Tag: easy

Creamy garlic parmesan chicken

Difficulty:Easy

Time:30 minutes

Serves:4

Ingredients
6 chicken thighs
3 cloves garlic, crushed
An onion
200g bacon chopped, or bacon lardons
400g mushrooms
1 cup cream OR milk (or half and half)
½ cup (120ml) chicken stock
½ cup Parmesan, grated
Chopped parsley, to garnish
Fresh shaved or grated parmesan, to garnish

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More family dinners

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut making the same dinners again and again so I’ve been trying to mix things up a little bit lately. Anyone with young children will know that this is a risky business so I tend to stick to safe ingredients like chicken and pasta. I found this recipe for creamy garlic parmesan chicken from Cafe Delights on Pinterest (my go to place for inspiration) and it was truly delicious. It’s always a bonus when you find something as tasty as this that the kids will eat too!

Method

Preheat your oven to 200C / 180F / 400F
Cook the chicken

This is a step to do without the help of your little ones: Heat a tbsp of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Brown the chicken on both sides ( a few minutes on each side).

Transfer the chicken to an oven proof dish and pop into the oven to roast until completely cooked through, about 25-30 minutes (or while you make the sauce).

Prepare the ingredients for the sauce

Get your toddler to help you peel the garlic and onion. While they are busy doing that, dice the onion.

 

Give your child a blunt (butter/table) knife and get them to help you chop the mushrooms. Mushrooms are a really easy vegetable to do some cutting practice with. You can always finish off any unevenly sized pieces. It was the first time Lewis had done it and he really enjoyed himself!

Make the sauce

Fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until they are soft and fragrant, stirring frequently. This should take a minute or so.
Add the bacon and fry until it is starting to go crisp.

Add the mushrooms and cook them until they begin to soften.
If your little one is old enough and you trust them they can help you stir everything as it goes in.

Measure or get your little one to help you measure out the cream/milk and chicken stock. As we were just using a stock cube, Lewis also help unpeel and crush it.

 

Pour in the cream (or milk – we used half a cup of each), the chicken stock, and parmesan. Simmer in the pan until the sauce thickens slightly.

Add the chicken

Remove the chicken from the oven and add it back into the sauce. Cook for a another few minutes. Garnish with parsley and or grated parmesan (optional).

creamy garlic parmesan chicken

Serve with rice or pasta or vegetables.

Chocolate muffins

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 25 minutes + 20 minutes baking

Serves: 12

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup chocolate chips
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup plain yoghurt
½ cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup chocolate chips

 

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Millionaire’s shortbread

Chocolate cake

Hedgehog slice

Blueberry and apple muffins

 

Muffins are a great thing to bake with little chefs. There are loads of fun steps they can get involved with – from measuring and mixing, to spooning the mixture into the cases. The kids loved how much these rose in the oven, and we all enjoyed eating the chocolatey deliciousness of course!

Method

Preheat your oven to 200C and prepare a muffin tin

Get your toddler to line a muffin tin with cases or grease every corner of it with oil and butter if you have no cases to make sure the muffins don’t stick.

Mix the dry ingredients together

Get your child to measure each of the dry ingredients (2 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, ¾ cup chocolate chips, ½ cup cocoa, 1 tsp baking powder) in turn and add to a large mixing bowl.

  

Give it a good mix.

 

Whisk the wet ingredients together

Add the vanilla extract (1 tsp), egg, yoghurt (1 cup), milk (1/2 cup)and vegetable oil (1/2 cup)to a separate mixing bowl.

 

 

Whisk it all together until it is well combined.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients

Get your child to help you add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients bowl and mix it together just enough so you can’t see any more flour. It’ll still be a little lumpy but that’s fine.

 

Bake the chocolate muffins

Spoon your mixture into your muffin tin/cases. If you let your kids help with this step be prepared for a bit of mess! I let the kids half fill up the cases then finished it off myself so there was an even amount in each muffin.

 
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. They’re ready when a toothpick or skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

chocolate muffins
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and leaving on a wire rack to cool completely.

chocolate muffins

 

Berry yoghurt parfait

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 20 minutes plus 6 hours freezing

Serves: 12

Ingredients
2 bananas, peeled
2kg Greek-style  natural yogurt
350g Frozen raspberries partly defrosted
200g Frozen blueberries
300g Strawberries, chopped

 

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Summer is finally with us so I was looking to make something frozen that was a bit healthier than ice-cream (there’s plenty of that in the freezer already!) I came across this berry yoghurt parfait recipe in a copy of ASDA’s Good Living magazine which looked delicious. It’s really simple to make – basically just mix some yoghurt with berries – we added a bit of berry puree as well for a bit of colour and because the kids love using our blender!
We used blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, but you can use any fruit you like.

