Baking brings a family together.
By Debra Roth Kane
It’s seven in the morning on a winter weekday. The world out your front windows is a swirl of white flakes and the school bus is not coming. Snow day!
You can bundle the kids up and send them out to fling snowballs and build snowmen. You can pull out some favorite old movies. But there are few better ways to fill a cold, housebound day with your children than baking. Starting with breakfast and moving on to treats throughout the day, it’s an activity and reward all rolled into one.
Lisa Pototsky of Reisterstown has a recipe for cinnamon buns that hits the spot if you are wishing for a warm Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts pastry, but the ice-covered roads are keeping you home; and it has the essential snow day ingredient. “It’s fun for the kids to help make,” says Pototsky.
Though the recipe looks complicated, Pototsky reassures the wary baker that she has done this with her younger child. Her secret ingredient is Whole Foods Vietnamese cinnamon.
Pototsky enjoys baking and has plenty of sophisticated recipes that she prepares for adults. But she also likes to find baking activities that suit her children, Jason, 6, and Jennifer, 11, both in taste and in execution.
One of her suggestions is a twist on traditional sugar cookies. “You use your child’s hand as the stencil for cutting the cookies after you roll out the dough,” she says. She uses packaged Pillsbury sugar cookie dough and adds a bit of additional flour (two tablespoons, give or take) so that it has a less greasy texture and doesn’t puff up too much when baked.
Even moms who don’t regularly get out the rolling pin may be inspired to engage their children in this exercise of creativity and good taste.
“I only bake with my children,” says Edye Abrams of Stevenson. “I bake with Aerin, my younger daughter, in particular. I am a good cook but a terrible baker, so Aerin has been my inspiration.”
Two years ago, Aerin, who is 11 now, had a baking birthday party. The kids baked everything they ate and left with a copy of a cookbook Aerin had made, along with chef’s hats and aprons.
Aerin wholeheartedly endorses the idea of baking. “I like reading cookbooks and magazines to find recipes, and then I like to try them with my mom. I like to lick the bowl and eat desserts while they are still hot,” she says.
That’s a snow day recipe that should appeal to everyone!