Updated: Mar 21
Before kids used to love the ritual of making dinner. Wine, music, time to myself. Cooking with kids however, is not my favourite thing. It can be stressful and chaotic, but here are a few things to help make it easier:
1. Set up everything ahead of time - preferably before you’ve even told them you are going to cook. Little kids don’t have a lot of patience for going looking for ingredients in the pantry or the measuring spoons. And god forbid you’re missing a key ingredient and have to cancel the cooking, this makes sure that you’ve got enough of everything you need and prevents unnecessary tears.
2. It is bloody messy. Just accept this from the beginning. Flour will go everywhere. Fingers will get put into things they shouldn’t and stuff will get dropped on the floor. Just make sure everyone washes their hands beforehand and you should be fine.
3. Just love the little rituals of cooking. Perhaps its them going and getting their little chair to stand on at the bench or getting to wear an apron. Establish your own little rituals and be guided by what your children love.
4. Assuming you have some access to freezer space, never cook in small quantities. I almost always double or triple recipes and put things away in the freezer for later.
For roughly 30 muffins, you’ll need:
6 bananas ripe (if you have bananas that are overripe and you aren’t ready to cook, peel them, cut them up and freeze them. When your’e ready to cook, you can just defrost them on the benchtop and then cook with them.
2 cups of sugar
4 tbs of margarine or butter
2 egg beaten (these can be substituted for more banana and a bit of vegetable oil if you have allergies in the family)
4 cups self-raising flour
2 tbs milk
Chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit etc to taste.
1 large bowl (you can use a stand mixer or just a normal large mixing bowl. This quantity fit well within the kitchen aid standard metal mixing bowl).
Patty pans/ cupcake cases or just well-oiled muffin tins.
How to do it:
Preheat the oven to 180degrees and line muffin trays with patty pans (you can always grease the tins if you don’t have any).
This is 1 bowl cooking if you do it in the right order. First, mash the bananas into a large bowl. You can do this using the mixer attachment on a slow setting if you like. Don’t over mix tho – some small lumps are fine.
Slowly mix in the eggs and softened butter/margarine. Crack the eggs into a small bowl first if you can. This just means you can fish out any shell (common if kids are ‘helping’ and be sure that the eggs are good before you add them to the banana.) Note: If your bananas are quite cold then the butter can seem a bit lumpy/separated at this stage – this is fine. It will mix in better once you add and mix the other ingredients. Otherwise you can melt slightly in the microwave before you add it.
Add the rest of the ingredients (except the chocolate chips, nuts etc) and stir. The mixer only needs to be set to a slow setting, otherwise flour will go everywhere).
Then get the kids to help you add the extra ingredients.
The amount of batter needed for each cupcake will depend on the size of your muffin/cupcakes. A general rule of thumb is to fill them to ¾ full, as they will rise in the oven.
Place in the oven and set a timer for 10 mins. Check at this time and then again every few mins until done. It will generally take between 15-20mins to cook depending on the size of muffin and your oven. You will know that they are done when you can put a knife into the middle of the muffin and it comes out clean. Kids love watching things as they bake in the oven, as you can see from my pics. Does this count as ‘screen time ‘do you think? ;-)
Hot tip: These muffins freeze and defrost really well for school lunchboxes, but also keep in an airtight container for about a week depending on the climate you’re living in.