When the girls were small one of our favourite activities, not surprisingly, was baking together. I’d pull a couple of chairs up to the kitchen counter so they could see what was going on and help out. Chocolate chip cookies were always their favourites because a) it was fun to measure and pour chocolate chips, and b) who can resist chocolate chip cookies?
I know from personal experience that kids enjoy baking. Starting when I was about eight, I made an annual batch of fudge to enter in the Baking Competition at Rodney Fair. Most years the competition called for chocolate fudge, and those years I used my dad’s recipe (see Paul’s Fudge). Once or twice the rules specified vanilla fudge, and my mom and I searched her cookbooks to find a recipe for Opera Fudge. We found a great recipe in her copy of Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, which she received as a gift in July 1969. Maybe someday I’ll post it here!
Desserts are a fun way for kids to start baking. I became comfortable in the kitchen making fudge, cookies and squares, and that has led to a lifetime of cooking enjoyment. Most of the time I’d really rather cook a meal and eat in, than go out to a restaurant. And I hope my girls will feel the same when they’re adults.
Even now that they’re busy teenagers, we still bake together sometimes. Yesterday, my oldest daughter and I pulled out the recipe for Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits, which I’ve been meaning to bake for weeks. This recipe was a perfect one for us to share in so many ways. My daughter loves baking bread and these biscuits, which don’t require yeast, take no time at all to make. And they’re delicious, one of those rare recipes that everyone in our house raved about.
|Beetter Homes and Garden New Cookbook|
Still available for purchase, 43 years later!
Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
(from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus some to coat the cheese and flour the cutting board.
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced small
1/2 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
1 cold large egg
1 cup grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp milk (this is the egg wash)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add diced butter and stir to combine.
Combine buttermilk and egg in a small glass measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. With a mixer on low speed, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and beat only until moistened. In a small bowl, mix Cheddar with a small handful of flour and add to the dough. Stir until just combined.
Place on a well-floured board and knead lightly about six times. Roll the dough out to a rectangle 5 x 10 inches. (Note: another time I might roll it slightly larger and cut twelve biscuits from the dough.) Cut the dough lengthwise in half and then cut each section in quarters, making 8 rough rectangles. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. (If making 12 biscuits, they’ll be done a little sooner.) Serve hot or warm.