I’ve always loved baking. There’s something wonderful about getting all the ingredients ready and watching everything come together. And of course, eating it all afterwards! In this blog, I’ve included some easy baking recipes.
For me, baking means slowing down and spending time with my children. I’ve selected recipes which are easy to make with children and don’t take too long to bake in the oven.
Baking can involve children of all ages. Little children may just enjoy rolling out biscuit dough or decorating cooked biscuits with icing. Older children can learn to follow a recipe, weigh and measure the ingredients and see baking as an exciting science experiment! My children loved timing things in the oven so we bought a timer which they could set and be in charge of.
The cakes are mini and ‘bite sized’, as are the jam thumbprint biscuits. The fudge and chocolate fridge cake can be cut up into whatever size you choose.
Chocolate Fridge Cake by Annabel Karmel:
- 250g (8oz) digestive biscuits
- 150g (5oz) milk chocolate
- 150g (5oz) dark chocolate
- 100g (3½oz) unsalted butter
- 150g (5oz) golden syrup
- 100g (3½oz) dried apricots, chopped
- 75g (2½oz) raisins
- 60g (2oz) pecans, chopped (optional)
- Use cling film to line a 20cm (8in) shallow, square-shaped tin. Leave extra cling film hanging over the sides.
- Bash the biscuits into pieces using a rolling pin. (Put them in a plastic bag first so they don’t go everywhere!)
- Melt chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the broken biscuits, apricots, raisins and pecans (optional).
- Spoon the mixture into the tin. Level the surface by pressing it down with a potato masher.
- Leave to cool, then put the chocolate mixture in the fridge for 1-2 hours to set.
- Turn out the cake and peel off the cling film. Cut the cake into 12 squares and enjoy!
Marshmallows, honeycomb and meringues all work well as alternative fillings – just chop them into small chunks and mix in with the melted chocolate mixture.
Gingerbread People by Rachel Allen:
- 300g (11oz) butter
- 125g (4½oz) caster sugar
- 125g (4½oz) soft dark brown sugar
- 225g (8oz) golden syrup or treacle
- 725g (1lb 9oz) plain flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the icing for the gingerbread people:
- 175g (6oz) icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp boiling water
For decorating the gingerbread people:
- Chocolate buttons
- Gold or silver balls
- Anything else!
- Preheat the oven to 180⁰C (350⁰F), Gas mark 4. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter together with the sugars and golden syrup or treacle. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add the melted butter and sugar and mix together.
- Knead the mixture for a few seconds until it comes together, adding a teaspoon or so of water if necessary, but without allowing it to get too wet. Flatten the dough slightly into a round about 2cm (¾in) thick, wrap with cling film and place in the fridge for 30 mins.
- To make the gingerbread people, remove the dough from the fridge, dust the work surface with flour and roll all of the dough out to about 5mm (¼in) thick. Cut out the shapes using cutters, transfer onto the baking trays and cook in the oven for 12 minutes, until they are slightly firm, a little darker at the edges and slightly drier on top. Allow the shapes to firm up for a few minutes , then place them on a wire rack to cool. When they have cooled, they can be iced, if you wish.
- To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the water. Beat until the icing comes together, adding a little more water if necessary. (Be careful not to add too much or the icing will be too runny.)
All-in-one sponge by Delia Smith:
Makes approximately 45 mini (bite sized) cakes.
- 110g (4oz) self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 110g (4oz) soft margarine or butter, at room temperature
- 110g (4oz) caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2-3 drops of vanilla essence
- Pre-heat the oven to 170⁰C (325⁰F), Gas mark 3.
- Take a large roomy mixing bowl, and sift flour and baking powder into it, holding the sieve high to give the flour a good airing.
- Add all the other ingredients to the bowl, and whisk them till thoroughly combined. If the mixture doesn’t drop off a wooden spoon easily when tapped on the side of the bowl, then add 1 or 2 teaspoons of tap-warm water, and whisk again.
- Put approximately 1-2 teaspoons of cake mixture into each mini cupcake paper case (the cases should be half full)
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes.
Glace icing by Rachel Allen:
- 200g (7oz) icing sugar
- About 2 tbsp boiling water
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add some of the boiling water and stir to mix, adding a little more boiling water if necessary, until the icing is spreadable but not too watery.
Makes 16-18 biscuits.
- 125g (4oz) butter or margarine, at room temperature
- 75g (3oz) caster sugar
- a few drops of vanilla extract
- 150g (5oz) plain flour, sifted
- 8 tbsp jam
- In a bowl, cream butter and sugar together till pale and fluffy. Then mix in vanilla extract and flour with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170⁰C (325⁰F), Gas mark 3.
- Using your hands, roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Press your thumb gently into the centre of each to flatten slightly and make an indentation. Fill each with a little jam – about ½ tsp.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, till golden brown around the edges – they will firm up as they cool. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
- 397g (1 can) Condensed Milk
- 400g Milk Chocolate (Roughly Chopped)
- 25g Butter
- 100g Dark Muscovado Sugar
For the Decoration
- 2 x 40g Bars of Cadbury’s Crunchie Chocolate Bars
- Lightly butter a 20cm square baking tin, line with baking parchment and set to one side. Spoon the condensed milk into a large, heavy based saucepan and add the milk chocolate, butter and sugar.
- Gently heat, stirring all the time until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. This should take around 5 minutes.
- Carefully tip the hot mixture into the prepared tin and level off the top. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Place the Crunchie bars in a food bag and gently bash with a rolling pin into nice chunks. Scatter over the fudge and gently press down so that it stays in place. Chill for an hour or overnight until firm. Cut into 2cm x 4 cm pieces and serve.
Happy baking and hope you have lots of fun.