We all grew up with Little Jack Horner, Pat-a-Cake and Sing a Song of Sixpence. Some little girls are lucky enough to hang out in kitchens while loved ones bake. Licking frosting off a spatula is one of the great joys of childhood. The creativity and accomplishment of making your own food is both fun and a useful lesson. Herein some tools with which the young might begin. Most have been tested by my primary researcher 11 year-old Chloe Raizner. (To purchase an item click on the product name in red).
My Chocolate Boutique- Ages 6& up
“It was really fun making chocolate with this. The set comes with a ton of accessories: decorative labels, decorative paper, decorating brush, melting bowl and spoon, 2 gift boxes, clear wrapping paper…There are a ton of molds to make your chocolates: animals, flowers, geometric shapes like stars and lots and lots of stickers to make your chocolate look like it’s out of a fancy store.. The trick is to buy good chocolate and make sure you add a little butter when you melt it in the bowl which makes it glisten. Also make sure to butter the mold so the chocolate comes out cleanly.
It’s much faster to melt your chocolate in a double boiler, especially if you’re using chocolate chunks rather than chips. The melting bowl, to keep it safe, doesn’t really get hot and takes forever using up your batteries. It’s better to transfer the chocolate to the melting bowl after it’s melted. I made my friends chocolates in the shape of their favorite animals and chocolate lollipops. I even dipped marshmallows and pretzels in chocolate. You need patience. It takes over an hour for the chocolate to dry.” $32.99
My Cupcake Shop- Ages 6 & up -This is a misnomer. Candy, not cake is achieved. Melt chocolate you buy, pour it into their cupcake-shaped molds, then decorate with powdered sugar or frosting run through a decorating nozzle (included.) A cupcake stand offers pretty presentation.. Good for tea parties. $9.99
My Chocolate Boutique Candy Bar Stand – Ages 6& up- also includes molds and melting bottle for which you supply the chocolate. A display stand, foil wrappers and stickers are included. Your daughter, granddaughter, niece, or godchild can personalize her very own candy bars for gifting party favorites or taking to class events, sleepovers. $9.99
The Mini Cupcake Maker and Mini Donut Maker- The mini “ovens” (8” diameter) create 7 mini cupcakes or 7 donuts (no deep fat frying). “There is nothing more fun to do with your mom than cupcakes and the Mini Cupcake Maker promises a safe way to do that for a child. No messing with the oven and no chance of burning oneself.
It’s very simple: you plug in the electric cord of the cupcake maker and in a minute or so, the green light comes on (yellow) and you’re good to go. The recipes were easy to follow and a couple that we tried were really good. It takes about 4 to 5 minutes to cook, even less if you like your cupcakes moist and they come out perfect and really mini. My mom used it for making mini grilled cheese sandwiches and these were great but you can basically use it as a mini oven. Things do not have to fit in the holes to come out grilled.
There were a few downsides:
1. The cupcake maker got very hot on top (and takes a while to cool after you’ve unplugged it) so my mom wouldn’t let me handle it: she opened it herself holding the very tip of top cover and I scooped the batter into the cupcake holes.
2. The vanilla cupcakes stayed really white on top and keeping them longer in the machines only dried them out. The chocolate ones looked better -guess it doesn’t matter if you’re putting frosting on.
3.The recipes they give you to make do not indicate for how many cupcakes so we ended up making a ton of cupcakes that my mom put in the oven because the machines makes 7 at a time.
4.There is no “on/off” switch so you just pull the plug out.
Overall, this is a fun way to spend an afternoon with your mom/dad and a friend.” $29.98
The Mini Donut Maker got a poor review.
