Tag: easy

Halloween cookies

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 10 minutes baking

Serves: 15

 

Ingredients

100g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
125g (2/3 cup) golden caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
150g (1 1/8 cup) self-raising flour
100g (1/2 cup) plain chocolate chips
Bake safe colouring
To decorate
Chocolate chips
Maltesers
Black ice writers

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Gingerbread mummies

 

Halloween is the perfect excuse to do some fun baking with kids. There are lots of really simple things you can do and just give them a spooky twist and these biscuits do just that. We took an easy cookie recipe and just decorated them at the end with spiders. The kids really loved making them and when we shared them with friends at a toddler group they were a real hit!

You could use your favourite cookie recipe or a pre-made cookie mix and just add the decorations at the end or follow the recipe below. I found the eyes in a supermarket but if yours doesn’t have them you can find them online.

Method

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F and line 3 baking trays with baking parchment/paper.

Mix the butter and sugar together

Get your little one to measure butter (100g) and pop it into a large mixing bowl or freestanding mixer. Measure the sugar (125g) and add to the mixing bowl.

Mix the butter and sugar together until they are evenly blended.

Add the vanilla extract and egg

Get your little one to help you measure the vanilla extract (1/2 tsp) and add to your mixing bowl. Crack the egg in a small bowl. Give it a little whisk and then add it gradually to your mixing bowl, beating it well between each addition.

  

Add the flour

Weigh the flour into a small bowl then add to your mixture. Finally add the chocolate chips and give it one final mix.

 

 

Make the Halloween cookies

Spoon large teaspoons of the cookie mixture on to your prepared baking trays. Make sure you leave enough room for them to spread.

Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. They’re ready when they are turning golden. I like them a little gooey in the middle still. If you don’t cook them a minute or two longer. Don’t leave them in too long though as they’ll turn dark brown very quickly.

Decorate the cookies

Remove the cookies from the oven and, if you’re little ones are helping to decorate them, carefully place them on to a wire rack. You can leave them on the baking trays if you’re doing it yourself, being careful not to burn yourself!

 

Add either a malteser or a few chocolate chips to each of your cookies while they’re still warm.

Let them cool a bit, then draw the spider’s legs on with the black writing icing.

Melt a sqare of chocolate and use that to stick the candy eyes on to your maltesers.

Enjoy! The cookies will keep for a few days in an air tight container.

Halloween cookies

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Halloween monster cookie

Halloween monster cookies

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 10 minutes baking

Serves: 15

Ingredients

100g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
125g (2/3 cup) golden caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
150g (1 1/8 cup) self-raising flour
100g (1/2 cup) plain chocolate chips
Bake safe colouring
To decorate
Candy eyes
Smarties

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Gingerbread mummies

 

I firstly just want to say that I love how these cookies turned out. I’d found some icing googly eyes at the supermarket and was waiting for an excuse to use them and this was it! It wont be the last though. I think they’ll be a new permanent fixture in my baking cupboard!

Halloween is the perfect excuse to do some fun baking with kids and get to use up some irresistible eyes. There are lots of really simple things you can do and then just give them a fun spooky twist. We took an easy cookie recipe, coloured them and decorated them with our new googly eyes to make spooky Halloween monster cookies. The kids really loved making them and when we shared them with friends at a toddler group they were a real hit!

You could use your favourite cookie recipe or a pre-made cookie mix and just add the decorations at the end or follow the recipe below. I found the eyes in a supermarket but if yours doesn’t have them you can find them online.

Method

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F and line 3 baking trays with baking parchment/paper.

Mix the butter and sugar together

Get your little one to measure butter (100g) and pop it into a large mixing bowl or freestanding mixer. Measure the sugar (125g) and add to the mixing bowl.

Mix the butter and sugar together until they are evenly blended.

Add the vanilla extract and egg

Get your little one to help you measure the vanilla extract (1/2 tsp) and add to your mixing bowl. Crack the egg in a small bowl. Give it a little whisk and then add it gradually to your mixing bowl, beating it well between each addition.

  

Add the flour

Weigh the flour into a small bowl then add to your mixture. Finally add the chocolate chips and give it one final mix.

 

Separate the cookies into 3 different bowls (or however many bowls as coloured monsters you want).

 

Add a little food colouring in suitable monster colours (Hannah chose purple, orange and green) to each bowl and mix so it is well blended. We used Wilton food colouring as it is bake safe. Some cheaper supermarket colourings wont keep their vibrancy once cooked.

