On February 13, you can bet your bottom dollar that half the moms in America will be busy. Odds are they’ll either be knee-deep in cupcake batter and cookie dough or dashing to the nearest bakery for a pinch-hitting box of Valentine treats for classroom parties the next day.
Here’s a better idea—give your kids a true Valentine (and yourself a break) and let them pitch in on the making and baking. Here are our top five desserts for making sweet Valentine memories with your kids, plus a few tips to help keep the spills and messes to a minimum.
Tips for Sweet Success
- Counters and kitchen islands weren’t made with 8-year-olds in mind—have a booster seat or stool in place for pint-sizers.
- Teachable moments come naturally in the kitchen, so take advantage of them. Measuring teaches math and baking chemistry and science; following a recipe enhances reading and memory skills; decorating cookies and cupcakes nurtures creativity.
- Reinforce the importance of kitchen safety at every turn, from the importance of washing hands to wearing oven mitts before handling hot pans.
- Match the task to the kid. A 6-year-old may not be able to handle mixing, baking and frosting a layer cake, but she or he can likely put together a yogurt or pudding parfait.
- Messes are part of cooking. Teach young ones not to cry over spilled milk or chocolate…just clean it up! Teaching kids to clean as they cook will make it easier for everyone once the fun is over.
- Kids learn by doing, including cooking. Sure, you know that over-mixing brownie batter results in a too-cakey confection, but kids don’t know that. Teach as you go and be patient when explaining new techniques to little beginners.
—By Stacey Norwood, Relish Multimedia Editor