With schools up and down the country breaking up for the February half-term, many Grandparents will be preparing to pick up the child-care gauntlet and spend some quality time with their beloved Grandchildren.
Entertaining the kids can be difficult at the best of times – let alone in soggy, sub-zero temperatures. But everyone enjoys a sweet treat, and baking is the perfect opportunity to introduce your Grandchildren to the kitchen and the joys of cooking from scratch. Plus it gives them the opportunity to get their hands dirty and make lasting memories with Nan or Grandad as they do.
Here are some easy recipes to try out this Half Term:
Crispy Chocolate Squares
- 4 Mars bars (or chocolate bars with caramel)
- 10g butter
- Rice Krispies
1. Melt the chocolate bars and the butter over a gentle heat until well melted (you will need a big saucepan). This will take a while and quite a bit of stirring – and make sure the mixture doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
2. When it has melted, add enough Rice Krispies so that you can still stir them into the mixture, and stir until they are all covered.
3. When they are well coated, put into individual cake cases and lightly press down. Alternatively, pop into a brownie tin and cut into squares when cooled. For extra creativity, add marshmallows to the mixture or brightly-coloured Smarties. For added luxury and to make them a bit more grown up, you could add a chocolate top or chips to the mixture.
- 140g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- zest ½ lemon
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 140g self-raising flour
For the butter cream icing
- 85g butter, softened
- 175g icing sugar
- zest and juice ½lemon
- sprinkles or sweets, to decorate
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a 12-hole bun tin with fairy cake cases. Beat the butter and sugar in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until it is really soft, then add the lemon zest. slowly stir in the eggs, then fold in the flour until it is all combined. Use two teaspoons to divide the mixture between the cake cases. Bake for 18-20 mins until the cakes are golden and springy when you touch them. Cool the cakes on a wire rack.
- While you wait for the cakes to cool, make the butter cream icing. Beat the butter until it is really soft. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, lemon zest and juice until it is thick and yummy. Spread the butter cream on top of the cakes with the back of a spoon, then decorate with sprinkles or sweeties.
- 125g self-raising wholemeal flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 75g sultana
- 50g butter, melted
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- 3 ripe banana, mashed
- drizzle maple syrup or honey , to serve (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas mark 4. Grease and line a 450g loaf/1lb tin with baking parchment.
- Weigh the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sultanas into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Then weigh the butter, vanilla essence, egg, milk and mashed bananas and put into another bowl or jug and mix with a small balloon whisk or fork. Pour the ‘wet’ banana mixture into the ‘dry’ flour mixture and combine thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Weighing needs to be very accurate when baking so help older children to measure carefully. Younger children can also get involved by spooning or pouring into the scales with adult supervision. Younger children can also beat the egg with a fork and mash the banana with a potato masher.
- Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 – 40 mins or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins then turn out.
- Drizzle with syrup or honey if using.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice-Cream Sandwiches
- 280g light soft brown sugar
- 225g granulated sugar
- 250g butter
- 2 large egg
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 450g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 300g good-quality milk chocolate, roughly chopped into chunks
- vanilla ice cream, to serve
- To make the cookies, tip the sugars and butter into a large bowl. Get a grown-up to help you use an electric hand mixer to blend them together until the mixture looks smooth and creamy, and a little paler in colour.
- Carefully break in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each egg and pausing to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Mix in the vanilla. (To avoid unwanted crunchy bits, get your helper to crack the eggs into a separate bowl first, then it’s easy to pick out any shell before tipping into the mixture.)
- Sift in the flour and baking powder, then mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Stir through the chocolate chunks. Use your hands to squeeze the dough together in 1 big lump, then split into 2 even pieces. Put each piece on a sheet of cling film.
- Roll each piece of dough in the cling film so that they form thick sausage shapes, then seal the ends. Put them in the fridge and chill for at least 3 hrs or overnight – can be frozen at this point.
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Take the dough rolls out of the fridge, unwrap and use a small knife to slice each one into 12 pieces, so you have 24 in total.
- Place the slices on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Ask a grown-up to put this in the oven to bake for 20 mins or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges, but still pale in the centre.
- Allow to cool slightly before lifting them onto a wire rack to cool completely. Sandwich the cookies together with ice cream and dig in!
Raspberry and Chocolate Traybake
- 375g pack ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
- 500g mascarpone
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 100g ground almonds
- 2 large eggs
- 250g fresh raspberries
- 100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
- Heat oven to 160c/fan 140c/gas 4. roll out the pastry a little more on a floured surface and use to line a 30 x 20cm tin, or a Swiss roll tin. Line with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and cook for 10 mins. Take out the beans and paper, then return to the oven for a further 5 mins.
- Whisk together the mascarpone, sugar, almonds and eggs until well blended. Fold in the raspberries and chocolate, then pour into the tin. Bake for 20-25 mins until just set and lightly golden. Turn off the oven, open the door and leave the tray bake to cool gradually. For the best results, chill for at least 1 hr before slicing.