Cooking with kids Archives

Chocolate chip cookie dough brownies

This is a recipe that Abby’s been wanting to do for ages.  And I’ve been wanting her to do it for ages to use up a tin of condensed milk I’ve had in the pantry for ages.  We had a great opportunity to make it this weekend – full of gluten, dairy and ‘normal’ sugar – and give most of it all away.  Our neighborhood had a block party this weekend, and I naturally volunteered us to bring dessert … and then I kind of went over the top with other things that I brought as well as this.  But this was definitely the highlight of the party – it was the first dessert to be totally consumed – so proud of Abby!

2015-09-12 Choc chip cookie dough browniesOk, so the recipe we used is here – but we topped it off with the cookie dough truffle recipe (here), just so I could use up the condensed milk.  I also actually prefer this choc-chip cookie dough recipe compared to the one with the brownies, but you can try both versions and let me know what you think.  When I was eating gluten and dairy, these didn’t last long in our house either … and not many got eaten by the family!

Abby did really well with the baking – I just basically stood and directed, rather than getting in and doing much more.  She’s getting to be really good at the baking side of things.  And the eating of the dough from the bowls, spoons, spatulas … I’ve taught her well!

We’re coming to the end of her list of what she wanted to make during Mummy-Abby time, but I’m sure this will continue for quite a while yet.  There are so many more of my recipes that she can try as cupcakes …!

Hope you enjoyed reading – let me know in the comments if you would like us to take on a particular challenge for our baking time together!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



Strawberry cupcakes

Can I just start this post by saying how awesome Abby is?  She had a friend over for a sleepover last night and when I went down to see them this morning, I found that Abby had done all the ironing for the week WHILE her friend was here.  How cool is she?

Anyway, this is the next installment in the translation of cake recipes into cupcakes.  Abby has had this recipe in her sights for a long time now – it’s on the list she originally wrote out as to what she wanted to make with me during Mummy-Abby time way back in February.  I don’t have this recipe on my website because it’s a direct copy of one from Sally’s Baking Addiction (see here).  I have made it once before, as part of when I was doing the US National Food Day Challenge, last year.  It was great.  It was yummy.  I wanted to make it again.  And Abby wanted to make it into cupcakes.  So, win-win for us both.

This afternoon, after Abby and her friend FINALLY woke up, and did some stuff together, the 3 of us converged on the kitchen to make these cupcakes.  And the result:

2015-09-05 Strawberry cupcakesSo these were gluten-free (gluten-free flour blend) and dairy-free (almond milk), but the ganache was the same as Abby used on her marble cupcakes (see here).  OK, so I did the icing, and it’s not as pretty as Abby’s have been, but it was a little difficult just with ganache!  Now, since the marble cupcakes were NOT gluten OR dairy-free, I made sure to leave one of these strawberry cupcakes aside without the ganache so I could have one.

And the verdict?  Well, it was nice and moist and yummy.  Abby and her friend loved them.  Henry loved them.  Everybody loved them!  So, thank you to Sally’s Baking Addiction for the recipe and to Cupcake Wars for the inspiration of making these into cupcakes.  Yes I know that Abby just made cupcakes yesterday and we made some more today.  And in the next few days there may be another post where Henry and I spend some time together in the kitchen.  Keep you waiting with bated breath!

Thanks for reading – I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions on anything you read on this website.  And please spread the word if you like what you read to your friends and family – the more the merrier!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



Marble cupcakes

Yep, it’s cupcake time again.  Still.  Abby had a vision of what she wanted to make … and this is the result!

I had made a raspberry marble cake once, I think.  It was for my mother-in-law’s birthday many years ago (and I think I gave a slice to one of my friends who had their birthday on the same day – you know who you are!).  It was a chocolate-raspberry-vanilla cake, with raspberry puree through it and a chocolate buttercream frosting.  And it was yummy, but I remember it as being a little dry, so I haven’t really made it again since.  

