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Our Favourite Skills Children Learn While Cooking

From stirring and cracking to grating and whisking, teaching your little ones to cook doesn't have to be difficult. We get some expert advice on being creative with the kids in the kitchen

 

Cooking with your children is a great way to spend time together as a family, and teach them skills that will serve them well for years to come. There is momentum building in the UK around teaching children to cook. Not only is there a Junior Bake Off, but it's also back on the National Curriculum and has been included in the new School Food Plan.

A study by the Children's Food Trust found that children who learn how to cook before the age of eight are 50 per cent more likely to have a healthy diet later in life. And there's a long way to go when you learn that almost a third of children think cheese comes from plants!

Cooking is a fundamental life skill influencing good health - and the best part is, it's fun and creative.

Building foundation skills

We teamed up with the folks at Little Dish to see what skills children can learn in the kitchen, and when you can encourage them to get more involved. They've developed a skills chart for parents and children, starting with the basics and building your child into a little chef.

Here's a few of the things you can expect in each stage:

  • Getting started - stirring, sprinkling and brushing
  • Handy helper - drizzling, cracking and grating
  • Little chef - weighing, whisking and tossing

Print out your own skills chart, and see how far your little ones can get!

Little Dish is committed to raising happy healthy chefs, so they've developed a cookbook filled with delicious recipes that all include roles for children. To get you started they've shared one of their favourites - Peanut Butter Squares - where the little ones will love bashing the biscuits!

Peanut Butter Squares

  • Prep time - 15 mins
  • Cook time - 5 mins
  • Serves - 16
  • Difficulty - Easy

Ingredients

  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 150g butter
  • 250g digestive biscuits (or substitute ginger biscuits)
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 300g crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method - Line a 20cm square cake tin with a square of parchment paper large enough to come up higher than the sides of the tin.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stir occasionally and once melted set aside. Melt the butter in a medium pan over a very low heat, remove from the heat and set aside.

Blitz the biscuits into fine crumbs either in a food processor, or place them in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin. Stir the biscuits into the butter with the brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Mix until everything is well combined.

Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and then smooth it out with the back of a spoon. Pour the chocolate on top of the mixture and spread to cover evenly. Chill in the fridge overnight.

Remove from the tin, using the paper to help pull it out. Cut into 16 squares and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

The taste test

We tried this recipe with one of our own little chefs and they went down a treat. A note from our bakers: you can drop the brown sugar without much hassle, and with real dark chocolate, we found 100g was enough.

You'll find more delightful recipes between the pages of the Little Dish Family Cookbook.

 
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