Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mini cookies are awesome when you have a toddler. You have more control over how much she eats and no screaming fits because you’ve only given her half a cookie 😉

This recipe is originally from My Strawberry Heart.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F/180 deg C. Line two large baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Grease the paper.
Sift the flour, salt, and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour, stirring until just combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.
Take heaped teaspoons of the dough and form into balls. Put the balls on the baking sheet and flatten very slightly.
Bake for 10 minutes. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack.


Raisins would work very well instead of mini chocolate chips. So would nuts, or another dried fruit (cut up small), or you could omit the chips and not replace them with anything! Cookies are fantastically variable.

What my toddler did

  • Helping to grease the paper.
  • Sifting the flour (a little at a time and with a close eye kept on her!)
  • Lots of stirring.
  • Spooning out heaped teaspoons into my hand — your child may be able to shape the dough into balls as well.
  • Putting balls of dough on the baking sheets.
  • Flattening the balls with her hand.

The final product

My darling daughter may have flattened the cookies a little too much 😉

I love quiches because they’re so versatile and relatively easy, if time-consuming. When I first left home I adapted a recipe of my mother’s and would live on this for three or four days — alas, my quiches are polished off much more quickly now!

Broccoli, Sweetcorn and Onion Quiche

Pastry ingredients (for a quicker baking experience you can buy your pastry or pie case):

150g flour
75g butter
1 – 2 tbsp cold water

Filling ingredients:

2 eggs
250ml milk
150g mature cheddar, grated
1 small head of broccoli, chopped up small
1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained
1 onion, chopped
a little oil
Salt & pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 200 deg C. To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour then add a little water, kneading and adding more water as necessary until you have a soft dough. Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll out the dough until it will cover the base and sides of a 9-inch pie tin. Transfer your pastry to your greased pie tin and bake blind for 10 minutes, then remove your dried beans/pasta/whatever and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Saute your onion until just starting to brown, then add the broccoli and continue to cook until the onions are fully browned. Set aside. Beat together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper.

Put your cheese and vegetables into the prepared pie case and mix gently together with a fork. Pour the egg mix over the top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the centre is just set.

Make sure it is cool enough for your toddler before you let him/her eat any!


As I said above, quiches are very versatile. You can put almost anything in a quiche. Don’t like broccoli or corn or onions? Try sauteeing some thinly sliced carrot, some mushrooms, some halved cherry tomatoes (drain these before adding to quiche). Add a small can of artichokes, or peas, or green beans. Anything! The main thing to do is make sure your ingredients are not too ‘wet’– you don’t want soggy pastry, so make sure you drain things well.

What my toddler did:

  • Kneading pastry dough.
  • Rolling out pastry.
  • Helping to wash the vegetables.
  • Peeling the onion.
  • Helping to grate the cheese.
  • Helping to mix eggs and milk.
  • Putting cheese and corn into pie case.

The final product


Easter Simnel Cakelets

Do you remember Easter? Only a few weeks ago, right? …Right?

We were away over Easter, but managed to bake twice. This first recipe is adapted from The Guardian’s website.


Easter Simnel Cakelets

250g mixed dried fruit
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large unwaxed orange
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground mixed spice
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
175g caster sugar
175g unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
75ml milk
300g marzipan
250g glacé icing (250g icing sugar mixed with about 2 tbsp hot water, added gradually until a stiff but spreadable consistency is achieved. Ice your cakes immediately or your icing will set before you can use it.)
Chocolate eggs

Combine the mixed fruit and orange juice and leave to soak for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, then add butter, eggs and milk. Mix until light and fluffy, then fold in the soaked fruit with any remaining juice. Half fill 12 muffin cases with the mixture.

Roll out half the marzipan and use a round cutter the size of the base of a muffin case to cut 12 marzipan circles. Place one in each case, then cover with the rest of the cake mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until cakes are springy to the touch. Do NOT leave to cool before completing the next step:

Roll out the rest of the marzipan and, using a cutter the size of the top of a cakelet, cut 12 larger marzipan circles. Put one on each cake — if they are still warm it will help you to mould the marzipan to the cake. Leave to cool before frosting and topping with chocolate eggs.