Method

Line a 2lb loaf tin with clingfilm.

Prepare the strawberries

Wash, de-hull and chop the strawberries. This is a great chance for little chefs to practice their chopping skills as you can do this with a blunt knife and it doesn’t really matter whether the pieces are even or not.

 

Make the puree

Put a few strawberries and raspberries into a small food processor. Give it a quick whizz until you have a nice puree.
Spoon the puree into the bottom of the tin.

 

Mix the bananas and yoghurt

Get your kids to peel and mash the bananas in a large bowl.

 

Pour the yoghurt into the bananas and give it a good mix.

 

Add the fruit

Add two thirds of the strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries to the yoghurt. You don’t need to be too accurate, just make sure you keep some back to sprinkle on top at the end.


Gently mix everything together. If you do it very carefully with a metal spoon you will get a nice ripple effect. Getting toddlers to anything gently is tricky so if, like us, you’re not very gentle don’t worry it’ll still be tasty, just less rippley!

Pop the remaining fruit into the fridge.

Freeze the berry yoghurt parfait

Pour or spoon everything into your tin and cover with clingfilm.

 
Pop in the freezer for 6 hours + to set.

To serve, take the parfait out of the freezer and leave to stand for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the tin and peel off the clingfilm. Sprinkle over the remaining fruit, serve and enjoy!

berry yoghurt parfait

 

 

 

Carbonara cake

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 15 minutes plus 35 minutes baking

Serves: 6

 

Ingredients
300g spaghetti, cooked
100g hard cheese, finely grated (eg parmesan, guyere, cheddar)
3 large eggs
250ml double cream
250g leftover ham (or we used bacon lardons)

 

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It’s not always so easy to get young children involved with making dinner for obvious reasons (knives, ovens, the cooker) but this dish is an exception. I based it on a dish from Jamie Oliver and so simple to make. It’s quick enough to be a mid week meal but a bit more special than plain pasta carbonara. You can cook the pasta and ham/bacon in advance to make it even quicker/easier. It was a first for us but we’ll certainly be making it again!

Method

Before you start, if you don’t have left over pasta and ham, cooked the pasta and ham or bacon and add to a bowl. Allow to cool down. I did this part in advance as there wasn’t much the kids could help with.

 

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare a cake tin.

Get your children to help grease a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin with oil (you can pour a little oil in and get them to brush it over all the sides.) Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese over the bottom and shake it up the sides a little.

  

Add everything to your bowl

Get your kids to help you add the cream and cheese to the bowl of pasta. Break the eggs into a separate bowl first to give them a quick whisk before adding to the pasta. I normally get Hannah to break the eggs and Lewis mix them so they both get a turn at doing something.

Give it a good mix so all the pasta is coated.

  

Bake the carbonara cake

Add the pasta to your prepared cake tin and pat down with the back of a spoon.

 

Pop it on a baking tray into the oven and bake for 35 minutes. It’s ready when it looks golden brown and has cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out of the tin.

 carbonara cake

Serve with a lovely fresh green salad and enjoy!

Rhubarb crumble

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 20 minutes plus 45 minutes baking

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
175g plain flour,
175g butter, softened,
175g granulated sugar
A bunch of rhubarb
3 tbsp sugar

 

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It’s rhubarb season and while we don’t grow any ourselves our neighbours have an allotment and kindly gave us a big bundle of fresh, home-grown rhubarb at the weekend. There are lots of delicious puddings you could make with rhubarb but I couldn’t see past making a tasty, crunchy, sweet dish of rhubarb crumble.There’s also lots for kids to help with. Crumble is so simple to make – once you’ve measured out the ingredients either blast it in a food processor or get your hands dirty and rub to make the crumb. You kids might also like helping to chop the rhubarb if they are old enough.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 fan (190C, gas mark 5)

Mix together the butter, flour and sugar

Get your toddler to measure the dry ingredients – flour (175g), sugar (175g) into a small bowl using a spoon.

  

Measure the butter (175g) and chop it into little pieces.

 

Add to a large mixing bowl or food processor if you are using one.

If you are making the crumble by hand (my kids preferred way) then get you hands dirty, rub the pieces of butter/flour/sugar together until you have a moist breadcrumb. Shake the bowl to make the larger pieces come to the surface and then rub them in. It works best if with cold hands and cold butter. Heat can make it go a bit clumpy but it’ll still taste nice!

