One of our Summer “pot luck” activities involves each boy learning to bake a recipe of their choice.
The first to bake was my 9 year old and he chose to make banana bread. I probably make banana bread at least fortnightly. It is so simple and straightforward to make and it is impossible to fail at making banana bread – which is great since I am a pretty good cook but a pretty basic baker. I also like that banana bread uses up bananas that are so overripe and squishy that nobody is going to eat them so it prevents waste. I tend to make banana bread that contains either chunks of sticky date or chocolate chips but we had some surplus blueberries so my 9 year old decided to experiment with making banana and blueberry bread. It was pretty tasty and very sweet.
Next to bake was my seven year old. He elected to make Dulce de Leche chocolate cake from the Hungry Mum blog. Last time I made it, it was no chocolatey enough – though still delicious – but I have since got my hands on some better, more robust cocoa which made all the difference. My youngest did not have his patience tested making the actual dulce de leche: I already had one in reserve as I boil up several cans at once to speed baking up and then store them, labels off, ready for use. He was a great little pastry chef and followed the instructions given. His reward was getting to lick the spoons and bowl clean. We did end up overfilling the loaf tin but, since it was silicone, happily it expanded during cooking to accommodate the expanding cake batter. It was scrumptious and very sweet.
My 10 year old chose to make Tablet. Tablet – if you have not hear of it – is an incredibly sweet Scottish confection made from milk, sugar, and condensed milk. It is so sweet it makes teeth scream and gums cry. I do not, therefore, make it very often. However, I made some for my ten year old not so long ago as he was delivering a presentation to his class all about Greek mythology and decided that they should sample Tablet as a stand-in for Ambrosia. Imagine Zeus nibbling on Tablet?
Tablet is actually pretty simple to make. The real hassle is that it requires constant stirring for up to half an hour. The kids got fed up of stirring a pot of very hot sugary goop after approximately five minutes. This cooking stuff is hard labour, don’t you know!
It turned out we went a bit awry in our process (I said it was simple but apparently it is not foolproof) and probably let the sugar boil into too much of a syrup. The result was that when the tablet set it did so in a way that was still sticky rather than it becoming firm and smooth like fudge. Never mind. Since this batch could not be eaten as a bite size snack, we just had to turn it into dessert and serve it with vanilla ice cream.
Last but not least was my 13 year old son. Since he is older and a little more experienced, I selected a slightly more complicated recipe to work through with him. We made Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, a recipe I found on Cooking is My Sport. We found it a little challenging because I don’t own a mixer so we had to do everything by hand and the dough mixture became quite dense. He certainly worked his arm muscles stirring. I must admit that I was worried that we had allowed the butter to get too brown but my concern was unfounded as the finished cookies were absolutely divine. The flavour was incredible and they were just the perfect balance of chewy and crisp. I heartily recommend the recipe.
I think you have some master chefs in the making. Cute pictures.
I do hope so. I would love to be sit back and be fed without having to cook.
Now I have an urge for a little bit of a sweet to go with my a.m. coffee! Looks like all of the Pictlings did a wonderful job with their baking efforts. (I looked up a tablet recipe, never having heard of it, and it looks an awful lot like my mother’s fudge recipe – just throw in another stick of butter and 24 ounces of chocolate chips and you have enough sugar to melt your teeth.)
Thanks, Ellie. Yes, tablet is incredibly sweet. It’s impossible to eat more than a little at a time.
Those last cookies look the best! I had never heard of tablet. I bet it would make my gums cry, as you say. Your 9 yr old looks just like you, but they are all so cute. How blessed you are!
Thank you, Kerbey. The 9 year old certainly has my coloring but actually it’s my 7 year old who looks most like wee me. Those browned butter cookies are incredible. I highly recommend the recipe.
One word. Yum. Congrats to all.
Sounds like you got some delicious treats to sample – plus some exercise with all that mixing too.
Thanks, Joy. It was good fun and very indulgent.
Oh your sons are amazing! What fun activities you have together!
Thank you. It keeps us all out of mischief.
Wonderful and handsome little bakers!
You’ve done them proud by teaching them this life skill–no one has ever gone hungry or lonely that bakes.
Thanks. I like that idea of baking preventing loneliness as well as hunger. 😀
Yay for baking kiddos! They all look so very proud of their masterpieces. I bet energy is running high with lots of sugary choices to choose from these past few days. Sugar high galore!
Thanks, Carrie. We actually spaced these out over a longer time period so it was roughly one a week.
Oh YUM! The Beasties and I are definitely coming to your house for tea 😀 And tablet-and-vanilla ice cream? You could be on to something there!
The creaminess of the ice cream really works a treat with the sugariness of the tablet. I recommend it.
ON IT! It’s been a while since I last had tablet, so it’s only right and proper that I celebrate my Scottish heritage and make some!
Must have been a joyful experience 🙂
Thanks. I think a lot of the joy came from the consumption but they did also have fun creating.