You could NOT use both icing and marzipan on top of the cakes. That may have been overkill! You could leave out the marzipan altogether and I bet they would still taste great. In fact, I think next time I try this recipe I’m going to use no marzipan, no icing and no chocolate eggs… it would be a lot quicker and a lot less sticky! 😀

What my toddler did

  • Putting muffin cases in muffin tin.
  • Holding the electric mixer while an adult guided her hands.
  • Choosing which muffin case should be filled next.
  • Cutting out marzipan circles. We had pre-rolled marzipan or she could have helped with the rolling-out too.
  • Decorating the cakes with chocolate eggs. The eggs she didn’t snack on, anyway.

The finished product

They were delicious, if mildly over-sweet!


And one more thing…

I am putting together a list of little kids books relating to baking and baking books related to little kids — so, both things like picture books telling the story of somebody baking and recipe books relating specifically to baking with kids. Any recommendations are welcome!

Apple Upside-Down Cake

The other week a friend of mine was talking about a pineapple upside-down cake that she had made. I love pineapple upside-down cake, but my daughter is not a fan of pineapple. However, she loves apples. So I got out Wendy Hobson’s ‘Classic 1000 Cake & Bake Recipes’ and we made this:

Apple Upside-Down Cake

Topping ingredients:

2 dessert apples, cored and thinly sliced
75g soft brown sugar
3 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp lemon juice

Cake ingredients:

200g plain flour
50 caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
120ml milk
50g apple pureé
5 tbsp oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence

Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C. Mix topping ingredients and arrange in the base of a greased 9-inch cake tin. Try to fill the holes in the apples with the raisins. Mix together the dry cake ingredients. Lightly beat the egg, then, in a separate bowl, mix with the rest of the wet ingredients. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the wets and mix until just blended. Spoon intothe  tin and bake for 40 minutes, until the cake is shrinking away from side of tin. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving dish.


For one thing, you could replace the apples with a tin of pineapple slices 😉

You can replace the apple pureé with a different fruit — I may use raspberry pureé next time. You could also replace the raisins with another small ingredient which can fill the holes; perhaps a different dried fruit, glacé cherries or nuts.

investigating the lemon squeezer

What my toddler did

  • Snacking on apple slices.
  • Squeezing (some of) the lemon.
  • Mixing topping ingredients.
  • Arranging apples and raisins in the tin.
  • Lots of mixing.
  • Spooning (most of) the mixture into the tin.

The finished product

apple upside-down cake

And my daughter’s verdict, after I had been so considerate of her dislike of pineapple? Well, she ate through the cake part eagerly, took one bite of the topping… and declared, ‘Eurgh, yucky!’

Oh well. Perhaps other toddlers will be more appreciative!

Vegetarian Lasagne

Lasagna is one of the best main course dishes to make with my toddler, especially if I have the sauce or sauces already prepared. It then becomes a simple but fun assembly job!

This lasagna is based on the Red Bean Lasagna from Rose Elliot’s ‘Vegetarian Pasta ‘. It is perfect for a bean-loving girl such as my daughter. Apart from the cheese on the top it is also vegan!

Red Bean Lasagne

50g margarine

40g flour

600ml soy milk

1 bay leaf

slice of onion

some extra milk

ground nutmeg

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 430g tin kidney beans

2 400g tins tomatoes

2 heaped tablespoons tomato purée

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

salt & pepper

enough lasagne sheets to cover your lasagne dish three times

70g Parmesan cheese, grated (omit or substitute for vegan dish)


To make the béchamel sauce, melt the margarine and stir in the flour. When it starts to bubble, add half the milk and whisk over the heat until it thickens. Add the rest of the milk and whisk until the sauce is thick and smooth.  Add the bay leaf and onion and leave over a low heat for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the extra milk carefully over the top — this will help prevent a skin from forming.  Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C/gas 6.

For the bean/tomato sauce, fry the onions in a little oil until starting to brown, then add garlic and stir for about a minute. Add beans and tomatoes and leave on the heat, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until sauce is just beginning to thicken. You don’t want it too thick or there won’t be enough liquid to cook the lasagne! Add the tomato purée, chilli powder and salt & pepper to taste.

