N loves to do anything that involves being in the kitchen. Eating, washing dishes, putting away groceries, cooking… it doesn’t matter to her. She loves it all! Which is really not a surprise since the kitchen is the perfect practical life marriage of food and water, two pretty appealing things to children in the first plane of development. We’ve worked very hard to provide as much opportunity as possible for N to work independently (or co-dependently) in the kitchen.
One of the recipes we discovered early on in our Montessori journey was almond bread. (If you’re looking for a baking recipe that doesn’t involve sugar, this might be a good fit for your family!)
At first, we started slowly. I did all of the scooping, pouring, measuring, and dumping while naming ingredients and letting her smell them. N did some stirring. Baking was mostly an opportunity for language development. In retrospect, I could have let her do a lot more at this point. She easily could have dumped pre-measured ingredients. I could have let her experience the textures. But I had difficulty letting go and being okay with messes. Eventually we got there, though. And today she did all of the measuring, pouring, stirring and transferring on her own for the first time, with a few verbal reminders from me regarding leveling off her measurements.
This is a pretty big recipe for N at this point. There are a lot of steps to work through. But each time we make almond bread, she has picked up a little bit more and her work is more fluid as she gathers ingredients, cleans up messes, counts the eggs she has added, and determines how much batter should be added to each bread pan.
Below is our almond bread recipe.
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 C oil (we use olive oil)
- 1 C almond meal
- 1/2 t apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 C ground flaxseed
- 3 T bean flour
- 1 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Divide batter into 3 greased mini loaf pans (alternatively, 1 standard loaf pan will work). Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before slicing. We use this knife. N especially enjoys this treat with peanut butter, but I’m sure jam would also be delicious!
Children are very capable in the kitchen if given the opportunity, provided tasks at their level of development, and allowed the space to make mistakes without fuss or shame. (Coincidentally, Nicole from the Kavanaugh Report and Aubrey from Child of the Redwoods are offering an online course designed to help you guide your child’s budding kitchen skills. I hope they offer it again because I would LOVE to take it!)