Some more, please: Baking made easy... really

2011-05-26 07:47

Baking – not really my thing, too much precise measuring to be done. I am much more of a chuck-it-in-and-see-what-happens sort of a cook.

Basically, I don’t like taking instructions and read my vast collection of cookbooks more as suggestions or as a starting point for a meal.

But, baking is by far the best place to start when cooking with toddlers, I have discovered. I have talked the toddler through a basic bolognaise sauce, but she can’t do much more than look on and nod uncomprehendingly with all the knife-action necessary for success.

So, this weekend, to keep her from dashing around the garden and making her cold – probably the first of a dozen lined up for her this winter – worse, I decided to dust off my cake tins and dig out my natty (unused) set of measuring spoons.

A quick flick through 101 Fuss-free Bakes and I had two possible starter biscuits – peanut butter and the exotic sounding Japanese oat crisps.

Chosen, not for taste or reference to foreign climes, but because they call for few ingredients and absolutely no skill. Also, both have at least one healthy ingredient – peanut butter and oats, respectively.

After an unexpected trip to the supermarket – my stuffed-to-bulging pantry cupboard had no space for cake flour and I haven’t bought white sugar since I, well, last baked.

A wooden spoon, a big bowl and six ingredients later – the biscuit mixture was so easy, I thought I had done something inedibly wrong – but not, it was just that easy.

Ten minutes easy. In fact it took longer to roll the batter into walnut-sized balls for baking than it did to combine the six ingredients.

Complete with the 10 minutes baking time and the cooling-down period – the toddler (who frankly wasn’t very helpful) and I had completed the baking experience, and the washing up in less than 40 minutes.

Not very helpful if you are trying to turn it into a morning’s entertainment, but on the glass-half-full side of things – if you haven’t any thing for tea and guests arriving in less than an hour, all is not lost.

(Unless the weevils bake more than you do, then you’ll have to factor in a trip to the shop for flour.)
Japanese oat crisps:
200g butter
375ml white sugar
250ml rolled oats
500ml cake flour
5ml bicarbonate of soda
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

Melt the butter. Chuck the sugar, oats, four and bicarb in a bowl. Stir in the butter and the lightly beaten egg. Done. Roll it into walnut-sized balls and put them on a baking tray in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 180 degrees.

So easy it’s ridiculous. I think I’ll have to up my difficulty levels to keep the toddler in the kitchen for longer.

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