The recipe is definitely not in the realm of my recent baking exploits.  It is NOT gluten-free, dairy-free OR refined sugar-free, but I’m sure it could become so if I tried hard enough.  But I don’t really want to – I’ve got so many other things I want to try!

But Abby had a dream, and I tried to help her accomplish it.  And her dream was to change it up a bit (I think she’s been spending too much time in the kitchen with me and my experimenting!).  So instead of a brown-red-white marble cake, she wanted a green-blue-yellow one.  Hmmm … And she had all the flavors worked out as well.  The blue would be blueberry flavored, the yellow would be lemon flavored and the green would just be a food coloring for the vanilla cake.  And it would be blueberry puree through it all.  And it would be in cupcakes, rather than a full cake.  And she wanted to have a white chocolate ganache topping, followed by a pink buttercream frosting.  Good to have a dream, I guess – it’s not unusual for me to come up with weird and wonderful combinations (cough!!).

So, here’s how they turned out:

2015-09-03 Marble cupcakesThey look pretty good, don’t they?  I must admit, I was a bit skeptical of the whole buttercream frosting on top of a ganache, I thought the frosting would slide off!  But Abby had seen it a number of times on Cupcake Wars and she was determined to try it.  And she did.

The verdict?  Grant said there was a lot of flavors going on in a little cupcake.  Abby said they were a little more dense than what she expected, but she still liked them, and so did all her friends that she gave one to.  I didn’t try it – it was a good practice for me to be in the kitchen and not be sampling everything all the time … this time it was because I didn’t want to get sick from the gluten and the dairy, but it was still fun hanging out with my awesome daughter.

Stay tuned for the next installment of changing my cake and bread recipes into cupcakes … I’m sure there will be more!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



Polenta cupcakes

Apologies for those of you who have signed up to get updates and haven’t received anything from me for a while.  Be assured that I’ve been busy in the kitchen, there was just a glitch in the add-in that sent out the automatic e-mails.  As always, please feel free to comment whenever and wherever you would like – I’d love to hear from you.

So this weekend, we had another Mummy-Abby time where cupcakes were made (and eaten).  This time, it was based off my lemon polenta cake recipe (see here) but as I didn’t have any lemons on hand, and I did have 2 oranges that were on their last legs, I thought, why don’t we just substitute oranges for the lemons?  Well, here’s the result:

2015-08-29 Polenta cupcakesAbby had a great time measuring out all the ingredients and helping mix it all together.  Then she got to use my brand new cookie scoop to dollop the batter into the pan (just like on Cupcake Wars).  The cupcakes rose really nicely to form the dome on top.  And once cooled, we made some buttercream icing (with vegetable shortening instead of butter) and got it just about the right consistency so Abby could pipe them onto the cupcakes (just like on Cupcake Wars).  Do you see where this has been heading?

Every cake recipe I have made, Abby is thinking of turning into cupcakes … stand by for strawberry bread cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, etc.  She’s already made the banana bread recipe (see here) into cupcakes with a white chocolate frosting and they turned out well.  Amazing what a little determination can do!

We had some friends over for dinner where I made Aji de Gallina, with these polenta cupcakes for dessert, along with a banana custard pie, using the winner of the snickerdoodle challenge as the crust, and some dairy-free, gluten-free custard powder that my in-laws brought over with them from Australia on a recent visit.  Everything worked out really well, but I’d like to say the cupcakes were the highlight.  So proud of you Abby!

Thanks for reading about our adventures in the kitchen.  Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!




S’mores mini cheesecakes

Abby and I have been creating in the kitchen again.  Well, this time mainly Abby dreaming up the recipe and wanting to try it.  You may recall we tried to make a gluten-free dairy-free mini caramel cheesecake a while ago (see here) and while the cheesecake worked ok, the caramel topping was definitely not worth it.  Abby has been enthralled with Cupcake Wars, and when she remembered the mini cheesecakes, made in cupcake pans, she wanted to try it again, but with a twist.