Make the Halloween monster cookies

Spoon large teaspoons of the cookie mixture on to your prepared baking trays. Make sure you leave enough room for them to spread.

Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. They’re ready when they are turning golden. I like them a little gooey in the middle still. If you don’t cook them a minute or two longer. Don’t leave them in too long though as they’ll turn dark brown very quickly.

Decorate the cookies

Remove the cookies from the oven and, if you’re little ones are helping to decorate them, carefully place them on to a wire rack. You can leave them on the baking trays if you’re doing it yourself, being careful not to burn yourself!

Add some candy eyes and some smarties to the top of each Halloween monster cookie.


Enjoy! The cookies will keep for a few days in an air tight container.

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Halloween apple pie mummies

Halloween apple pie mummies

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 20 minutes plus 15 minutes baking

Serves: 2

Ingredients

Large cooking apple
½ pack Just-rol Puff pastry (or equivalent)
2 tbsp Raisins/sultanas
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Mixed spice
4 iced googley eyes

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Method

Preheat your oven to 290C/180C Fan / 350F and grease two small round pie dishes.

Peel and chop the apple

Get your little one to help you peel and chop the apple into small pieces. It doesn’t matter if they are not evenly cut so this is a good way for little chefs to practice their chopping.

 

Prepare the pastry

Roll the pastry out until it is a few mm thick. Chop two circles out to line the bottom of your pie dishes.

Using either a pizza cutter or knife, cut strips of pastry to form the mummies bandages.

  

Make the pies

Line each pie dish with the pastry circles. Top with the chopped apple and raisins. Use roughly a tbsp or raisins or a small handful in each dish. Sprinkle over the sugar and mixed spice.

 

Lay the pastry strips over the top of each pie to resemble bandages.

Bake the pies

Pop the pies in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. They’re ready when the pastry has browned and the apples are soft.

Remove from the oven and add the eyes.

Halloween apple pie mummies

Serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

 

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rock buns

Rock buns

rock buns

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 20 minutes plus 16 minutes baking

Serves: 8

Ingredients

150g (1 cup) self raising flour
75g (1/4 cup)butter, softened
75g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
50g (1/4 cup) raisins/sultanas
Pinch mixed spice
1 egg

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empire biscuits

Empire biscuits

Hedgehog biscuits

I was recently asked what baking I do that it’s Scottish. At first I couldn’t really think of anything. I’m not sure, as a nation, we’re really known for our delicious baking (happy to be proved wrong on that) but then I remembered rock buns. My Granny used to make these – I remember eating them round her house, washing them down with a glass of red cola or tizer. I’m sure I remember baking them myself when I was little so I thought they could be a fun thing to do with the kids. They’re not particularly fancy; they’re kind of like a slightly sweet fruity scone but they do taste surprisingly good!

Method

Mix the flour and butter together

Get your kids to weigh the flour (150g) and add it to a large mixing bowl. Measure the butter and chop it into small pieces. If it’s not soft pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds or so to make it easier to mix. Add the butter to the flour.

 

Using your finger tips, rub together the flour and butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

 

Add the remaining dry ingredients

Weigh the sugar (75g) and raisins (50g) and add to your bowl. Add the mixed spice (pinch). Mix it in slightly with a knife or spoon.

  

Add the egg

Get your kids to crack the egg into a small bowl, then add to your mixing bowl and give it a good mix.

Make the rock buns

Using your hands mix everything together until you have formed a large ball of dough. Divide the mixture into 8 pieces and pop on to your baking tray.

Bake the rock buns

Pop them in the oven for 16-18 minutes. They’re ready when they are starting to look golden brown. Remove from the oven, leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes then put them on a wire rack to cool completely.
rock buns
Store in an air tight container. Best eaten within a day or so of baking.

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Giant cookie

Giant cookie cake

Giant cookie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 20 minutes baking

Serves: 16 slices

Ingredients

225g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
350g (2 cups) soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
400g (3 1/3 cups) plain flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large packs of M&Ms

giant cookie

 

 

 

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I’ve wanted to make a giant cookie for a while (who doesn’t!) so when the kids asked to do some baking while we were packing to go on holiday I thought it was the perfect excuse! I figured we’d use a cookie recipe we already know and love and just try and bake it differently in one large cake tin. I’m pleased to say it worked. As long as you like your cookie a wee bit gooey in the middle I think you’d like this.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C and line an 8 inch/ 20cm cake tin with baking paper

Mix the butter and sugar

Get your child to measure the butter (225g) and sugar (350g) out then add to a mixing bowl or freestanding mixer. Mix them together using the paddle attachment, a hand held mixer, or wooden spoons until the eggs 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 each addition.

 

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, or help them and steady their hand while you pour if you need to.

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 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. We seem to have to do this a lot, especially to get the bits at the bottom, but it’s a good excuse to sample a wee bit of raw cookie dough as you go along!

Get the toddler to add in one pack of the M&Ms to your dough mixture. Give it one last mix so that everything is nicely combined.

 

Make the giant cookie

Pour the cookie dough into your prepared cake tin. Press down the mixture with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle a few more M&Ms on top until it looks nice and colourful.

Bake the cookies

Pop the giant cookie in the oven for roughly 15-20 minutes. It’s ready when the edge has turned golden brown and they’ve flattened down. It’ll still be a bit gooey in the middle but that’s how I like them. Cook it longer if you prefer a more crispy cookie.

Leave it in the cake tin to cool slightly, then move it to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Shortbread funfetti bites

Shortbread funfetti bites

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 20 minutes plus 15 minutes baking

Serves: 30 bites (approx)

Ingredients

170g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
210g (1 3/4 cups) plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp icing sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3+ tbsp multi coloured sprinkles/funfetti
2 tbsp milk

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I saw these very cute shortbread funfetti bites on Pinterest and couldn’t resist! They’re really simple – when I’m cooking with my little ones I make sure everything is simple – it’s just shortbread with some sprinkles, chopped up into tasty bite sized pieces! Yum!

Method

Place a piece of baking paper into an 8×8 inch square pan and leave to one side until later.

Mix everything together

Get your kids to measure out the butter (170g) flour (210g), cornflour (1 tbsp), salt (pinch) and vanilla extract (1 tsp) and add to a large mixing bowl or stand mixer.

  

Mix everything together until you have a crumbly, slightly lumpy mixture.


Get your kids to add the sprinkles/funfetti (3+tbsp) along with 1 tbsp of milk. Mix everything together again so it is well combined. Add another 1 tbsp of milk and mix until you have a soft dough.

Make the shortbread bites

Pour the dough into your prepared baking tin and press down into a level layer, about 1 cm thick. We used the back of a slightly wet spoon but you could use your hands or anything else flat. If you like, at this point add some more sprinkles over the top of your shortbread (my kids cant get enough of them!)


Pop your baking tray into the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 160C / 150C Fan / 325F and line a large baking tray.

Remove your shortbread dough from the fridge and place on a chopping board. Get your kids to help you cut it into bite sized pieces using a pizza cutter or a knife. You can make them as large or small as you like.


Transfer the shortbread bites on to your baking tray, leaving a small gap between each one.

Shortbread funfetti bites

Bake your shortbread bites

Pop your baking tray in the oven for 12 – 17 minutes (depending on how big they are). They’re ready when they’re just starting to colour and are slightly firm to the touch – don’t let them go golden brown.
Leave the shortbread funfetti bites to cool on the baking trays. Store the shortbread bites in an airtight container for up to five days.

Shortbread funfetti bites

 

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cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 25 minutes + 20 minutes proving + 20 minutes baking

Serves: 9

Ingredients

2 and ¾ cups plain flour (330g)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 packet dried fast action yeast (1 packet = 2 and ¼ teaspoons)
½ cup water (120ml)
¼ cup milk (60ml)
2 tbsp unsalted butter (30g)
1 large egg

For the filling:
¼ cup (60g)  unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup (60g) brown sugar

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp milk or coffee

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banana and oat cookies

Banana and oat cookies

 

 

This recipe for cinnamon rolls is amazing because it uses a ‘cheats’ way of proving the dough so only takes 45 minutes! Before I tried it I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but you just need to pop the unproved cinnamon rolls in a cool (90C) oven for 20 minutes and voila they’re ready to go. It couldn’t be simpler.

Method

Line a 9 inch square baking tray with baking paper.

Make the dough
Mix the dry ingredients

Get your children to measure out the flour (2 & ¾ cups), sugar (3 tbsp), salt (1 tsp) and yeast and mix together in a large bowl. Set aside for now.
  

Add the wet ingredients

Measure the water ½ cup and milk (1/4 cup) into a microwaveable bowl. Measure the butter (30g), cut into a few small pieces and add to the water/milk. Pop in the microwave for approx 45 seconds until the butter has melted. Test the mixture is warm rather than hot – I just dipped my finger in. (If it’s too hot it’ll kill the yeast).

