by Leah Brooks
Photography by Scott Peterson
(Quarry Books, $22.99, Ages 4 and up)
My daughter and I were thrilled to get our “oven mitts” on BAKING WITH KIDS, the latest recipe and instruction book from Leah Brooks, founder of Young Urban Modern Chefs (Y.U.M. Chefs), a San Francisco cooking school for kids. Brooks’ well-organized kitchen guide is filled with tempting baking ideas and countless helpful tips. Lushly illustrated with full color, drool-worthy photographs from Scott Peterson, this book will send families rushing to the cupboard to collect bowls, pans and ingredients!
Although one might choose to dive right into the recipes, Brooks wisely offers an opening chapter on kitchen safety for kids. If you have not cooked with young people before, there are great ideas on how to teach safety around knives and sharp objects, proper use of oven and stovetop, and the importance of cleaning up as you work. Baking tools are defined in the next chapter, followed by tips on terms and techniques such as zesting, creaming and kneading.
Recipes are grouped into breakfast (muffins and scones), breads and snacks (pretzels and crackers), desserts (pie crust and cake), and party perennials such as pizza, cookies, and cupcakes. My daughter selected the recipe for Mini Strawberry Hand Pies, and assembled the necessary ingredients and equipment independently. She was able to follow the simple, step-by-step directions on her own for all the steps, even declaring that “macerating” was her new favorite food preparation technique! The pies were tasty little treats that smelled heavenly and had a rich, buttery crust.
BAKING WITH KIDS makes it so simple and fun to create in the kitchen that you had best stock up on supplies at the grocery store in advance. We give it two spoons up for delicious family treats made with love!
- Reviewed by Cathy Ballou Mealey and Grace Mealey
EASY DROP BISCUITS RECIPE
Light and flaky, these biscuits are delicious as part of an elaborate breakfast feast or with simple cherry preserves (see Cherry Frosting, page xx). These biscuits are quick to prepare and because they are drop biscuits, they clean up in a cinch as well!
Yield: 8-10 biscuits
1 ½ cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (60 g) white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon (12 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (½ cup, or 112 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup (235 ml) whole milk
measuring cups and spoons
liquid measuring cup
wooden spoon or spatula
1 Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2 In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Gently toss the butter with the flour until all the butter cubes are completely coated.
3 Using a pastry cutter, 2 butter knives, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of peas, being careful not to overmix. Chill in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
for smaller hands
Watch children as they mix because kids like to squeeze the dough between their fingers, warming it and potentially overmixing. This will result in tough and dense biscuits.
4 Add the milk and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
5 Using two spoons, scoop about a ¼-cup (60 g) of dough into mounds onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden.
Where Obtained: We reviewed a promotional copy of BAKING WITH KIDS from the publisher and received no compensation. The opinions expressed here are our own.