Enter the s’mores cheesecake.  Same almond meal base as before.  The cheesecake part we made into chocolate by adding cocoa (Grant and Henry both said it wasn’t ‘chocolate-y’ enough) so either we need to add way more cocoa, or some dark chocolate to get the right taste.  And the topping, we made out of melting some mini-marshmallows with some corn syrup and dolloping it on top.  Very gooey.  Very yummy, but not the marshmallow frosting that everyone else seems to know how to make.

2015-08-23 S'mores mini cheesecakes #1


Ok, so Abby had another reason for the three layers, not just the s’mores lookalike.  She calls them her ‘Trinity S’mores’ – God is the base, the foundation of everything.  Jesus is the marshmallow frosting because it was poured into the cheesecake and Jesus poured his heart out for us.  And the chocolate cheesecake was the Holy Spirit because, well it was the third part of the trinity.  Three parts to one dessert – the trinity!

2015-08-23 S'mores mini cheesecakes #2


So the verdict was – yummy, but still needs some work before adding the recipe to this website.

Both Abby and I would love to read any comments you may have – any encouragement would be greatly appreciated!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



Flourless ‘molten’ cupcakes

It’s been a while since Abby and I have spent much time in the kitchen together.  Our Mummy-Abby time has been more about going for walks, watching movies etc, but she really wanted to make these cupcakes after she was inspired from watching a number of episodes of Cupcake Wars on Netflix.

Molten flourless chocolate cupcakes

The original recipe came from a friend of ours who put together a whole pile of gluten-free recipes for me, just after I found out that I was gluten-intolerant.  I looked at the recipe in preparation for spending time with Abby in the kitchen and realized it used milk chocolate AND white chocolate.  As most of you may know, it’s pretty difficult and expensive to get dairy-free milk chocolate and almost impossible to get dairy-free and gluten-free white chocolate.  I tried to think of a way I could make these dairy-free without it costing an arm and a leg, including trying to use peanut butter chips instead of the milk chocolate for the cupcake, and then dairy-free chocolate chunks for the inside.  But then Grant just convinced me to take a Lactaid and make it with ‘normal chocolate’ considering I probably would only eat one and leave the rest for other people.  So that’s what we did.  

We followed the recipe to the letter – including the ‘real’ cream instead of coconut cream, and butter instead of margarine or coconut oil.  Abby was very helpful in making the batter, and pouring into the prepared pans (and licking the bowl – I didn’t think it was worth taking another Lactaid just to lick out the bowl!).

2015-08-08 Abby pouring lava cupcakes


Fortunately we had Grant’s parents to help us finish the cupcakes – we made about 20 of them and they were very yummy.  I took some to work as well … and they went like hotcakes.  I wonder, can cupcakes go as quickly as hotcakes?  Sorry, digressing there for a moment!

2015-08-08 Lava cupcakesSo, everyone was happy.  Abby was happy because she got to make these awesome cupcakes.  I was happy because I got to spend time with my amazing daughter.  The family was happy because they got to eat something yummy.  The guys at work were happy because … well, they love everything I bring in for them – it’s free food for them, after all!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures in the kitchen with Abby.  I’d love to hear any comments – feel free to add comments below or e-mail me.  Or send me any suggestions for something you’d like to see me try.  Or just give me some encouragement!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



Banana custard pie and another FISH lunch

This weekend we hosted another FISH lunch (Fellowship in Someone’s Home).  We had an awesome family of four join us for lunch where we served turkey burgers (recipe here) and chicken sausages (bought from Costco), followed by lemon polenta cake (recipe here) and a banana custard pie.  Grant has been asking me to make a banana custard pie for ages, and I tried a few weeks ago and failed (read here) so was reluctant to try it again, but this pie was our Mummy-Abby time for the weekend, and we had great fun making it, which is all that matters really!  