 

If you are short for time, or you kids don’t like getting their hands messy, you can also mix it together in a food processor. SImply pulse it until it is a nice breadcrumb texture.

Prepare the rhubarb and place it in a baking dish.

Clean and chop your rhubarb into pieces about an inch long. If your child is old enough, they could help with this. Add them to a baking dish. If you find rhubarb quite tart, you can add a wee bit of sugar at this point to balance it out. We put in about 3 tbsp which was about right for us.

  

Pour over the crumble mix

Get your toddler to press down the rhubarb before adding the crumble on top.

 

Bake the rhubarb crumble

Pop the crumble in the oven for 35-40 minutes. It’s ready when the top looks golden and the rhubarb has softened and is starting to bubble through the topping.

Serve with custard/ice cream and enjoy!

rhubarb crumble rhubarb crumble

Millionaire’s shortbread

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes + 2 hours setting

Serves: 20 slices

Ingredients
For the shortbread base
100g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
150g plain flour
For the caramel
100g condensed milk
150g butter
50g caster sugar
50g golden syrup
For the chocolate topping
200g chocolate (dark or milk)

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This a delicious recipe for millionaire’s shortbread that we got from our James Morton cookbook. There are a few different stages to the recipe which can be a good thing when you’re cooking with kids as it gives you the chance to have a break or clean up a bit as you go along. There are also some fun bits for your kids to help with, from measuring and mixing to melting (and sampling) chocolate!

Method

Preheat your oven to 160C/140C Fan and grease and line an 8 inch baking tray with baking paper

Make the shortbread

Get your child to measure the sugar (50g) and butter (100g) and pop them in a large mixing bowl. If the butter isn’t soft, blast it in the microwave for 10 seconds or so, to make it easier to mix.

Mix it together until it forms a paste.

 

Measure the flour (150g) out and add to the bowl and mix everything together. You can get your hands dirty at this point and work it all together so all the crumbs come together.

Press it out into your prepared tin.

  
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until it is just turning golden brown at the edges. Leave to cool in the tin.

Make the caramel

While your shortbread is baking, start making the caramel. Get your little one to help you add all the ingredients to a small saucepan. (100g condensed milk, 150g butter, 50g caster sugar, 50g golden syrup.) Heat it on a medium heat, stirring it gently until it turns a nice golden brown colour. Watch your child carefully if you’re letting them help with this step.

  

 

Pour over your shortbread

Once the caramel is ready, pour it over your base and spread it out so it is nice and even. Leave it to cool for at least an hour (or overnight).

Add the chocolate topping

Get your child to help you break the chocolate into a heat proof bowl. Put it over a simmering pan of water to melt it (or do it in short bursts in the microwave).


Pour it over your cooled caramel and spread it out gently. Leave it to set for another hour or so but don’t put it in the fridge.

millionaire's shortbread
Cut your millionaire’s shortbread into squares and enjoy!

millionaire's shortbread

Easter cookie bar

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 25 minutes baking

Serves: 20-25 slices

Ingredients
275g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp Salt
1 tbsp cornflour
115g butter (unsalted)
55g granulated sugar
135g light brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
3x 90g Bags of Mini Eggs
100g chocolate chips

 

 

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We did a lot of baking over Easter – with so much chocolate around it’s hard not to. I found this recipe on the Janes’ Patisserie website and adapted it slightly to make it a bit simpler to make with children. I’ve never made or even had a cookie bar before, but I love cookies if anything, these look like a slightly easier to make version.
They didn’t disappoint: they were deliciously gooey on the inside a little crispy on top and with the added crunch of chocolate chips and mini eggs. One thing is for sure, these aren’t just for Easter.

 

Method

Preheat your oven to190C/170C Fan and prepare you baking tray
Line a 9×9 inch baking tin with baking paper.

Mix the dry ingredients

Get your little ones to measure out the flour (275g) and add to a mixing bowl. Give them a hand to add the bicarbonate of soda (1 tsp), salt (1/2 tsp salt) and cornflour (1 tbsp). Hannah can do some of this herself, but needs a hand levelling the contents on the spoon. Lewis likes to help hold the spoon.

Mix everything together until it is well combined.

 

Whisk the butter and sugars together

Measure the butter (115g). If it isn’t soft enough, blast it in the microwave for a few seconds. Put it in a (separate) large mixing bowl or freestanding mixer. Add the sugar (55g granulated and 135g light brown sugar.)

Whisk everything together until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

  

Add the eggs and vanilla

Get your child to break the egg into a small bowl then add to your sugar/butter mixture. While they are doing that add the vanilla extract (1/2 tsp).