To assemble the lasagne, remove the bay leaf and onion from the béchamel sauce and whisk until any lumps are gone. Rinse one third  of your lasagne sheets under cold water and use them to cover the bottom of a greased lasagne dish. Pour a third of your béchamel sauce  on top and cover with half your bean/tomato sauce. Cover with another layer of lasagne and the same quantities of the sauces. Top with the rest of the lasagne, the rest of the béchamel sauce the cheese, then bake for about 35 minutes until the pasta feels soft when you stick a fork or skewer through it.


Lasagne is almost infinitely variable! You can use different sauces, just one sauce instead of two, you can replace the béchamel sauce with a soft cheese (my favourite for this is marscapone), you can add a layer of sautéed vegetables between the sauces… whatever sounds good to you! My daughter and I particularly love to add layers of sweetcorn. Yum.

spreading out sauce

What my toddler did

Despite my recommendation above to have your sauces made already, I did not. So my daughter did a lot of ‘helping’ to stir things on the stove. I hold her on my hip for this so I can put her down and get her out of the way quickly if anything starts to spit or bubble too fiercely. Other things she did:

  • Choosing a bay leaf from the bag.
  • Peeling (most of) the onion.
  • Attempting to use the garlic press (not very successfully!)
  • Helping to grease the dish.
  • Putting lasagne sheets in the dish — I rearranged them slightly after.
  • Spreading the sauces out to cover the lasagne.
  • Sprinkling the cheese on top. Or throwing it on in big lumps, whichever she felt like!

If I had made the sauces earlier and they had been cooler I would have put the appropriate quantities in bowls for her to pour into the dish as well. When we do this she has practically assembled the whole lasagne herself!

The finished product
…I actually forgot to take a picture of the finished product because we were so eager to eat it! So here is a picture of the almost-ready-for-the-oven product instead.

sprinkly cheese

I am going to be away for two and a half weeks for Easter, but when we get back… apple upside-down cake! Yum.

I was going to tell you about a lasagna we made for my second post… but then I saw that one of my favourite baking blogs had issued this cheesecake challenge, and it was too tempting to pass up!

My daughter loves cheesecake. But something she loves even more is peanut butter, so the choice of recipe was easy:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss Cheesecake

Crust Ingredients:
1 pack (32) of peanut butter sandwich cookies, processed into crumbs
5 and 1/3 tablespoons butter, melted

Cheesecake Ingredients:
4 packages (8 oz. each) of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 eggs, room temperature
3 (1oz) squares semisweet bakers chocolate (melted and cooled)
3 (1oz) squares bittersweet bakers chocolate (melted and cooled)

Peanut Butter Mousse Ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons salted smooth peanut butter

Optional decorations:
Reese’s cups
melted chocolate
whipped cream

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the crust, mix the crust ingredients together and press into bottom and up the sides (about 3 inches) of a springform pan. Set aside.

For the cheesecake: Mix cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until well blended and creamy. Add the eggs and continue mixing until combined. Add chocolate and continue mixing until combined. Pour mixture into prepared crust and smooth top with a spatula.

Bake for 55 minutes or until center of cake is almost set. The top may crack, but it doesn’t particularly matter, since you’ll be covering it anyway. Let the cake fully cool. When almost cool, place it in refrigerator to chill while you prepare peanut butter mousse.

For peanut butter mousse, dissolve the gelatin over the water in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. In a saucepan over moderate heat, cook the cream until it bubbles around the edges. In another bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Temper the eggs: pour about 1/2 cup hot cream into the egg yolks slowly while whisking vigorously. Then slowly pour the egg mixture into the saucepan of cream (whisking constantly). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter and the gelatin. Place mixture into a wide bowl to allow it to cool for a bit, then chill it for just a little while — not until set, but until it’s not so runny. Pour the mixture onto the top of the pie and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight. You can pipe on melted chocolate and decorate with chopped Reese’s cups, if desired.

