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Advice

Ask a Jewish Foodie: Is It Really Possible to Bake with Toddlers?

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Shannon Sarna, editor of the Nosher and mother of a very cute toddler is here to take on your food-related questions. Here’s the first!

Question

I used to bake hamantaschen every year with my grandmother. She passed away before my two adorable twin cousins were born, but I know she would be pretty pleased to see me baking hamantaschen with them. I would like to do this, but they are rambunctious 3.5-year-old boys. Are they too young to bake with me? What are your pro-tips for baking with toddlers?

Answer

Well the short answer is: Yes! Absolutely, you can bake with even crazy toddlers. I do it weekly.

Prepping is important, and I recommend having some dough already prepped when they arrive to start rolling, cutting, and filling right away.

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Make sure to have a big selection of kid-friendly fillings (fluff, jam, chocolate chips, etc.) all laid out where they can see, and fun toppings like sprinkles, store-bought icing, or even crushed-up cookies and candy. Kids love sprinkles on just about anything.

Since you want to bake with two kids at the same time, make sure you have two of everything: two rolling pins, two cookie cutters, two bowls–and spoons if you are mixing.

Props make it more fun. Kids love dressing up, so get them their own aprons or even chef hats to get them more excited. You could also buy them their own spatula or kid-sized rolling pin.

Be patient! You are not going to make masterpiece hamantaschen with twin toddlers. But if you are relaxed and just go with the flow, it can be fun. And hopefully you will produce something vaguely edible.

Resign yourself to the fact that your kitchen will be a mess. You can buy a disposable plastic table cover and put on top of the counter or table to help with clean up, but there will be chocolate fingerprints on your walls, and flour and sprinkles all over the floor. Just go into the endeavor with the right attitude.

Treat this like grocery shopping and make sure they eat beforehand. Don’t let them start a baking project if they haven’t eaten a healthful lunch first. And don’t let them eat too many cookies afterwards. No one will be happy with that kind of sugar rush.

My mother-in-law always warns that baking projects with kids means there will be boogers and god knows what else in the creations, so maybe don’t eat the final product.

Have a question for Shannon? Submit your cooking, baking, and eating-related questions to ssarna@70facesmedia.org

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