Mix everything together again.

Add the dry ingredients

Add the flour mixture into the sugar/butter mixture.

 

Open the packets of mini eggs and let your kids throw them in (keep a few back to put on top). Do the same with the chocolate chips.

Mix with a spoon or a spatula until you have a nice dough.

 

 

Bake the cookie bar

Get your child to help you press the cookie dough mixture into the bottom of your baking tin. We used a spoon to flatten the top down. Press the remaining few mini eggs into the top to make it look pretty.

  

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. It’s ready when its starting to turn golden, and looks dry on top.

Leave the cookie bake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so, then remove to cool fully on a wire rack. Cut into squares and enjoy!

easter cookie bar

 

Animal rolls

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes + 1.5 hours proving + 15 minutes baking

Serves: 8+ rolls

Ingredients
450g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
50g butter, softened.
250ml lukewarm milk
1 egg
For decoration
Sultanas/raisins cut in half

 

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We’ve made rolls before, but never ones shaped into anything interesting. So when I saw someone make bread rolls into bunny rabbits on pinterest I thought we had to try that. We got a bit carried away though and ended up with a small menagerie of bunnies, hedgehogs, a tortoise, and a snail. I’m sure there are other things you could make so let you and your kids imagination run away with itself. Our animal rolls definitely looked more like animals going into the oven than they did coming out, but the kids really enjoyed making them (and eating them) so i’m considering them a success!

Method

Mix the dry ingredients
Get your child to measure the flour (450g) out and pour that into a large mixing bowl or freestanding mixer.

 

Add the salt (2 tsp), sugar (1 tsp) and yeast. As you are using a whole packet of dried yeast you can get the smallest chefs involved by just pouring it all in.

  

Weigh the butter (50g) out. If it’s not softened, pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds so it’s soft, but not melted. This will make it easier to mix.

Rub the mixture together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can either do this by hand or using a mixer. The mixer is obviously quicker but my kids really enjoyed getting their hands messy!

Add the egg and milk
Get your child to pour the milk (250ml) into a measuring jug, or a bowl on your scales set to ml. We put ours in the microwave for 30 seconds to make it lukewarm.


Make a well in the flour mixture then add the egg and milk.
Knead the dough

If you’re using a mixer, add the dough hook and turn it on to mix for 5 minutes or so. If you are doing it by hand, turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead it for 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. We did a bit of both – started in the mixer until it was almost done, then the kids had a turn doing it by hand. They wouldn’t have had the patience to do it all by hand but really enjoy getting their hands messy!

 

Pop the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Put it in a warm place to rise for an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Make the animal rolls
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper
Turn the dough out on to a floured surface. Get your kids to knock it back (punch it) and knead it for a few minutes. Start by dividing your dough into 8-10 pieces and roll them into balls.

 

We made a few different animal rolls:
Hedgehogs, use half sultanas/raisins for the eyes and nose then get your child to make little snips all over the hedgehogs back with scissors to make the spines.
Bunnies: use the half sultanas/raisins for the eyes and nose and use scissors to snip two ears. Make them quite big as they shrink a little when the rolls rise/cook.
Tortoise: Roll 5 small round balls and attach for the head and legs, add the eyes and nose using the half sultanas/raisins. If you want you can also score across the back of the tortoise with a sharp knife to make the tortoise shell.
Snail: Make a sausage and roll up into a snail. Add the eyes and nose using half raisins/sultanas.

  

Put the rolls on a baking tray, spacing them well apart. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until they have doubled in size.

Bake the rolls

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan.
Bake the animal rolls in the oven for 10-15 minutes. They are ready when they have turned golden and sound a bit hollow if you tap them underneath.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

animal rolls

 

Slow cooker sausage casserole

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes + 4 hours cooking

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients
1–2 tbsp sunflower oil
12 good quality pork sausages
Pack of bacon lardons
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp paprika
400g can chopped tomatoes
300ml chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dark brown muscovado sugar
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
100ml red or white wine (optional)

 

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This sausage casserole is a delicious , hearty slow cooker dinner full of sausages, bacon, and tomatoes. It’s probably not one for teeny tiny chefs, but Hannah enjoyed measuring out everything and helping to make the sauce and learning from her Daddy how to chop onions.

Method

Brown the sausages
Heat and spoonful of oil in a non stick frying pan and fry the sausages gently for 10 minutes. Turn them once in a while so they are brown on all sides. Add to your slow cooker.

Fry the bacon
Get your child to help add the bacon lardons to the pan (being careful not to get too close). Fry them until they are nice and crisp then add to your sausages.

