In our house we foster a spirit of inventiveness and creativity in the kitchen. Since the kids see me creating new recipes every day for PBS Parents and The Six OClock Scramble, they think experimentation in the kitchen is the norm. They arent afraid of making cooking snafus, since they see it happen to me all the time.
Last weekend our 13-year-old, Celia, felt like making something chocolaty. Together we came up with an idea for a really simple no-bake cookie. Celia melted chocolate chips in the microwave, and then stirred mini marshmallows and broken pretzels into the warm melted chocolate. It was such a delicious combination that first she ate about 1/3 of it with a spoon. Before she could devour it all, I encouraged her to spoon the rest onto a baking sheet so we could let them harden in the refrigerator. Wowza! We liked the hardened clusters even more than the melted chocolate combination. They are the perfect combination of sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy, and they only take 10 minutes to make!
When kids are in the mood to cook or bake, I encourage you to seize the moment and let them get creative in the kitchen. Theyll learn valuable skills and will take pride in creating something that the whole family enjoys eating. Let them help you clean up, too, so they learn that its part of the cooking process.