2015-06-28 Banana custard pie

Nothing really exciting or difficult about the recipe, so I can’t direct you to a website or a page here so you can make it yourselves – sorry!  

I used leftover graham crackers from our adventurous camping trip (originally designed for s’mores), cut up a banana and then added a custard made from a packet mix we found at a local Latino market … not keen to try to make custard from scratch again after my last disastrous effort!  And I made it full of stuff I couldn’t eat – ‘normal’ graham crackers containing gluten and ‘normal’ milk in the custard containing lactose.  Just meant that I couldn’t eat it, but I have had quite enough of eating my baked goods recently … I made some sugar cookies (recipe here) and some peanut butter s’more cookies (recipe here) to take into work this week … and ate a lot of the dough while making them.  I did have some of the lemon polenta cake and that was very yummy, so all works out well in the end.

Our guests went home with full tummies, which was great, and we had some awesome conversations getting to know each other, which was even better – thanks Andrew and Cara!

Oh, and last weekend for Father’s Day, we did have Worms in the Mud (recipe here), but learnt a little about instant pudding mixes and non-dairy milk … we ended up making it with a Hershey’s white chocolate pudding and soy milk combination, with some non-dairy cool whip equivalent and non-dairy cream cheese equivalent.  Along with my yummy chocolate peanut butter cookies (recipe here) and it was one of the most awesome Worms in the Mud we’ve had.  Unfortunately I made it all by myself as Abby was having a baking-free weekend … but Grant enjoyed it and that’s what mattered most.

So, until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


Chocolate orange cake (Jaffa cake)

First of all, the reason why I didn’t post anything last week was because our Mummy-Abby time was spent on a camping trip, rather than baking.  Abby and I climbed up some mountains and had some good chats while trying to figure out how to get down again!  This is a picture of us at the top in the middle of nowhere, but lov2015-06-09 Sarah & Abby at MoabAnd now, for our cooking adventures this weekend – we went with a chocolate orange cake.  For those of you in Australia, you will remember the Jaffa chocolate balls, that we used to roll down the aisles in the movie theaters … or was I the only one that seemed to have that happen to them?  Grant can definitely remember doing that,  being around those who did that when he was a kid!  This is a really easy cake – the hardest thing is worrying that you’ve put on the oranges in the saucepan and either forgotten about them and the pan’s boiled dry, or put too much water in the saucepan and it’s boiled over.

Simply put, take 2 oranges and place in a saucepan of water.  Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for about 2 hours.  After cooling, put the oranges in a food processor and blend until just a few chunks remain.  Add the rest of the ingredients (almond meal, cocoa powder, eggs and a few other things) and blend further.  Then pour into a cake pan and bake.  Simple!  I topped ours with some powdered/icing/confectioner’s sugar and then some orange zest for decoration.

2015-06-14 Chocolate orange cakeWe had some friends over for lunch – one was an Australian (hi Graham!) and he remembered the whole Jaffa thing.  The other friends (hi Leslie and Mark!) are American, but they loved the cake as well.  And you too can make this cake – just let me know if you want me to put the recipe on the website in the comments below and I will!

I also made a dairy-free gluten-free lemon cheesecake with the ginger cookies as a base (recipe here) using a few packets of tofu and all natural, no-refined-sugar as an experiment and it worked ok.  Not good enough yet for the website, but definitely something to continue trying out!

Next weekend is Father’s Day, so Grant has requested Worms in the mud (recipe here).  Again, I’ll be trying to make it yummy but still gluten and dairy-free.  If this one works out – I’ll post a separate recipe for you all to try!

Remember you can subscribe to get my latest recipes (like oat balls, banana bread and soft-baked oatmeal bars to name a few), you can comment on anything on this website – basically I’d love to hear anything from you guys!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!




