Kids in the kitchen are one of the joys of my life. I like cooking and eating good food, and when we all share in the process everyone knows the effort involved and is more appreciative of the food they eat. Also, no one ever refuses to eat a food they helped prepare. In addition, I like the independence it fosters from grocery store snacks and fast food. My kids have been known to whip up a batch of yeasty potato rolls or pumpkin cranberry muffins just so they could have a mid-morning snack. Fine by me!
I also believe everybody should have a specialty, because when you make a recipe over and over you become more efficient and confident. That translates to quick help on days when cooking time is short. My oldest daughter’s specialty is sourdough bread, my son’s is foccacia bread, and now Lulu has a specialty. At nearly nine, she was ready to have her own cooking projects. We chose cornbread muffins. (No, our family is not gluten-free, obviously! And we like bread, again, obviously!)
Muffins are an easy first independent recipe because they are quick, require no special tools or knowledge, and are very rewarding. Who doesn’t like a hot muffin with their soup? Once one muffin recipe is mastered, you can branch out into all kinds of varieties without too much effort.
Since Lulu has cooked along with me since she was tiny, she didn’t need too much help even the first time she made these muffins. Since we buy oil in 5 quart jugs, she needed help pouring. And she always likes help putting the pan into and taking it out of the oven.
Adapted from Fanny Farmer Cookbook
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
¾ cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
In a separate bowl mix together:
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons oil or melted butter
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix quickly but thoroughly. Spoon into oiled or sprayed muffin tins or 8×8 inch pan. Bake 15 minutes for muffins, 20 minutes for cornbread. Serve hot.
We enjoy our cornbread with butter and honey or maple syrup. (Sugar addicts!)
This weekend Lulu made these to take with us as we went to my first half marathon race to go along with our vegetarian black bean chili. Posting about that on Saturday! Wish me luck!
Do you have a recipe you especially enjoy making with your kids, or that your kids make independently? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment!