Baking is a brilliant way to pass the time in lockdown. Whether your kids are almost ready for Junior Bake Off or they've never whisked an egg, now is the time to get cracking! We've found you the best step-by-step recipes that are easy to follow, will use up some cupboard staples and aren’t too sugary. There are some delicious sweet treats and savoury snacks for you and the kids to create together using clear and easy to follow instructions.
This is a classic chocolate treat and a school dinner staple. It’s not quite a brownie but is a delicious option if you want something different and it's great if you’re looking for something you can cut into small squares for an afternoon snack.
Ingredients: 175g plain flour, 50g ground almonds, 60g cocoa, 115g golden caster sugar, 145g butter, demerara sugar, for sprinkling over
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4
2. Whizz the flour, almonds, cocoa, caster sugar together in a food processor
3. Add the butter and whizz until the texture resembles damp sand
4. Grease a small (15cmx25cm) baking tin and add the mixture
5. Press it down in the tin, you can use your fingers for this and it’s a great step for the children to do
6. Bake for 30 minutes and sprinkle demerara sugar on top whilst it still warm from the oven, make sure you cut it while it’s still soft!
7. Enjoy your concrete as an afternoon snack or with custard for pudding
Cheese straws are the perfect savoury snack or a good option to add to your children’s lunch plate. There isn’t much actual baking involved but assembling the twist is a good way to get the kids to concentrate.
Ingredients: 350g pack ready-rolled puff pastry, 4 handfuls grated parmesan, (or your favourite cheese), handful of flour, to roll pastry on
1. Preheat the oven to 220c/fan 200c/gas 7
2. Unroll your puff pastry and get the kids to sprinkle a couple of handfuls of cheese on top
3. Fold the pastry in half and roll it to the thickness of a £1 coin
4. Cut it into 1cm strips and twist each strip 3 or 4 times
5. Lay them on a baking tray and scatter over the rest of the cheese
6. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden
Sugar-Free Banana Loaf
You can’t beat a classic banana bread, they’re a great way to use up bananas that are slightly past their best. Why not give this sugar free recipe a go? The natural sweetness of the fruit and cinnamon means it’s still delicious!
Ingredients: 125g self-raising wholemeal flour, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 75g sultanas, 50g butter, 2 tsp vanilla essence, 1 egg, 1 tbsp milk, 3 ripe bananas
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas mark 4 and grease your loaf tin
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sultanas together in one bowl
3. Give your children the job of mashing the bananas in another bowl whilst you melt the butter
4. Add the bananas, butter, vanilla essence, egg and milk together and mix
5. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk together
6. Put the batter into your tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
7. Serve whilst it’s still warm, a drizzle of honey on top is really yummy
Unicorn Poop Meringues
These meringues are an easy and fun way to add a bit of magic to your day, the colours and shape mean they look like unicorn poop. Let the kids get creative with rainbow swirls and different faces.
Ingredients: 4 large egg whites, 100g caster sugar, 100g icing sugar, sifted, 4 food colouring gels or pastes (pink, yellow, blue and green are good options), white and black ready-to-roll fondant icing or icing pens for the eyes and mouth
1. Preheat the oven to 120C/100C fan/gas ½
2. Whisk up the egg whites until they form stiff peaks
3. Gradually add the caster sugar, getting your little ones to add it a spoonful at a time is a good way to do it
4. Do the same with the icing sugar until the mixture is glossy and stiff
5. Place your piping bag (or sandwich bag with one corner snipped off) over a tall glass or jug. Roll the top of the bag over the rim and paint a stripe of each food colouring from the nozzle to the top of the bag
6. Spoon in the meringue mixture
7. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper
8. Pipe swirls of meringue onto the trays, 4cm circles are a good size but you can do whatever size you like
9. Bake for 20 minutes then turn the oven down to 100C/80C fan/gas ¼ and bake for a further hour or until the meringues are cooked through. They should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom
10. Leave them to cool in the oven
11. Roll eyes out of the fondant icing and stick them to the meringues, you may need to use a bit of royal icing if they don’t stick on their own (or just use your icing pen)
Flapjacks are a great option for an easy and slightly healthier bake. The oats mean they’re great for slow release energy and the fruit in these makes them a bit different. Top tip: If you can’t find any fresh berries, frozen ones work well too!
Ingredients: 80g blueberries/raspberries or other soft fruit, 35g wholemeal flour, 25g caster sugar 35g oats, 25g butter plus extra for greasing the tin
1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC Fan/180ºC/ gas 4
2. Use a fork to squash your fruit down, breaking it up makes it work better in the flapjacks
3. Put the flour, oats, sugar and butter in a bowl and rub them together with your fingers, we love getting hands on with this recipe
4. Grease a loaf tin and press half of the mixture in with your fingers
5. Spread the fruit evenly on top
6. Add the rest of the crumbly mixture and press it down hard
7. Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy
Bread is often an easier bake than you expect and there is nothing better than a warm loaf fresh from the oven. Soda bread is a perfect option if this is one of your first loaves and the kids can really get involved with the kneading.
Ingredients: 75g plain flour, 100g wholemeal flour, 25g oats, 1½ tsp caster sugar, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tbsp seeds (linseeds, sesame or sunflower seeds work well), 175ml natural yoghurt
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 and line a tray with baking paper
2. Stir all of the ingredients other than the yoghurt together
3. Slowly add the yoghurt and mix together to form a soft dough. Feel free to add a bit more yoghurt if the dough seems dry
4. Sprinkle some flour on a surface, tip the dough out and knead it for a few minutes
5. Shape into a round loaf and place it on the baking tray, flatten it slightly with your hand
6. Cut a deep X in the top of the bread, make sure you cut almost to the bottom so the loaf cooks all the way through
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes and let it cool
8. Spread some butter on it while it’s still warm or save it and toast over the next few days
Peanut Butter Cookies
These cookies take just 15 minutes to make and are the perfect way to use up any egg yolks you have left over from other recipes (like the unicorn meringues). The peanut butter means they’re delicious with a glass of milk!
Ingredients: 8 tbsp plain flour, 2 tbsp caster sugar, 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter, 1 free-range egg yolk, 50g butter
1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4and line a tray with baking paper
2. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together to form a smooth dough
3. With lightly floured hands, break off pieces of the dough and roll them into walnut sized balls
4. Place the balls on the baking tray and use the back of a fork to flatten them slightly
5. Bake for 10 minutes or until they’re just turning golden
6. Allow the cookies to cool and dust them with icing sugar
Nutty Oat Bar
Sometimes we all need an afternoon pick me up to keep our energy levels high and these nutty oat bars are the perfect option. Knowing what’s actually in them makes them a great alternative to supermarket cereal bars.
Ingredients: 120g rolled jumbo oats, 30g unsweetened puffed rice (not crisped rice cereal), 75g toasted flaked almonds, 25g mixed seeds, 130g stoned dates, chopped, 50g dark chocolate chips (optional), 40g raisins or dried berries of your choice, 100g crunchy peanut butter, 90g honey
1. Line a square baking tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4
2. If you want to make your bars crispier, bake your oats for about 10 minutes until they smell nice
3. Mix the oats, puffed rice, almonds, seeds, dates, chocolate chips and raisins together
4. Melt the peanut butter and honey together over a gentle heat
5. Stir the peanut butter in with the oat mixture and make sure it’s all fully coated, you may need to get your children to use their hands for this
6. Press the mix into the tin and freeze for 20 minutes
7. Cut into about 15 squares and store in a tupperware ready for snack time
They might be basic, but vanilla cupcakes are a classic for a reason. The real fun with these is the decorating so get out your food colouring, sprinkles, edible glitter and let the kids go crazy!
Ingredients: 120g butter, softened, 120g caster sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 120g self-raising flour and for the icing: 140g butter, 275g icing sugar, 1-2 tbsp milk, a few drops of food colouring
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases
2. Cream the butter and sugar together
3. Beat the eggs and vanilla essence together in a separate bowl then add them to the butter and sugar
4. Fold in the flour
5. Spoon the batter into the cases
6. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
7. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack whilst you make the icing
8. Beat the butter until it's smooth and whisk in half of the icing sugar
9. Add the remaining icing sugar with 1tbsp of milk and more if you need it. You want the mixture to be smooth and creamy
10. Mix in the food colouring and get decorating! You can use a piping bag but keep it fun and let the children add the icing themselves
11. Get decorating! If you want to get really creative, here are a few incredible ideas
Before you know it, you'll have spent a fantastic afternoon in the kitchen with the kids - and will have some delicious treats to show for it! Click here for more great ideas for things to do in lockdown.
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