If you want to go fast, go alone.If you want to go far, go together. (Anon)
My mother taught me how to bake. Mixing, sifting, measuring, greasing and lining, I learned all the tricks to making sweet treats in my mother’s kitchen. Some of my most precious childhood memories involve me, my mother, a spatula, and a messy mixing bowl that I got to lick clean as a treat for helping each time.
This probably explains why I’ve made baking with my own girls a priority – I make something with our toddler and pre-schooler at least once a week. I asked my eldest what she liked most about baking the other day. She answered, “It’s our special time Mummy.” Which made my heart smile, truly. Because as I’ve negotiated the mess and hilarity of being in the kitchen with young children, I seem to have stumbled upon a safe and fun place to connect with them, and share my world with them.
This gingerbread recipe is really simple to make and perfect for involving little hands. It’s also a one bowl wonder, meaning less mess for Mummy to clean up after everything’s in the oven. Winner! It’s actually a tweaked version of an Ella’s Kitchen recipe from their wonderful “the Big Baking Book“, so all thanks and credit to them. I’m trying to maintain my last pregnancy’s low Glycemic Index efforts and teach the kids that you can still make yummy stuff without refined sugar. So I used their version as a starting point, swapping white and wholemeal flour for sprouted spelt flour (we use this one) because it’s easier on the tummy, and golden syrup and muscovado sugar for maple syrup, which is still essentially a sugar but has traces of minerals and other health benefits. (As an aside, I’m starting to experiment with lower glycemic index swaps for most recipes with success on the most part, which has been hugely liberating!) I think I’ll be attempting a batch with less syrup soon though to see if the flavour is still great without so much of a sugar kick.
My girls seem to enjoy mixing the ingredients most, potentially because they sneak mouthfuls in when they think I’m not looking. They also love sprinkling flour for rolling on and pitching in with the rolling and cutting, often with dubious results. I’ve learned to focus less on the end result and more on enjoying the moment (and mess!) when in the kitchen with my two, so our bakes always include odd shapes when it comes to cookies. My priority is ensuring we all pitch in and have fun together. I’ve also made my peace with the fact that a significant amount of the raw ingredients end up on the floor or in their tummies.
Anyhow, the recipe is below. Hope it’s as fun for you to make with your little crew as it is for me.
TOP TIP: If you have a garden, you could prep your ingredients beforehand, and take everything you need outside so that there’s less mess in the kitchen to clear up when you are done.
What recipes do you enjoy making with your little ones? Do share, I’d love to hear from you.
EASY GINGERBREAD (NO REFINED SUGAR)
- 80 g unsalted butter, softened
- 100 g maple syrup
- 2 egg yolks
- 250 g sprouted spelt flour (or any flour of your choice)
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- Heat oven to 180 degrees.
- Chuck your wet ingredients in, give them a good stir, then follow with your dry ingredients. If I'm in a hurry I use the dough arm on our food processor. Otherwise I give both of my daughters a wooden spoon and instruct them to "mix mix mix!" Either way, keep mixing until you end up with something that looks like dough.
- Once the dough comes together, pat it into a ball, roll it in greaseproof paper or bees wrap and put it in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes. My kids are often to impatient to leave it for that long.
- Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. This is where my two can get a bit slap happy with sprinkling flour and whacking the dough with a rolling pin. Use biscuit cutters to make your chosen shapes, and carefully line up your baking efforts on greaseproof paper on a baking tray.
- Pop in the oven and cook for ten minutes, or until slightly darker in colour.
- Once done, let your gingerbread creations to cool on the baking sheet before transferring them to a rack.
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