Decorating biscuits and cakes is a great introduction to cooking with kids. It offers a wide range of opportunities to learn new skills. For example, children have the chance to explore weights, measurements and food hygiene.
Make sure that you begin with the ingredients you need close to hand.
Choose a time when you are all relaxed and happy otherwise cooking with kids quickly becomes fraught and stressful. All crafts for kids should be instructive, fun and special time together.
If you are making your own biscuits to decorate, use the simplest recipe you can find. Save more complicated ideas for older children or more accomplished cooks. When you start cooking with kids, keep to the basics. A good recipe to try is:
- 100g/4oz Butter or margarine
- 50g/2oz Caster sugar
- 175g/6oz Self-raising flour
Start by heating the oven to 150°C/300°F Gas 2
Cream the butter or margarine together until the mix is pale and smooth.
Add the flour and mix until you have a ball of dough.
Roll the dough into a disc about 5-6mm thick.
Now the children can make the biscuits using lots of different shaped cutters. The shapes could even fit in with a chosen theme.
Arrange the biscuits onto a floured baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes, until the biscuits are an appealing golden brown colour.
Make sure the biscuits are completely cooled before you attempt to decorate them.
If you feel that this recipe isn’t for you, you can still have plenty of fun decorating biscuits you have bought. Good choices are plain digestives. Always think about making crafts for kids more enjoyable by taking wise shortcuts.
Now for the really good bit! You’ll need to start by making a simple icing for the biscuits.
Combine 1 tablespoon of water with every 10g (3 ½ oz) icing sugar. When you have mixed into a smooth paste, you may wish to add a few drops of food colouring. You could divide the icing into separate pots and make several different colours.
Another nice effect is ‘marbled’ icing. When you add the colouring, only stir the colour in very lightly to give a marbled look.
Kids love smearing the sticky mess onto their biscuits, once they are happy with this, they can adorn their creations with things like:
- Hundreds and thousands
- Sugar sweets or jelly beans
- Chocolate buttons and sweets
- Glace cherries
- For words and letters you can buy ready mixed icing in a rainbow of colours loaded into icing ‘pens’. These are available in nearly all supermarkets.
Make jam sandwich biscuits by spreading one biscuit with jam or chocolate spread. Add another biscuit and decorate as above.
Create a ‘spider biscuit’! Use a small plate as a base for your food collage. Cover the biscuit with ‘black’ or dark icing and use unwound liquorice wheels for the eight legs. Finish by adding eyes with sweets or icing pens and lots of curly swirls for a nice, hairy creature.
Kids also enjoy decorating cakes like fairy cakes or mini muffins. Buy these readymade or use your own simple mixture.
Measure out the following:
- 100g/ 4oz Self-raising flour
- 100g/4oz Sugar (caster or granulated will do)
- 100g/4oz margarine
- 2 eggs
Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl until you have a smooth mixture.
Spoon the mixture into paper cases in a bun tray. Place into an oven preheated to 180°C, 350°F for about 15-20 minutes until the cakes are nicely risen and golden.
When the cakes are cool, you are ready to start the cake decoration. They can be decorated with the same ideas for biscuits. It’s a chance for the kids to really go to town with their imagination.
Cake decoration and biscuit icing are a really good place to start when trying out cooking with kids. Simple ideas for cooking with kids are perfect activities if you have a small party of young friends who visit for tea.
Cooking together is great fun with some delicious and impressive end results. It’s important to encourage a love of cooking and food preparation when children are young. Hopefully, it will lead to important life skills and an appreciation of healthy eating and nutrition.