Baking With Kids

  • 0
  • January 22, 2015

Baking With Kids

When you invite your child in your kitchen, you are giving them positive food experiences with healthy foods that will last them a lifetime. During our after school cooking classes at Y.U.M. Chefs, we give children age appropriate cooking tasks so that it is safe and matches their skill level.

During class we highlight seasonal vegetables in nearly every lesson. Last week, we featured broccoli. In the beginning of class, some kids said “yuck” the moment we excitedly held up the broccoli crowns when talking about the menu for the day. We let each child taste the broccoli raw – some liked it, while some didn’t. We had the children chop up the florets and toss them with olive oil and salt on a baking dish and we roasted them. They came out of the oven slightly crispy. Most of the kids gobbled it up like popcorn and exclaimed that they liked the crispy broccoli. Even the kids who “yucked” the broccoli at least tried it by the end of class. We taught the kids about how cooking the broccoli changes the texture and flavor, and even if you don’t like a certain vegetable in its raw state you might like it cooked. We have found that when you create a positive experience for the kids, even if its just letting them touch the broccoli, smell it, try it raw, chop it up – they are more willing to taste it, and give it another chance. It becomes a fun activity. We don’t lecture about nutrition in class, we embrace the fun of cooking with vegetables, which is the first step in getting your kids used to trying new foods.  

In my book “Baking with Kids” I offer some helpful tips called “for smaller hands” that parents decide which tasks to give to young children (aged 5-7). These tips have been tested in my four years of teaching cooking classes, and I have found that they create a positive experience for both the parent and child. Parents of students in my classes have even told me that their kids actually help them put dinner on the table faster by helping with small tasks. Being in the kitchen together can naturally spark conversations about how to make healthy food choices. And its fun!

Baking with Kids is just the book you need to help teach children to bake. Show your children how to safely use basic equipment in the kitchen and explain all about the important ingredients they’ll need to make the most delicious baked goods. Recipes include muffins, scones, breads, pretzels, crackers, pizza dough, pie crust, cake, cookies, cupcakes, and more! In the book you’ll find activities with simple step-by-step photo illustrations that will guide kids through each recipe and inspire creativity throughout.

The following recipe for the seasonal winter Orange Pomegranate scones is a fun and delicious recipe from my book, Baking with Kids. Pomegranates are healthy and beautiful fruits. The kids love collecting the jewel like arils for the recipe – just make sure they wear an apron as it can stain clothing!


Pomegranates are filled with arils that are like ruby-red jewels. Children love to help break open the pomegranates, because it’s like lifting the lid on a treasure chest. Both beautiful and tasty, pomegranates are also a great source of antioxidants. The combination  and pomegranates is a delicious way to utilize winter fruits.

1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (90 g) whole wheat pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup (50 g) sugar
zest of 1 orange
pinch of salt
5 tablespoons (70 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
2 or 3 oranges, freshly squeezed to make
½ cup (120 ml) juice (be sure to juice the one you zest!)
¼ cup (60 g) whole milk yogurt
¾ cup (120 g) pomegranate arils
1 egg
1 tablespoon (15 ml) water
Tools Needed:
measuring cups and spoons
liquid measuring cup
large bowlmedium bowl
small bowl
microplane zester
citrus juicer
baking sheet
parchment paper
knife or bench scraper
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, sugar, orange zest, and salt. Add the butter and toss it with the flour until the butter is completely coated. (A) Using a pastry cutter, 2 butterknives, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is crumbly with pea-size chunks. Stir in the orange juice and yogurt until just blended.

3. Removing Arils from PomegranatesTo remove the arils from a pomegranate, score the pomegranate around the diameter of the fruit. Working over a bowl to catch the red juice, pull apart the two halves. (Pomegranate juice can stain clothing and counters, so always wear an apron and work over a bowl.) Now use your fingers to gently pull the arils from the white pith of each half. They will fall out easily with little force.

4. Sprinkle a light dusting of flour over the work surface and turn out the dough. Press the dough into a rectangle until it is about ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Into one-third of the dough, press ¼ cup (40 g) of the pomegranate arils. Press another third of the dough over the pomegranates. Sprinkle another ¼ cup (40 g) of arils over this second layer, pressing them into the dough. Add the final third of dough on top, dotting it with the remaining ¼ cup (40 g) of pomegranate arils.

5. For Smaller HandsHave children sprinkle the pomegranate arils evenly, and after you center the dough, have the child
gently press the layers together.

6. Cut your scones into triangles or squares, or use cookie or biscuit cutters. Gently combine the scraps and cut out more scones. Note that smaller scones will take less time to bake. Place the scones onto the prepared baking sheet.
For Smaller Hands:
Have children help cut the scones. Use a bench scraper to mark the dough with cutting guidelines to
make sure the scone sizes are consistent.5 For the egg wash, whisk together the egg and water and brush the wash over the top of the scones.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a serving dish.
Yields 8-12 scones.

Leah Brooks is the founder of Young Urban Modern Chefs (Y.U.M. Chefs), a San Francisco cooking school for kids. Y.U.M. Chefs holds classes, summer camps, and birthday parties for hundreds of children a year in its kitchen/classroom in the Mission District. Their focus is on changing the way kids see food, making it approachable, healthy, and fun. They also emphasize seasonality, and have a well-used classroom garden to teach growing and harvesting fresh vegetables. They’re also a staple at the Noe Valley Farmers Market, where they do community outreach and hold a monthly class. They are a project of Open Mind, a non-profit dedicated to the development and education of children.

Leah grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where she began her culinary career. She graduated from the Art Institute of Seattle’s culinary program and worked under two of Seattle’s James Beard Award winning chefs for seven years. Leah currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she shares her passion for local fresh foods with young people in her celebrated hands-on cooking classes at Young Urban Modern Chefs (Y.U.M. Chefs). Leah’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, CCTV America, as well as on local Bay Area parent resource websites.

Leave a Reply

Want to read more? Browse our blog library! Click Here