Sometimes it seems like every other mom but me is helping their preschool children paint, cut, glue, apply glitter, and sculpt. Oh, I've made several recipes of play-dough, and we have paper, crayons, pencil crayons, markers, scissors, and glue. (The glitter seems to have mysteriously disappeared.) But that's as far as it's gone for me. The boys take it (or do not take it) from there.
I've been feeling a bit less guilty about that since I've started reading Charlotte Mason (Let them play outside, she would say.). I've also begun to think about the things I do love to do with my hands. I am not devoid of creativity, even though I'm not that handy with paper and scissors. One of my favourite things to do is to bake. I don't usually get too fancy (I save my creativity for the flavours), but if I am going to be artistic, it will usually come out in my baking. I think that for me, this is going to be the arena of crafting creativity to explore first with my children.
Today we made Honey Cakes, from Cook it Together by Annabel Karmel.
First we made the cupcakes. I had the boys help me with everything they could do...measuring ingredients, dumping them in the bowl, mixing them together. When they had been baked and cooled, we made marzipan bees and flowers to decorate them.
SA "painted" most of the bees with chocolate (we used a Ziploc bag with a corner snipped off), and JJ helped me put the sliced almond wings on. They both helped with the sprinkles.
They were ready in time for our poetry teatime. Somehow the poetry wasn't keeping their interest as much today...
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how often we will make things this special. We don't need to, though. All that needs to happen is that I take the time periodically to include the boys fully in my baking. It won't be a very efficient way to bake for me, but it will be an excellent way to teach them. I do love the Annabel Karmel book, not because I need it, but because ever since we brought it home from the library, the boys have been poring over it, deciding what to make. The illustrations show children making things, and they were very inspired.
Here is the recipe for the Honey Cakes. They were delicious...think cake that tastes like snickerdoodles with a hint of honey. The marzipan made them quite sweet, but the fun they had with it made it worth it this time.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp. apple sauce
2/3 cup self-rising flour (I just added 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt to the measuring cup before measuring the flour.)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
7 oz marzipan
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 6 baking cups. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour in the honey and beat everything together until fluffy.
2. In another bowl, beat the egg, vanilla, and apple sauce, then beat this into the butter mixture. Sift over the flour, cinnamon, and ginger.
3. Fold in the dry ingredients by running your spatula around the outside of the bowl and across the middle until everything is well mixed.
4. Fill the baking cups with the mixture. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until risen, golden, and firm to the touch. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
5. To make the bees, shape the heads and bodies from marzipan and gently squash them together so they stick. Cut out flower shapes.
6. Paint on the bees faces and stripes using melted chocolate. Push slivered almonds into the sides for wings. Press sprinkles into the flowers.