As you know from my many posts on teaching my children to cook and bake, we love spending time in the kitchen learning and eating! Therefore, I was delighted when I was asked to review a brand new cookbook Kid Chef Bakes: The Kid’s Cookbook for Aspiring Bakers. As you know from my review of their other children’s cookbook, I love the style the book is written in for teaching young people in the kitchen, so I was looking forward to the potential offered in this new book.
Upon receiving the cookbook I saw that it was indeed in the same layout as the Kid Chef book. I love that the book starts with general rules, tips, and tricks for setting up a baker’s kitchen. The book starts out with an educational overview of the purposes of main ingredients used in baking as well as common baking tools. I also love that the book reviews safety tips and techniques, which are a great review for me and a wonderful lesson for my kids who are just getting started. The book then goes into my favorite part, 7 different lessons, each outlined to read to your child, teaching a different focused skill, followed by a recipe to use the skill. The lessons are 2-4 pages long and are perfect for ages 7+. The book then goes into typical cookbook format with tons of recipes to try out.
Often times I feel like children’s baking cookbooks can get stuck on cookies, cupcakes, and other sweets. While this book definitely has it’s share of sugary goodness, I love that there is some variety in the recipes. The 7 lessons in the book range from snacks, to sweets, to yeast bread for pizza. The recipes included in the book have main dishes, sides, sweets, snacks, and more. I also love that they do not shy away from more difficult recipes, such as yeast dough for crusts and bread, and pie crusts for pies and quiches. However, there are a few cheats in the book such as using store-bought puff pastry and phyllo dough. I do concur though that some pastry recipes such as puff pastry and phyllo dough, can be quite daunting for a child, they were for me as a grown adult with many years of baking experience under my belt. I remember standing with my friend folding a pound of butter into a pastry wondering if we were doing it right and why on earth we wouldn’t just buy the pastry from the store.
The book also gives several recipes that use the same base recipe (homemade pizza dough and pie crust) allowing your little one to practice their skills over and over with different outcomes. This also teaches versatility with the same recipe — a skill that will last them a lifetime!
While there are a few whole grain recipes in the book, I would really like to see more. I would also love to see a lesson or chapter talking about how to incorporate whole grains into baking, and how the recipe must be changed to accommodate the difference. This may be a little more complex for a very young child, but as our country struggles with obesity, I think it is important that we teach our young children how to eat healthy, which starts in the kitchen.
I love this book and will differently be planning days to work through all the “lessons”, most likely even a few times. The lessons have a nice layout to teach skills that are used in baking every day across recipes and cookbooks. I also love the variety of baking recipes offered in the book. We will be using this book regularly for fun treats, main dishes, and special days when my little people are cooking. However, I will definitely be incorporating some of my other healthier and whole grain baking recipes and books in the mix. While sugary sweets taste good and are pleasing to the eye, they are not a healthy addiction I would like my children to depend on. They are a special treat for special times. I would love to see a whole grains baking cookbook come out next, maybe pick up the baking lessons where this one left off, delving into the healthier side of baking.
If you are looking for a fun cookbook for your little one this Christmas that can lead to learning, fun, family memories, and some good things to eat, I definitely recommend you check this book out!
If you are looking for a regular cookbook (vs. a baking cookbook), check out these other reviews on other children’s cookbooks I love: