Top tips for baking with children

SOME of my fondest memories as a child were of helping my parents in the kitchen; weighing ingredients for a batch of biscuits or a cake and getting to lick the spoon afterwards, writes Michelle Darmody.

Or, even better was when I got to gently cut the crusts from a Swiss roll before it was rolled up — and of course gobbling the off-cuts before my siblings had a chance to. Those crusts somehow always tasted better than a cream filled slice of Swiss roll later in the day.

Cooking and baking at a young age very often instills a love for either, or both, later in life and I am very glad of the early start that I got.

The three recipes included here are good starting points for smaller hands — supervised of course. The simple things like cracking the eggs, stirring with a wooden spoon or filling a cupcake tray with bun-cases can easily be done.

The dough for the cookies will keep in the fridge for up to a week but I am sure you will want to use it also straight away. You can vary the contents of these cookies if you wish to use something other than cherries, chocolate chips or nuts work well.

The vanilla and chocolate chip buns can easily be made without a mixer, a wooden spoon can be used, it would need an adult arm to mix the butter and sugar together at the beginning, but after that a gentle stir will do. The trick is to really make sure the sides of the bowl are scraped and mixed when the flour is added. If the flour is not completely mixed into the batter you will find that the buns turn into little mini volcanoes with a burst top.

Cherry Cookies


  • 250g butter, softened
  • 140g of golden caster sugar
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 220g of porridge oats
  • 30g of dried cherries, roughly chopped


Heat the oven to 170C and line a baking try with baking parchment.

Beat butter and sugar together until they look light and fluffy.

Stir in flour, oats and mix well. Add the cherries and mix again.

Roll the dough into a log and wrap it in baking parchment then place in the fridge to harden for at least 30 minutes. The log can then be gently sliced with a warm butter knife to the thickness you desire.

Place the cookies onto a baking tray covered with a sheet of parchment. They will spread out on the baking tray as they bake so leave a little distance between each one.

Bake them for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the cookies if you have cut them small as they may take a little less time in the oven.

Vanilla and chocolate chip buns


  • 140g of caster sugar
  • 150g of soft butter
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 150g of self raising flour
  • 20g of chocolate chips


Preheat your oven to 180 degreesand place 12 paper buncases into a cupcake tin.

Beat the butter and sugaruntil light and fluffy.

Lightly beat the eggs and vanilla into butter and sugar, making sure to regularly scrape the sides of your bowl.

Add in the flour and mix slowly again making sure to regularly scrape the sides of

your bowl.

Add the chocolate chips and stir them in.

Scoop the mixture into the waiting paper cases. Bake for

15 minutes until golden and risen.


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