Baking with tots…trick or treat brownies

I am a mother.

Not a great one, mind you, but I am still a mom.  I also tend to get annoyed when my little boy, only two years old, is underfoot when I am in the kitchen trying to bake.  It seems no matter which corner of the kitchen I am in, he’s right there. Right. There.  Normally, I fuss, and shoo him back to the living room, where toys abound and Yo Gabba Gabba is blaring, but he inevitably ends up back underfoot. I know I can’t be the only one that this happens to.  You, too?

Even though I had cake orders to work on on Monday, I changed up my attitude.  Why not let him help?  My cake was baked and was cooling, the icing was made and ready whenever I was.  So I had a little downtime.  Here’s our conversation. (Yes, I talk to him as if he is an adult, learning a new language, never baby talk. I will repeat whatever I need to say as many times as he needs to hear it, and I will also ask him to repeat anything I don’t understand instead of prompting him. I think it has reaaalllly expanded his vocabulary. Just saying. No, I am not an expert…this has just worked for US.)

“Seven?  Do you want to make Daddy something to eat?

“Uh huh.Yeeees.”

“What do you want to make your Daddy?”

“Brownies. Biiiig brownies.”

“Brownies?  Okay.  Cakey or gooey?”

“Gooey! And Candy!”

The child is a genius, I tell you.  He probably didn’t mean for us to cut up lots of his Halloween candy bars, but that’s what we did.  What a fantastic way to get rid of that bucket full of sin! Seriously?…Genius.

For our recipe, I simply used a  brownie recipe that I knew was pretty fudgy on it’s own, but added in lots of chocolate syrup and reduced the amount of water.  You could always use a box mix if you wanted and get the same effect – it’s all about being together with your child.

The very first thing I did was put him in a little blue cowboy apron Mom made.  Too cute!  He wanted me to wear an apron, too, which I of course did, as I am rarely in the kitchen without one. Then I let him pick out the spoon he wanted to use.  He really seemed to get a kick out of being allowed to use “Mommy Spoons”…and I was happy to oblige.

I measured out our needed ingredients, as well as cracked the eggs (which he thought was hilarious for some reason and cackled), but I let him mix all of it himself. He poured each of the ingredients into the mixing bowl, and he stirred the entire batch up on his own. I did incorporate what little bits he missed, but he really did a great job on his own.  Oh, and the syrup?  He loved squeezing in the syrup. You’d have thought I hung the moon.

Once mixed, I opened up several of the trick or treat candy bars – a couple of Twix, some 3 Musketeers, some Hershey Bars – whatever looked good – then chopped it up.  The Little Man scooped most of it into the bowl (some didn’t make it past his mouth) and then we stirred again.

I let him spray the loaf pan, and then I poured the batter in.  I let him push the buttons to set the timer – 1 hour and 10 minutes, he licked the spoon a lot,  and then we went off to nap.

As soon as he woke up, his first question was “Where Daddy’s Brownies? I lick ‘em.” And he told everyone that we encountered that afternoon that he made brownies. And that he licked the spoon.

To be honest, I didn’t realize that he was that adept.  I imagined a huge mess, and a fight on my hands each step of the way.  So I was thrilled to see how well he did and how much he got into it. It was a great way for us to spend time together, and I am so glad I took the time to try.

Believe it or not, I have a few memories of my very early childhood…some as early as 18 months old.  And I wonder, will Seven have similar memory retention?  If so, do I really want his memory to be of me being aggravated and short with him for being a toddler? Or, will he remember our time together making Daddy Brownies?

I really hope it’s the brownies.  I’m going to keep working on that.

I hope if nothing else, this post has encouraged you to take a time out and try baking with your little one. Yes, I know it’s a bit of a hassle, but it really does mean so much.  They want to be LIKE YOU.  How long will that last? How many other people do you know that look up to you that much?  Please give it a shot…I think you’ll be glad you did.

Do you have special things you do with your toddler in the kitchen? If so, I would love to know.  Please share!  Oh yeah…If you want a toddler apron, tell me! We have lots of cute fabrics and the kids look so precious in them! If anyone is interested, I will list a couple in my Etsy Shop. Say the word! 

Trick Or Treat Brownies

Ingredients
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup Chocolate Syrup
  • 6-8 Snack Sized Candy Bars

Preheat oven to 325F.

Melt Chocolate and butter in small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until well combined

Add flour, salt, chocolate syrup and chocolate mixture and blend well.

Chop up candy bars and add to mixture.

Pour into prepared (greased) loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. These are very gooey brownies, but the edges will be thick and set and the center, though gooey, will hold it’s shape when cut.  Brownies are done when the batter no longer wiggles when shaken.  It is better to pull a little early versus leaving them in too long. Enjoy!