Tag Archives: baking with kids

Hummingbird Homework

After my trip through my archives last time with my Top 5 Bakes, I’m very glad to say that my baking mojo did come back.  I went to New York, found N.Y. Cake (among other things) and bought myself a bundt tin.  I got back and opened Edd Kimber’s Patisserie Made Simple at Kougelhopf.

Enriched dough, a funny shaped tin, and the challenge of working out how much mixture I’d need to fill it (it says it’s for a six cup cake – very American and very confusing), what could be more adventurous?  Then my son came home with his latest homework project.

He’s learning about fairy tales at the moment and, this week, he had to make something to go in  Red Riding Hood’s basket to take to Grandma. A vast improvement on the poster he had to make last week to explain why he liked his favourite fairy tale.

“What is your favourite fairy tale?” we asked

“Rumpelstiltskin.”  We raised out eyebrows.

“What is it about Rumpelstiltskin that you like?” we asked. The betrayal, we wondered, the slavery, attempted child abduction, forced marriage (although perhaps I’m being a bit unfair to the Brother’s Grimm here. They did say that the miller’s daughter – they didn’t even bother to give her a name – had fallen in love with her captor, the King.  Perhaps we’re looking at the very swift onset of Stockholm syndrome rather than forced marriage, but even so…)

“I like the bit where Rumpelstiltskin gets so angry he jumps up and down on the floor and breaks it.”

It was that simple.

Anyway, back to Red Riding Hood.  I snapped Patisserie Made Simple shut. My kougelhopf was doomed.

“What do you want to bake for Red Riding Hood?”

“White chocolate chip cookies.”  This was a relief.  The last time my son expressed a desire to make biscuits only custard creams would do.

We went with a recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  The recipe was for white chocolate and pecan nut cookies but, because Matthew wanted to take some to school, and because the school is nut free, we couldn’t use the pecans.  We doubled up the amount of chocolate instead.

We washed our hands, gathered our ingredients, and started by creaming unsalted butter with caster sugar and light brown sugar in the KitchenAid.

My trusty assistant measured the sugar into the bowl and I stood by with a teaspoon to get the extra 25g out before it touched the butter (perhaps I’m being a bit harsh here, since I often have to do this when I’m baking by myself, but why not blame a five-year old when you have the chance?)

We held onto the KitchenAid as it beat the butter and sugar together until it was light and fluffy, and then Matthew added eggs – he’s pretty good at egg cracking.  It’s very rare that we have to fish any bits of shell out of our cake mix these days.  

We turned the KitchenAid on again and added some vanilla extract.

We stirred in plain flour, salt and baking powder.  The recipe didn’t say anything about sifting, so we didn’t.  It also didn’t say whether we should use the mixer, so we didn’t.  We both had a good go with a wooden spoon and, eventually, we had cookie dough.  Matthew and his sister added the white chocolate chips, carefully reserving enough to keep them going until snack time.

After incorporating the chocolate chips, the recipe says that you should divide the dough into two, make two rolls of between 15 -18cm, wrap them in clingfilm and put them into the freezer.  Our dough was a bit sticky and I knew that trying to shape them and then put them into clingfilm wouldn’t work, so we dumped our mixture directly onto the clingfilm and shaped them once they were wrapped up.

We put the two rolls into the freezer to set and went off to play – well Matthew went off to play.  I put the dirty bowls and things into the dishwasher.

We came back to our cookie dough a couple of hours later.  I sliced it into discs and Matthew transported them across the kitchen onto baking sheets that we’d lined with baking paper.  I put them into the oven at 150°C and set the timer for 10 minutes (the recipes says they should take between 10 and 15 and be golden brown at the edges and quite flat).  I didn’t think they were done at ten minutes and, in the end, I gave them about 18.  I should have had faith in the Hummingbird though because the cookies were a bit on the crispy side once they’d cooled down.

They tasted fine, sweet white chocolate and vanilla, tempered by a tiny bit of salt.  Very nice.  Matthew took a few to school and we’ve had no complaints – at least none so far.

Next week,  kougelhopf.   I promise.