I love making food. Being in the kitchen makes me happy. It’s a place where I feel good. I’m relaxed and stress-free when I’m cooking or baking. And it’s a place where I bond with my kids.
Both of my children have inherited my kitchen joy. As a working mom, I’m often busy and frazzled at the end of the day. Being able to bring my kids in the kitchen with me to make a meal and unwind is something I enjoy. I get to spend time with my kids doing something I love. I cherish the memories we make over making food.
So for my daughter’s most recent birthday, I had an idea. I wanted to get her a cook book that we could work through together. Full disclosure: I’m sure my idea was 100% inspired by Julie & Julia, which is an amazing movie about blogger Julie Powell who cooked her way through Julia Child’s cook book. Though it wasn’t originally my intention to blog about this experience with my children, I decided that I would. I’ve recently made a commitment to being more “myself” in my blog this year, and I figured this is the perfect opportunity. And that’s how project #bakingmemories
Selecting the cook book
I stumbled upon this book (Colossal Cookies: 100 Outrageously Oversized Treats That Change the Baking Game by Wendy Kou) in the most delightful way. A friend of mine from college designed the book. She and another friend had posted about its appearance on Good Morning America, and I was immediately intrigued. The book was beautiful. And the recipes looked bright and fun. I knew this was the book I’d buy as a gift for my daughter.
As her birthday approached, I was eager to see her reaction to the gift and to spend time baking with her.
She was so happy when she unwrapped it. It’s really the perfect book to give to anyone who loves baking. The pictures are beautiful, and the book is laid out really well. I want to buy one for everyone I know!
Getting ready to bake
Although this was a gift for my daughter, my son was also interested in helping out. I asked my daughter if that was ok, and she was all for it. So the three of us were all set to get baking.
Since we cook and bake a lot, I knew what to expect with my kids. For example, I know that I need to do a little bit of prep work like making sure our peninsula is completely empty, moving the KitchenAid mixer there, and getting all the ingredients out. I did that while my kids had a “dance party” in the living room. I also made sure I read the recipe in advance. And I did need to make an extra trip to the store to get some last-minute ingredients. I turned that trip into some mommy-daughter time.
With the measuring spoons, cups, ingredients, and equipment all setup, it was time to begin. The first recipe is Extra Chocolatey Chip + Marshmallow, which is an amazing half chocolate chip, half double chocolate chip, marshmallow-stuffed delight. And that’s where our journey begins.
Ten minutes in…
Ok, I am far from perfect. About ten minutes into our ambitious baking challenge, all I could think was, “Wow, I’m bat$#%* crazy.” The kids were arguing. There was flour everywhere. My daughter even managed to fling flour all over our poor dog. We hadn’t even gotten to the wet ingredients yet, and I was ready to throw in the towel.
But then I remembered why I wanted to do this with my kids.
This isn’t unique to my children, it’s just a fact: they grow up too fast. Before you know it, they’re adults and you’re alone with no one throwing dusting the dog with flour.
So, I sucked it up. Braved through the rest of the recipe. And got to the fun part, which is making and baking the cookies.
Creating a couple cookie masterpieces
I think the first recipe was perfect to make with both kids. You need to make two types of dough: traditional chocolate chip and double chocolate chip. So I assigned each kid a batter.
But let’s get real: most of the time, I was doing a lot of the heavy lifting while my daughter sampled the batter and my son wrote a “cookie rap” with his keyboard.
And before anyone gets the wrong idea, I’m not writing these posts to suggest that all moms should take on ridiculous baking challenges with their kids. I realize that this activity I decided to do with my kids is not everyone’s cup of tea. But, I hope it inspires you to choose something you do enjoy doing and share that passion with your kids. Because the quality time with your kids is worth it. Put the phone down, tie up your hair, and get your hands dirty. You won’t regret the memories you make.
Back to the baking
To make these giant cookies, you take a handful of the traditional and a handful of the double, roll each into a ball, then put together and flatten them out.
Then you make a marshmallow mountain in the middle before topping with another layer of batter and sealing the edges.
Once the cookie is assembled, you add more chocolate chips on top. We also freestyled a bit and added our own twist: some cute star sprinkles. Reason? During our last-minute grocery trip, my daughter picked out a bunch of fun cake/cookie decorations. This was a good opportunity to let her use them.
Into the oven
This is perhaps the most perilous part of baking with children. I am really nervous around the stove and oven, so I insist that my children leave the kitchen while I open and close the oven.
This cookie takes about 30 minutes. So if you decide to do something similar with your kids, make sure you have an activity for baking time. For us? We watched some Bizaardvark on the Disney channel. (I told you I’m not perfect!)
One of the most surprising things was the size of the cookie at the end. While it was huge going into the oven, it becomes truly colossal as it bakes. What was dough about the size of my hand came out larger than a frozen pizza. And that was part of the fun! Seeing this cookie grow was exciting. The kids were definitely impressed with the end product. So was I!
Verdict? We can’t wait for this weekend!
Week 1 was a success! We made two giant cookies from the Colossal Cookies book, and we’re on to recipe #2 next week. It’s an espresso cookie. Mmm!
Although we still have lots of cookie left, that’s ok. I’m going to try to find a non-wasteful way of sharing the joy of these cookies. So I may bring one cookie into the office and send another one with my husband.
Interested in starting a challenge with your kids? Attempted something similar? We’d love to hear about it! 🙂
In the meantime, follow our progress every week. We’re going to use the #bakingmemories for our posts, and we hope you’ll join in on the fun.