Summer baking with children and young people
Over the weeks of the summer holidays, we’re giving you some ideas of what you can get up to with children and young people during August. This might be your own family, or with a group as part of some summer outreach. Whatever the context, you’re likely to have a bit more time to spend together, so why not try something different and more ambitious!
This week, it’s baking! As I write this, even though it’s the summer, it’s dull, cold and pouring with rain. On days like these, time at home or organised church activities can seem a bit less joyful than when the sun’s out. But it’s nothing a slice of cake won’t solve.
You don’t need to be a Bake Off winner to give baking a go. All you need are the right ingredients (which are pretty cheap) and the ability to follow a recipe. Baking is a fun activity to do together, and you also have the benefit of being able to eat the results of your work! Not only that, but you’re helping children and young people to develop skills that will be useful in later life. There are so many baking books and websites that it can be hard to know where to start, so here are a few of my favourites.
Gingerbread is a great thing to try, as you can have fun decorating the results, and be ambitious enough to build your own gingerbread house! A basic recipe is all you need, and this one is a good one.
Having a plain biscuit recipe is handy, as you can adapt it to make lots of different kinds. Use this one and add whatever you’ve got – sandwich plain biscuits with jam or buttercream; add chocolate chips, spices or orange zest; cut into different shapes and decorate with coloured icing.
Cookies can be wonderful and chewy (particularly when they’re freshly baked!), and a frozen dough recipe (such as the third one on this page) means you can bake together even if you don’t have much time. Make the dough beforehand and put it into the freezer, then take out and slice however many cookies you need!
Cupcakes are simple and you can decorate them with icing, buttercream and more. This Hummingbird recipe is a basic one, with the extra fun of making honeycomb (though you can crush up a Crunchie if hot sugar isn’t your thing!).
If you want to let your children or young people loose on decorating a cake, you’ll need a firm cake that won’t collapse under the weight of icing, buttercream and other decorations! A madeira cake would do the job and who better than Delia?!
The process of making bread can be a real eye-opener for children and young people if they’ve never done it before. If you have a few hours together, you can try your hand at a simple white bread recipe. You’ll have fun kneading the dough, and this might be a good place for deeper chat to happen. When you’re more confident, try more complex recipes! (This is my favourite – it’s on pages 8–9 of the sample.)
If you’re shorter on time, try soda bread. It uses bicarbonate of soda instead of yeast, so doesn’t require hours to rise!