As our toddler is now over two years old she is keen to do things and she wants to help us with everything. We want to encourage her with this by thinking up activities that she can get involved in that help her to learn and develop. Part of this is kitchen-based activities, such as baking cakes.
Today we made chocolate button muffins. It’s a variation on a recipe we found that uses chocolate chips and nuts but we have so many white chocolate buttons in the cupboard that we tweaked the recipe a little.
Last week we made fairy cakes with a very simple recipes using 4x4x4x4 (4oz of every ingredient mixed together and baked for 20 minutes). This recipe makes 12 muffins and is one of many easy recipes for a toddler to help with. It’s so easy for a parent to do as well, so an extra pair of little hands getting involved is no inconvenience.
- 2 cups plain/ all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup light-brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (essence)
- 1 pack (11 ½ oz. milk chocolate chips
- ½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
There are 12 simple steps to follow that do not include anything technical or skillful so get your aprons on and get stuck in…
Preheat the oven to 440º f
Grease twelve muffin cases – You can use this step as a counting game for your toddler. Get them to try and count out as they put a case into each space on a muffin baking tray. I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to grease the cases first, it may just make it a little easier later on. You can see in the photo that we had regular paper cases, apart from two at the end. They are silicone muffin cases that are part of a Dora the Explorer baking set for kids. We weren’t allowed to get away with not using them!
In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugars, baking powder and salt – Something that is quite important in baking with flour is to double sift, yet people either forget or just don’t know. Using a sieve, sift the flour into another bowl then back into the first bowl. This introduces air into the flour after it has been allowed to sit in the packet for weeks or months.
This can be fun for a toddler as they get to bang the sieve with their hand and watch the flour fall below. Maybe you could sing a rhyme or song as they gently tap the sieve with their hand. If you let your helper spoon the ingredients out, be careful that they don’t put too much in by mistake. We let our little girl put the baking powder into the flour but only after loading the spoon for her. After you have done this, simply use a spoon to mix the dry ingredients together.
In a separate bowl, stir together the milk, eggs, butter and vanilla – There is no skill to this bit, just throw them all into the bowl and mix them up. It probably isn’t a good idea to let your toddler crack the eggs as you may end up with eggshell as an extra ingredient in your muffins.
I would suggest that you use an electric mixer for this bit as using a spoon will take longer and will take more effort. A ‘whizzy’ thing that makes a noise is way more fun for a toddler, especially if you let them hold on with you while they mix.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and combine the milk mixture – Now comes the fun bit. Slowly, bit by bit, add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Using a spoon gently fold, stir and mix until all the ingredients are combined into a smooth batter. It can be nice to use a figure of eight pattern as you mix; use a saying or phrase as you complete each part of the pattern, repeating each time with your toddler. Try to make everything a bit of fun as you go. It keeps them interested and involved.
Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts (or your chosen flavours. We used white chocolate buttons) – This is the bit where your measure may reduce slightly. Who can’t resist the temptation to try just a couple of the best bits before they go into the mix? Try not to use too much of whatever you choose and stick with a similar measure to that in the ingredients above.
When all the ingredients are well mixed, spoon the mixture into the muffin cases – This can be a bit messy so a steady hand is required to avoid spillage all over the tray. If you have made the batter correctly you should have enough to fill 12 muffin cases. Fill them to just below the top and you should be OK.
Bake the muffins in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until a clean knife pushed into the centers comes out clean – Keep an eye on your muffins after 5 – 10 minutes, as they may need turning depending on how efficient your oven is. Ours browned on one side more than the other so we simply turned them after about 10 minutes.
Remove the muffin tin and place on a wire rack to cool – After turning our tray in the oven the muffins were given another 5 – 10 minutes. They had risen over the top of the case, they were golden brown in color and I could see the chocolate had partially melted through the tops. They smelt out of this world and we couldn’t wait to try them.
Remove the muffins from the tin and ENJOY!