Ruffled Cupcake Apron Set- Vintage looking cupcake apron of 100% cotton (Machine washable) Fits children’s clothing sizes 3T-8. Matching adjustable chef’s hat & oven mitt. The perfect photo for grandma! $19.95
Flower Apron Set- Child’s apron, adjustable chef’s hat and silicone flower trivet. Polyester/Cotton. Machine washable. Children’s Sizes 4-8. Ages 3+. $19.95
Silicone Bakeware Set- 5& – Bright colors are bright, fun shapes, and smaller sizes. Flexibility makes removing little cakes a breeze. Kit includes 4 heart-shaped cupcake/muffin cups, pastry scraper, loaf pan, bundt cake mold, mini-muffin pan, basting brush, and flower gelatin mold. Dishwasher, microwave and freezer-safe. $24.95
Heart Shapers- Heart shaped eggs, pancakes, or crepes make birthdays and sleepovers special. Teflon coated shaper. Wooden handle folds down for storage. Dishwasher safe. 4” l x 5” w. Set of 2. $14.98
Look and Cook Book- filled with vintage illustrations. Describes and shows pictures of utensils and uses, explains basic techniques, clean-up, and safety. A perfect starter book. Includes 50 simple recipes and a section to write in favorites passed on by mom or grandmom. Hardcover. 160 spiral bound pages. $20.00 Chloe made “Egg in a Hole” which took only 5 minutes. She thought it was a cool idea.
Silver Spoon for Children Cookbook- Easy step by step directions to make Italian classics detailed by really specific how-to illustrations. This book concentrates on how to, whereas others minimize that in favor of showing a perfect outcome. All recipes here have been kid tested. Hardcover. 100 pages. $20.00
Chloe made Rigatoni Meatballs with her mom which “were fun to make and tasted really good. They weren’t heavy at all. In fact, you could eat them without any pasta, just tomato sauce.” And Banana Cream by herself. “…the hardest ingredient to find was the mascarpone cheese. It was good, but a bit rich. So I’ll make it again, but not really soon.”
Pink Princess Cookbook- Filled with sweet treats for pretty parties. Drinks, cakes, cookies, finger foods. Chloe made Raspberry Tea Sandwiches all by herself. She had the suggested heart shaped cookie cutter. These are easy to secure or use the heart shapers offered above.
From the same book, Chloe and her mom made Angel Cloud Cakes which she thought was “a much better recipe than the one offered with the mini cupcake maker. They came out just like the picture and were really delicious, not too sweet. I’d want this for my birthday.” The pair used the mini cupcake maker here rather than the oven. Cupcakes were then topped with coconut. “The Pink Princess Cookbook has great illustrations, beautiful pictures that made me want to make all the recipes.” The tone is enthusiastic. $15.00
Pink Princess Cupcake Book- This is a party primer. The cupcake and frosting recipes are up front. Each title that follows refers you back to these, then concentrates on decoration. From cupcakes that look like polka dot hat boxes to those that resemble fortune cookies, smiling suns, or fairy princess hats, the imaginative themes are fun and attractive. Any little girl would be proud to have made these for her own party. Even with help. $15.00
The Zoku Revolution- Healthy Ice Pops at Home
Zoku Quick Pops Maker and Zoku Duo Quick Pops Maker- “This is a fun way to make ice-pops-juice pops or yoghurt pops. No plug in, no batteries needed. All you do is put the machine in the freezer overnight or longer (it has to be a cold freezer.) Then you get the ingredients ready, take out the cold machine and pour in. It takes about 10 minutes. The fun part is you can make decorative pops by pouring in the first part, then when it freezes add something else in another color or flavor. You can also put some granola in the middle part. Easy to do and delicious pops.”
Note: The machine gets warm very quickly when out of the freezer. Keep in or refreeze immediately.
Zoku Quick Pops Maker- 6 molds, sticks, pop remover, instructions $50.00
Zoku Duo Quick Pops Maker- Makes 2 at a time. 4 sticks, drip guards. Release tool. $36.98
Zoku Quick Pops Storage- Plastic. Hand wash. Holds 6. $20.00
Zoku Quick Pops Book – Recipes! $17.00
Zoku Quick Pop Maker Character Kit- comes with 14 stencils, a faceplate, a stand for holding the pop maker steady, and a tool for removing fruit slices from the stencils to make animals and characters. $14.98