Chocolate peanut butter pie – take 2

For those of you keeping up to date with my adventures in the kitchen with Abby, you will remember that we made a chocolate peanut butter pie for Mother’s Day (read more here).  And that it wasn’t the greatest because I played around with the recipe a lot to try to get it a little more healthy.  Don’t get me wrong, I still liked it – it just wasn’t the same as other chocolate peanut butter pies I’ve made before and eaten, and enjoyed more.  So this week, Abby suggested (!) that we follow the recipe a little more closely, and make it like I used to.

However, when I have made this recipe before, that was before all the gluten and lactose intolerance discoveries, so I did have to change it … slightly!

For the crust: Chocolate peanut butter cookies (see recipe here) – we baked the cookies as per the recipe, than Abby had great fun squishing them in a ziploc bag to make the crumbs.  We then pushed the crumbs into a greased pie tin (with our fingers of course) and tried to get it as even as possible.  And the fact that there were some cookies left over?  Well, they didn’t stay left over for long, if you get my drift!

For the peanut butter layer: Creamy peanut butter mixed with icing/powdered/confectioner’s sugar (depending on which country you are in).  Mixed together very well with Abby’s fingers, until it resembled coarse cornmeal, or breadcrumbs.  Oh yeah, that was also yummy when we taste-tested, just to make sure it was worth using!

For the chocolate layer: Basic cream pie filling (see recipe here) with an additional 3 tablespoons of cocoa to make it nice and chocolate-y.  Substitutions so I could eat the finished product: almond milk, my gluten-free flour mix (see conversion table here), and dairy-free shortening.

And the end result?

2015-05-31 Chocolate peanut butter pieLooks pretty good, if I do say so myself!  And the cream on the side was from a chilled tin of coconut milk, then the solid parts whipped in an electric mixer with a bit of vanilla. 

Overall, if you didn’t know it was gluten and dairy free, it was pretty good.  Grant could tell the difference based on previous times I’ve made it with all the gluten and lactose-containing ingredients, but it was still not a bad effort to make it so I could enjoy it!

And Abby and I had lots of fun making it, eating during making it and eating after it was made.  And that’s all that really matters!

Hope you had fun reading about my adventures in the kitchen with Abby.  Remember you can comment on anything you see here on the website, you can subscribe to get updated recipes (watch out for a few new ones coming your way in the next few weeks) and follow me via Twitter (@sarahcookathome) – I love hearing from you!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!



Leftover chocolate muffins

In a similar manner to when we used up the cinnamon rolls that I didn’t really like the taste of. this week we used up some bought chocolate chip muffins.  I really should learn from previous experiences, but maybe I need to stop experimenting in the kitchen for a while.  Maybe I should just follow the recipes without adapting for a while.  Nah!

This week’s recipe was based on our famous cookies and cream cheesecake slice (recipe here), but here are all the changes we made:

  • instead of a full recipe, we only made a half recipe (so we didn’t have leftovers)
  • instead of Oreo cookies, we used the leftover chocolate chip muffins
  • instead of cream, we used chilled coconut milk/cream
  • instead of white chocolate, we used dark chocolate

Unfortunately, since we were only making a half cheesecake, I put in a whole amount of gelatin, so it was very gelatinous … that was my mistake, not Abby’s calculations!  But this is how it turned out:

2015-05-22 Chocolate cheesecake

It looks ok.  It tasted … ok.  Not great, not terrible enough to throw in the bin, but ok.  I think if we had put in a chocolate fudge swirl or something like that, it may have tasted a little more interesting.

Oh yeah, and for those of you curious as to how my current dairy-free diet took the milk contained in this recipe into account?  Well, I tried having some Lactaid – but since I had the cheesecake I’ve been rather toxic at both ends of my body (sorry if that’s too much information!), so I’m not sure whether the medicine worked or not.

I asked Abby what she wanted to make next week – she said chocolate peanut butter pie …  the way I used to make it … without trying to be healthy or experimenting with other ingredients.  I think I’ll take her advice … just this once!

Let me know what you think!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with kids!


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