This past Sunday I spent the afternoon baking with my daughter. I had been looking forward to tackling the almond butter brownies from Amy Chaplin’s book, and it felt like the right day to do it (and the last possible if I was going to stick to my pact of making one recipe a week).
Cooking or baking with kids is an interesting experience. It often involves a lot of mess and mistakes. I already find baking to be a bit of a messy affair, butter smeared over counters, egg yolk dripping down the sides of bowls, flour on your face, clothes, the floor…add a child to that equation, or god forbid two kids, and you definitely have to be super patient and zen. In the past I’ve been more uptight, hovering a bit too much, exclaiming, “Oh no!” when things drop on the floor, but I made a promise to myself on Sunday that I would take it easy and just enjoy the experience with her. Messes can always be cleaned up and I don’t want my daughter to feel like making a mistake is a big deal, because truly it isn’t.
We started soon after I put my son down for a nap, which gave us a clear hour and a half. I made a point as we went along to look for natural moments to teach her little things. I showed her the difference between a cup, half cup and quarter cup, we measured the pan together to check it was the right dimension, I taught her how to sift and she did the majority of the stirring and pouring. Doing the whole process with her took so long that by the time we transferred the batter into the pan my son had woken up. He helped out by sprinkling the chocolate chips, toasted almond slivers and flaky salt before they went into the oven.
Being in the kitchen with my daughter (and son) feels pretty special and I know how excited she gets to bake together. Izzy is a lover of all things sweet so trying to find healthier alternatives to the constant barrage of processed sugar is fun. I’m not averse at all to giving my kids white sugar or flour, but I know there are other alternatives. I also get tired of hearing, “Can you buy me a cookie? Can you buy me a timbit?” (that’s a little doughnut for all you Americans). I want them to know that if they want to eat something, yes they can buy it of course, but they can also make it with their own two hands and with ingredients that are a little better for them.
Here is a link to the recipe:
I’ll definitely make these again. I’m a brownie lover and my kids really liked them too. The recipe has a bunch of ingredients, so if you don’t have some or don’t want to go out and buy them all, feel free to substitute with whatever you have on hand. In some cases you can also just leave an ingredient out. For example, if you don’t want to go out and purchase a flaky sea salt, you can do without it. I try not to worry as much about following recipes to a T and and make do with what I have if something is missing.
I made a few minor adaptations:
- I used semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips instead of the 85% dark chocolate. I was afraid they might taste too grown up for the kiddies. Maybe next time I’ll try dark.
- I used a hazelnut and almond butter spread instead of just almond butter because that’s what I had in my fridge. I guess that changes the entire title of the recipe 🙂
- Almond slivers instead of chopped almonds
- I buttered the pan (small cheat) instead of using parchment because I was all out
Good luck if you decide to try them!