McDougall's have put together a range of recipes packs that children can cook with the supervision of more senior folk, to get more in touch with what goes on in the kitchen. The range, which is aimed at pre-teens, includes recipes kits such as Scrummy Pizza Swirls, and Golden Chewy Flapjacks. The iLoveMyGrub team decided to test the Chocolate Chip Muffin kit out on Jonathan (aged 7), Zoe (aged 4) and Mickey (aged 2) who all love anything chocolaty and muffin-based.
All three of our little chefs were of course fully supervised by us adult types, so things like dealing with a hot oven were left to us older folk, but children can really get their teeth into putting the muffins together, and our junior collective got positively stuck in.
Each of McDougalls recipes kits come with most of the ingredients included, and each pack contains an easy-to-use and wipe-clean instruction card. As with any cookery project in the kitchen, preparation is key, probably more so if little ones are involved! So prepare we did - the instruction card tells your junior chefs exactly which utensils are needed and which ingredients need to be added, such as water, eggs and butter.
So, once Jonathan had found the mixing bowl, Zoë had located the butter, and Mickey had watched the general cookery commotion with a mix of wonder and excitement, we were ready to begin cooking. As they followed the steps on the instruction card, the little chefs started building up their muffin mix. Rubbing the flour, sugar and butter together took a bit of explaining and demonstrating from the older influence in the kitchen, as the junior chefs were more interested in dousing each other with flour. But once they were informed that more flour-throwing meant less muffin-eating, they soon got down to some serious finger rubbing to get the breadcrumb like consistency we were after.
In went the egg next, which Jonathan broke deftly into the bowl, taking turns with Zoë to mix it all together. Mickey watched this bit with some serious interest as the contents of the bowl started to resemble something he could stick his fingers into. To make this prospect all the more tempting, Zoë poured in some chocolate chips, and at that point it was spoons down and fingers in - every junior chef for themselves. At this point, the adult voice of reason kicked in, pointing out that there might not be much muffin mix left if we all kept sticking our finger in the bowl and licking them (older types included). So we all collectively restrained ourselves and the juniors set about spooning the mix into the little cake wrappers that were included with the recipes pack. Amazingly, there was enough mix in the bowl to fill all twelve cake wrappers. At that point, the iLoveMyGrub team popped the cakes into the oven for 15 minutes while the little chefs did a little cleaning up, licked the bowl again and then scampered off outside, promptly forgetting all about the little matter of the oven. Fortunately, the old and wise were on hand to oversee the hot stove, and keep an eye on the muffins rising out of their cases.
McDougalls have thought out their recipes kits with care - the recipes cards are easy to read and make sure you're prepared with all your utensils and ingredients at the ready before you launch into cooking mode. The packets of ingredients included in each kit could have been easier to open - the adults struggled with a few of them, so it was almost impossible for little hands to get to grips with some of the ingredients without the contents of the packet going everywhere except the mixing bowl. But, largely these kits are a great way to get your kids interested in cooking, mixing, (even cleaning up) - but most importantly: eating. All the recipes kits from McDougalls are free from additives, so when the timer goes on the oven, and numerous little hands reach out for a muffin, you can be happy in the knowledge that the food they're about to eat is full of natural ingredients. A great way to get your kids cooking in the kitchen.