When completely chilled, loosen the cake from rim of springform pan by wrapping the pan in warm dishtowels. The remove the springform pan. Refrigerate the cheesecake for one day or overnight before serving. Garnish with fresh whipped cream if desired.


I actually made quite a few adjustments to this recipe. We don’t have peanut butter sandwich cookies here, nor could I find any other kind of peanut-containing cookie. Instead I used a pack of digestive biscuits for the crust and replaced two of the tablespoons of butter with peanut butter in an attempt to still give it a nutty flavour. If I were to try this again I might up it to three tablespoons or even four.

We’re vegetarian, so I used the mousse part of this recipe instead of the mousse recipe used above. I ended up omitting the whipped cream because I felt that the texture of the mousse was fine without it — also, whipping cream by hand is something my toddler can’t really do yet, and my electric mixer is currently in a different country! The mousse complemented the cheesecake very well.

Finally, I substituted the Reese’s cups with chilled and chopped Snickers-like bars. Remember though that they do contain whole peanuts, which can be a choking hazard for toddlers. If you are at all worried about this, it may be better to use something else. (Hey! Like Reese’s cups!)

putting digestives in food processor

What my toddler did

  • Putting the digestive biscuits into the food processor. Note that this was before I put the blades in, so I had to move the biscuits out of the way a little once she was done.
  • Helping turn the dial to switch it on.  Thankfully she likes loud noises, but there are quieter ways to make crumbs!
  • Spooning the biscuit-and-butter mix into the cake tin.
  • Fetching all the cream cheese from the fridge.
  • Stirring the cream cheese while I finished off the crust.
  • More stirring while I melted the chocolate.
  • Licking the chocolate-covered spoon while I finished off the stirring and got the cake into the oven. She stood in her “safe spot” by the fridge for this, which is where she must always be when I open the oven.
  • Waiting (more or less) patiently overnight while the cheesecake cooled.
  • Stirring the “mousse” and spooning it onto the cake.
  • “Squirting” leftover melted chocolate over the mousse for decoration. I guided her hand for part of this.
  • Putting aforementioned Snickers-like chunks on top to finish off (whilst snacking on one or two).

decorating the cheesecake

The finished product


Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss Cheesecake

In my daughter’s words: “Mmm, tasty!”

So it was my darling daughter’s second birthday the other week. What better way to start up this blog than with a quick, easy and delicious birthday cake?

The recipe is from an old book belonging to my mother called Teatime Cookery:

Chocolate Cake

125 g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
25 g cocoa
1 ½ level teaspoons baking powder
150 g soft margarine
150 g soft brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to  gas 4 /180 ºC and grease and line two 7-inch sandwich tins. Sift the dry ingrdients into a bowl, then stir in the wet ones. Beat until smooth. Divide mixture between the tins and bake for 25 minutes or until springy to the touch.

When it was cool we sandwiched it together with some simple vanilla butter icing (comment if you want the recipe!) and melted some chocolate over the top. Some sugar stars sprinkled on top– or thrown viciously and poked, if you’re my toddler — and a couple of candles and it was done!

What my toddler did

  • Pouring pre-measured ingredients into the bowl. She likes to pour in the eggs, but needs a close eye kept on her while she does so!
  • Stirring. Lots of stirring. Most of the stirring, in fact.
  • Pressing the start button on the timer.
  • More stirring for the icing.
  • Licking the spoon I used to stir the chocolate while it melted.
  • Decorating the chocolate-covered cake with stars.
  • Singing Happy Birthday to herself. A lot.

Other things she could have done (most of these she has done in the past, but I don’t like to interrupt her when she’s happily focussed on one task to try to make her switch to another):

  • ‘Helping’ to grease the tins. I usually do this by wiping them with some oil-soaked kitchen paper, and she likes to join in. Give it a once-over yourself as well, though.
  • Spooning the icing onto the cake.


This cake tastes good with most kinds of fillings and toppings. You can sandwich it together with whipped cream or jam instead of icing, or use the same icing for both topping and filling. Vanilla icing tastes good, but so does chocolate or orange. As for decorations, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that there are many options other than sugar stars. Try some halved strawberries instead — yum!

The finished product

(Yes, those are fingerprints.)