Cook the onions and garlic
While the sausages and bacon are cooking get your child to help you peel the garlic and onions. If you have a garlic crusher, they can help you crush the garlic as well. If they are a bit older they may be able to help you cut the onion as well.

   

Cook the onions in your pan on a medium heat for five minutes or so until they start to soften.

Add the garlic to your pan and cook for a few more minutes until the onions are a golden brown.

Add the paprika. Hannah helped us measure this out. We put it in a small bowl first and then put it in the pan, as this was a bit easier for her to manage.

Prepare the sauce
Rather than add everything straight to the pan, we got Hannah to help measure out the dry herbs to a bowl and the wet ingredients into a jug. That made it much easier to then add it safely to the pan.

Start by getting your child to put the stock cube/pot into the measuring jug. Add the water and get them to give it a stir. Add the tomato puree (2 tbsp) and Worcestershire sauce (1 tbsp).

  

In a separate small bowl, get your toddler to measure out the sugar (1 tbsp), mixed herbs (1 tsp), bay leaves (2) and thyme (1 tsp).

  

Once everything is measured out, get your little one to pour the herbs and jug of sauce into the frying pan and give it a stir. Pour over some wine (100ml) or if you’re not using wine, just the equivalent in water. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

 

Add the sauce to the sausages and bacon in the slow cooker. Cook your sausage casserole a medium heat for 4-5 hours. If you are not using a slow cooker, pop everything in a flameproof casserole dish and cook on a simmer for 30 minutes or so, stirring from time to time.

 

Serve your sausage casserole with vegetables, rice or some rustic bread.

slow cooker sausage casserole

Bear claw cookies

Difficulty: 30 minutes plus 10 minutes baking

Time: Fairly easy

Serves: 24 cookies approx

Ingredients
225g unsalted butter, softened
200g Demerara sugar
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
400g plain flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g dark chocolate.
To decorate
Large chocolate buttons
Small chocolate drops

 

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Cookies are a great thing to bake with your kids. They don’t involve rolling out or cutting like other biscuits do which, although fun, can make baking a little bit more time consuming. They’re so simple and have lots of steps your little ones can get involved in: measuring, mixing and then dolloping the dough out on the baking sheets.

To make these cookies, we just used a cookie recipe we’ve tried before from the Hummingbird Bakery, but made them a bit more fun (and chocolatey) by turning them into bear claws. They’d probably look more like bear claws if we made them smaller, but that’s unlikely to happen in our house. They were a hit though: “ooooh Mummy, I love it” was the response from my ever enthusiastic toddler! I hope you like them….

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C and line your baking trays (at least 4) with greasproof paper

Mix the butter and sugar
Get your child to measure the butter (225g) and sugar (200g demerara, 150g caster) out and then add to a mixing bowl or freestanding mixer. If the butter isn’t already soft, pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds or so, just to make it easier to mix.

Mix them together using the paddle attachment of your mixer if you’re using one, a hand held mixer, or wooden spoon until the sugar and butter are light and fluffy.

  

Add the eggs and vanilla extract
Get your child to break the eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl. Add them to your bowl, mixing it a little between the additions of each egg.

 

Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and get your child to help you measure the vanilla extract (1/2 tsp) into the bowl. Let them use the spoon on their own if they are able to (my 3 year old can just about do this), or help them and steady their hand while you pour if you need to (my 1.5 year old can help do it this way).

Add the remaining ingredients
Measure the flour (400g) into a small bowl. If your child is able to, get them to help measure the salt ( ½ tsp) and bicarbonate of soda (2 ½ tsp) into the flour. Add these into your large mixing bowl.

Mix everything together until you have a smooth dough. If you need to, use a spatula to scrape the mixture down from the sides of the bowl.

 

While everything is mixing, chop up the chocolate into small pieces. Get your toddler to add it in to your dough mixture and give it one last mix so that everything is nicely combined.

 

Form the cookies
Using a spoon (or your little ones might like using their hands!) add 6 dollops of dough mixture to each of your baking trays. The mixture is quite sticky, so your kids might need help getting the mixture off the spoon. You can always form them into neater balls with your hands. These cookies spread a lot while baking so leave as much space as possible between each cookie as possible. Get your little ones to help you add a chocolate button and small chocolate drops to form the ‘claw’.

  

Bake the cookies
Pop them in the oven for roughly 10 minutes. They’re ready when the edges have turned golden brown and they’ve flattened down.

Leave them on the baking trays to cool slightly, then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

bear claw cookies

You can bake other delicious cookies: double chocolate smarties cookies and chocolate chip cookies