I love to bake and cook and host and be in the kitchen … so much so that I’ve started baking semi-professionally (’cause I don’t have enough to do)! My son regularly hangs out in the kitchen with me and asks to help, and for fear of spills or burns or messing something up I rarely have tasks for him other than “watching mommy.” But that has never really been good enough of a job for Henry…
About a month ago, my tune changed. He really was showing interest in what I was doing and showing some toddler-sized abilities to listen and take direction. So, last night I decided to embark on a baking project with him! We made chocolate chip banana bread, which is always a hit in our house and a great goodie to share. Also, I can’t be the ONLY person who always has 3-4 over ripe bananas no matter how many or how few or many bananas I purchase at the grocery store every week … or am I?
Here is the recipe for chocolate chip banana bread which I modified from my friend Allison:
1 stick melted butter
1c. sugar (you can reduce to 3/4c if you want … but why?!)
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2c all purpose flour
1c chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×4 loaf pan.
Mash up the bananas
Add in the melted butter and stir
Mix in the sugar then the egg and vanilla extract thoroughly
Add the flour, salt, and baking soda directly into the banana/butter/sugar mixture.
Make sure the flour is mixed in fully and there are no pockets of flour hanging out!
Fold in the chocolate chips
Pour in the loaf pan and bake for 55min to an hour. You want to be able to insert a knife in the middle and it come out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes then flip onto a cooling rack or aluminum foil to cool the rest of the way. This is a great after school snack or dessert or maybe a weekend breakfast treat.
Now, is cooking with my toddler all rainbows and smiles? Not really. For example, Henry loves pouring flour from the little jar. Well, the little jar is full of cake flour, not all purpose flour. So ya know what, we used some cake flour in our bread last night … and it turned out great! Lesson in flexibility learned. Do I want things done according to direction, neatly and efficiently? Yes. That is NOT what baking with a toddler is like. BUT it is a great teaching opportunity.
Baking and working in the kitchen with your child can help them understand how things are made and learn process. It is also a good practice in listening, following direction, learning new skills. Plus it helps me as I work to be patient and guide my kid to learn how to do something I love.
I hope that Henry continues to enjoy his time with me in the kitchen and one day becomes skilled enough to explore and cook more! In the meantime, a lot of banana bread is in our future!!