Belle was challenged this week by Grandma to bake something that was not dessert, so she flipped through her kid cookbook of global cuisine again and found a recipe for sausage rolls. Puff pastry and sausage? Yum. Mama did a little digging, though, because it looked like it had probably been simplified a bit from traditional preparation. And yes, it had. Apparently, Australian mums use sausage rolls as a way to sneak vegetables into their children’s meals and I am all about that, ladies. Grating carrots is a good gross motor activity anyway.Continue reading “Australian Sausage Rolls”
Growing up, summer Sunday mornings meant my Grandpa was making dozens of pancakes from Bisquick and old milk for his grandchildren. He’d take special requests for blueberry pancakes, or for pancakes shaped like letters, or for simply more – there are pancake eating records next to various water sport records in the family record book. But as much as we love Bisquick, sometimes we crave something marginally healthier or that we can eat with friends who have dietary restrictions. And thus, sometimes we make banana-oat pancakes.Continue reading “Banana-Oat Pancakes (Gluten-free, Dairy-free)”
Belle received a children’s cookbook of global cuisine a while back, and has been obsessed with the idea of making “sprinkle balls” aka brigadeiros ever since. For whatever reason, this week was the week we finally made them. Let me tell you, this is the easiest recipe ever to use up all the remaining jars of sprinkles in your pantry. And/plus/also, it’s super tasty.Continue reading “Brigadeiros”
This winter has had more and better snowstorms than the past several years, so we hopped on a bandwagon a few weeks ago and made some ice cream out of fresh-fallen snow. It’s delicious. Also, it reminds me of Little House in the Big Woods, where Laura Ingalls Wilder had hot maple syrup over snow. I’ve been meaning to try that for probably thirty years, and this is as close as I’ve gotten.
Snow ice cream is best made with very fresh snow – not the snow that fell two days ago, not the first inch of snow (which knocks pollutants out of the air), not anything on top of driveways or manure or within range of the plow. We let it start snowing in the morning, then put a big stock pot out in the yard to catch the rest of the day’s snow. When the snow slowed in the afternoon and the pot was largely full, we topped it off and brought it inside.Continue reading “Snow Ice Cream”
Lest you ever think we have it all together, a series of chaotic events:
Differences between the plan and the execution:
- Apple cider doughnuts became carrot cake cupcakes
- Cupcakes became 6 jumbo cupcakes and 1 9″ cake
- Belle alone became Belle and Buddy
- Nothing ever got iced
Summer cottage woes: when we call Grammie and ask if there’s baking powder, no one thinks to check the best-by date. The can is probably five years old, since it was best by four years ago, and definitely has a very weak fizz when plopped into a cup of hot water. So our muffins didn’t really rise, but they taste fabulous – and it’s all about the process.
Baking powder is now on the shopping list, though, because I want today’s cookies to rise.
Belle and I spent most of this recipe debating whether anything with lemon was too sour – even if it was well mixed with sugar. She was willing to taste-test until the lemon juice got added to the batter; thereafter there was no convincing her that it wasn’t too sour to eat. (Buddy, on the other hand, happily licked any spoon sent his way.) I’ll admit it is frustrating to have a daughter who couldn’t care less about one of my favorite flavors. However, this debate did lead to a great discussion of what flavors we can taste on our tongues: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami/savory. We didn’t do any real experimenting with the flavors, but the following ingredients could explain them: sugar, lemon juice, salt, and baking soda – no umami-rich ingredients, alas.
Fine motor skills and patience were our other big targets. Grating lemon zest is a long process for little hands, but we practiced some sequencing and if-then-else statements: grate, check for yellow or white, if yellow, keep grating, if white or unclear, turn the lemon and start again.
Belle quickly got tired of the task, so I finished it for her. It still takes a while, so we kept her occupied separating out 24 cupcake liners and practicing counting, starting over every time we skipped 6. It requires using pincer grasp, though with a rubbing motion instead of a release.
After all the mixing and scooping, Belle spotted some sprinkles. We don’t hold on formality over here, so half our muffins got rainbow sprinkles!
Skills worked on:
- Balancing sweet and sour
- Balancing textures (dry vs moist)
- Flavor vocabulary
- Hand strength
- Fine motor (mixing, scooping)
- Food prep!
- 1 large mixing bowl (dry ingredients)
- 1 small mixing bowl (wet ingredients, then crumble)
- 2-3 small bowls (cracking eggs, collecting zest, reserving lemon juice)
- Whisk or fork
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Two spoons/scoop and spatula (dropping batter into muffin tins)
- Muffin cup liners (or blueberries will stick to pan)
- 2 regular muffin pans
This recipe comes from Saving Room for Dessert and didn’t require much adaption, though we skipped the glaze because it is sweet enough and takes long enough without. Because, as always, baking with toddlers takes three times as long.
The batter is very thick to help suspend the blueberries while baking – err on the side of slightly more liquid and slightly less dry ingredients when your toddler measures imperfectly.
If you use frozen blueberries, we recommend thawing, draining, salad spinning, and/or patting dry – the extra moisture will make the muffin fall apart around the fruit.
While the original recipe called for 18 muffins, we stretched it to 24 muffins. They are a little shorter than the original, which makes for better toddler serving sizes, but the muffin batter and topping divides without issue.
Recipe (60 min prep, 18 min bake, yield: 18-24 muffins):
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced (1 tbsp zest and 1/4 c juice for muffin; remainder reserved)
- 1 stick (1/2 c) butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 c sour cream
- 2 1/2 c flour
- 3/4 c sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 c blueberries (fresh)
- Reserved lemon: 1 tbsp zest (or more), 1 tbsp juice (not more)
- 1/2 stick (4 tbsp or 1/4 c) butter, melted
- 3/4 c flour
- 1/3 c sugar
- Zest 2 lemons and squeeze for juicing (aim for a little over 1/4 c). Set aside 1 tbsp juice for crumble topping.
- Melt 1/2 c (1 stick) butter in a small mixing bowl; let cool.
- Add to melted butter: 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp zest, 1/4 c lemon juice, 2 eggs. Whisk.
- Fold in 1 c sour cream. Set aside.
- In large mixing bowl, combine: 2 1/2 c flour, 3/4 c sugar, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt. Form a well and scrape in the lemon/sour cream mixture.
- Mix batter gently until ingredients are moistened.
- Fold in 1 1/2 c blueberries.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line 18-24 muffin cups. Use two spoons or an ice cream scoop to fill the cups. Let sit 15 min to settle into the cups – the thick batter needs to spread.
- Make the crumble topping: melt 1/4 c butter in a small bowl. Add 3/4 c flour, 1/3 c sugar, remaining zest, and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Mix thoroughly into unevenly sized crumbs.
- Use forks or fingers to spread crumbs over top of all the muffins.
- Bake 18 min in 400°F oven or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean or crumbly. Remove pans from oven and let cool for 5 min in pan then on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days, or refrigerate for a week.
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