips. Then simply add some Rice Krispies (or other crispy cereal) and top the brownie with the lot.
While it’s probably a bit long-winded to go into detail here – check the recipe for further details – this is a good option because most of the ingredients will probably be in your fridge or cupboards already. It’s also good to show your kids how to do some basic moves in the kitchen – separating eggs, whisking with a hand whisk and using a food processor – as well as learning about baking times and following recipes. The result is a delicious, light, zesty pudding with fresh fruit in abundance.
Another great favourite on a summer’s day, you can put pretty much whatever you like into popsicles. Moulds are cheap and widely available, and once you’ve got them you can fill them with fruit juice and fresh fruit, or make a creamy alternative with yoghurt, milk and vanilla extract.
These are just a few ideas for desserts to make with your kids. Get them to master some of these simple recipes and they may catch the cooking bug, in which case breakfast in bed is just around the corner.