The Daily Feed: Expert Tips for Valentine's Day Baking With Kids

Sure, you can make Valentine’s Day crafts with your kids. But you can also make treats with them. Jill O’Connor, author of Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids (Chronicle, 2009) tells us how.

Cheryl Sternman Rule: What treats do you make on Valentine’s Day with your daughters?

Jill O'Connor: I grew up with pink heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast every Valentine’s Day, and I’ve continued that tradition with my girls. When my older daughter was little we made heart-shaped shortbread cookies for her class and glazed them with pink icing. This year, we’re planning on baking Red Velvet cupcakes frosted with cream cheese icing. I’m topping each one with red-chocolate lips, made by melting red wafer chocolate and pouring them into lip molds from the craft store.

CSR: Have any favorite edible decorations?

JOC: I have a wide selection of red, white, and pink sanding sugars, dragees, and heart-shaped sprinkles. I also like to use festive bonbon and cupcake liners in red and pink with polka dots, scalloped edges, and other frilly adornments. I think disposable piping bags are a must: fill them with melted chocolate, write your message on parchment paper, let it harden, then peel it off to decorate frosted cupcakes.

CSR: Any other tips for baking with children?

JOC: 1) Get them involved in picking out the recipe. 2) Get organized before you start. 3) Let little ones use small cheese spreaders or plastic knives to cut soft things like strawberries or marshmallows, and to spread frostings. 4) Pick treats that don’t require a lot of equipment to make. 5) Relax! Don’t worry about the mess. And let them lick the spoon.

(See Jill’s recipe for Peanut Butter Pretzel Bon Bons here.)

Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule.



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