 

Add the milk/butter mixture to the flour.

Get your little one to crack the egg into a small bowl. Add to your flour.

Knead your mixture for 3-4 minutes, either by hand or using the dough hook on a stand mixer. We used our mixer as it’s a bit easier and less messy. It’s ready when it’s not sticky anymore.

 

Pop it in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to rest for about 5 minutes.

Make the cinnamon rolls

Preheat your oven to 90C (200F) and turn off after 10 minutes or just before your put your rolls inside.
While your dough is resting, measure out filling. Make sure your butter (60g) is soft enough so spread. Mix the cinnamon (2 tbsp) and sugar (¼ cup) together in a small bowl.

Roll the dough out to a 15×9 inch rectangle.

Spread the butter all over the top. We used a rubber spatula rather than a knife as it was a bit kinder on the dough.

Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly over the top.

Get your child to roll the dough up tightly, then cut into 9 even pieces. Hannah was able to cut it if I showed her where.

  

Put each piece in your baking tray and lightly cover with tin foil. Pop the cinnamon rolls in the oven to rise. Make sure you remember to turn the oven off. Let it rise for 20 minutes or so.

 

After 20 minutes, keep the buns in the oven, remove the tin foil and turn the oven up to 190C / 180C Fan / 375F.

Bake the cinnamon rolls for 15-20 minutes. They’re ready when they have turned golden.

Make the glaze

Mix the icing sugar (1 cup), milk (1-2 tbsp) and vanilla extract (1 tsp) together until it is smooth, runny and lump free.
Drizzle the glaze over the rolls while they are still warm.

 

Enjoy!

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banana and oat cookies

Banana and oat cookies

banana and oat cookies

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 12 minutes baking

Serves: approx 25-30

Ingredients

3/4 cup salted butter (170g), softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cornstarch
3 cups old fashioned oats

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It seems to be a recurring theme that we have left over bananas in our house but once again I’ve found myself looking for something to make with a few past their best fruit.

This time rather than make banana bread or a cake (which we make all the time) I decided to try some banana and oat cookies. These ones have got a nice soft, chewy texture and you get a good strong flavour of banana coming through. And with the oats, you can almost convince yourself that they are healthy! They’re also easy to make with kids as you just have to mix everything together in one bowl. So, the next time, like us you have a load of bananas needing used why not try these for a change?!

Method

Preheat your oven to 180C/170CFan/350F and line some baking trays with baking paper.

Mix the wet ingredients together

Get your kids to measure the butter (170g) and chop it into small pieces (if it isn’t already soft, blast it in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to mix). Add it to a large mixing bowl.


Measure out the brown sugar (1 cup) and caster sugar (1/2 cup) and add to your mixing bowl.

 

While your kids are doing that, measure the vanilla extract (1 tsp) into your bowl.

Crack the egg into a cup, and then add it to your mixing bowl. If you are feeling brave you could crack the egg straight into your mixing bowl. I prefer to let the kids do into a separate bowl first though as it’s easier to fish out any rogue shell!

Get your kids to peel and then mash the bananas (1 cup) with a fork/masher. When they are well mashed add them to your mixing bowl.

 

Give everything a good mix.

Add the dry ingredients

Measure the flour (1 ½ cups) out and add to your mixing bowl.
Add the cinnamon (1 ½ tsp), baking powder (2 tsp), and cornflour (2 tbsp). If your little ones have a steady hand they could do this part, but if not do it yourself.

  

Mix everything together.

Add the oats

Measure out the oats and add them into your bowl. Give everything one last mix.

 

Bake the banana and oat cookies

Spoon tablespoons of cookie dough onto your baking sheet. You kids might enjoy doing this, but you might need to neaten up the dollops a bit. You want to flatten them down a little bit into thick disks. Make sure they are spread out nicely as they’ll spread a bit when they bake.

 
Bake them for 10-12 minutes. They’re ready when the edges start to go golden.

Remove the banana and oat cookies from the oven and leave them to cool for a few minutes. Move them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Banana and oat cookies

 

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empire biscuits

Empire biscuits

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes + 10 minutes baking

Serves: 6 biscuits

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

175g (3/4) butter (softened)
175g (1.5 cups) plain flour
50g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
50g (1/2) corn flour

To decorate:
Strawberry or raspberry jam
Icing sugar
Water
24 glacé cherries (optional – you can use any decoration)

empire biscuits

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Empire biscuits are a traditional Scottish biscuit, although I hadn’t really heard of them until recently. You could use any shortbread type recipe for the biscuit as long as it’s not too sweet – the jam and icing sugar topping will add all the sweetness you need! The recipe we followed was one from the Hairy Bikers, ‘Mums know Best’.

They’re really easy biscuits to make and perfect for baking with kids as there are only a few ingredients which you just mix all together into a bowl with your hands. Be prepared for a bit of mess though – that’s going to be unavoidable when you’re using flour, cornflour and icing sugar in one recipe!

Classic Empire biscuits have glace cherry on top for decoration. I didn’t fancy buying any just for these as I don’t really like glace cherries so we just decorated ours with some sugar flowers we had in the house but you could use a jelly sweetie or anything else you have to hand. You might also notice that ours aren’t quite as round and perfect looking as most Empire biscuits you see, but that’s what happens when you cook with little ones  – squinty biscuits are all part of the fun!

Method

Preheat your oven to 180C/170C fan, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix all the ingredients together

Get your little ones to measure out the flour (175g), corn flour (50g), icing sugar (50g) and butter (175g) and pop it all in a large mixing bowl.  If your butter isn’t soft enough it can be hard to melt so we normally pop ours in the microwave for a few seconds before chopping it up and adding it to our bowl.

empire biscuits empire biscuits

empire biscuits empire biscuits

Using your hands mix everything together until it forms a nice ball of dough.

empire biscuits empire biscuits

Make the biscuits

Lightly flour your work surface (we didn’t need to because we’d made so much mess measuring everything out!)  and roll the dough out until it’s about ¼ inch or just over 1/2 cm thick. To stop the dough sticking to the rolling pin we put a sheet of baking paper over the top.

 

Using a round cookie cutter cut out 12 biscuits and place them on a lined baking tray. We used a 7/8mm cutter but you could use a bigger/smaller one to get more/fewer biscuits.

 

Bake the biscuits

Pop the baking trays in the oven for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven before they turn golden brown. Leave to cool

Decorate your Empire biscuits

Lay your biscuits out and get your little ones to help you spread jam over the top of them. Get another one and sandwich it on top.

empire biscuits

Mix some icing sugar together with a tablespoon or so of water in a small bowl.

empire biscuits

Drizzle the icing over the top of your biscuits and then decorate with a glace cherry or whatever else you are using.

empire biscuits empire biscuits

Enjoy!

 empire biscuits 

 

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banana bread

Easy banana bread

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 60 minutes baking

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

3 or 4 bananas
250g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs (medium)
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
120g walnut pieces

 

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We make a nice easy banana bread quite regularly – anytime we have bananas needing used up really. It’s a great one to make with kids, as there are lots of fun steps for them to get involved in. My two enjoy mashing (and eating) the bananas in particular!

This one was a new one for us, as I just got a new Paul Hollywood cookbook and I was surprised at how light and moist it was. It uses walnuts which are obviously optional. If you don’t want to use the nuts you could simply omit them and enjoy the delicious banana flavour, or try adding some raisins and tsp of cinnamon or ginger (similar to this recipe which might still be my favourite!)

Method

Heat your oven to 190C and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking paper

Mix the bananas and sugar

Get your little ones to peel and mash the bananas using a fork. This job is easy enough for any eager little chef to help and one which my two really enjoy!

 

Weigh the sugar into a small bowl and then add to a free standing mixer if you have one or a large mixing bowl.

Mix the bananas and sugar together using your paddle attachment (or an electric hand mixer) until the mixture because light and fluffy.

Add the butter and eggs

Measure the butter and get your child to chop it into small pieces. If it’s not soft give it a blast in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to make it easier to mix.

Add it to your mixer and cream everything together until it is well combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each addition. I normally get the kids to break them into a separate bowl first to make it easier to remove any stray egg shell.

Add the flour and walnuts

Get your toddler to measure the flour out into a small bowl. Sieve it into the large mixing bowl along with the baking powder. We didn’t use the sieve because I find it makes too much mess but if you have neater or older children you can try it to make your loaf even lighter.

Fold the flour into the mixture until it is nicely combined.

Add the walnuts and give it one last mix.

  

Bake your banana bread

Spoon or pour your mixture into your prepared loaf tin and spread it out evenly.

Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Check it after 40 minutes to make sure the top isn’t burning. You know it is ready when a sharp knife or skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. We had to put it back in a few times before it was ready but just keep doing an extra 5 minutes if you are not sure.

Remove the banana bread from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

easy banana bread

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