Family Cooking Wars

Family Cooking WarsWith fickle weather in upstate New York, our family has come up with some crazy ideas to keep us busy indoors. With five children ranging in age from 11 years to 16 months, you have to get creative to keep everyone interested. One thing that we all love to do is to participate in a bake off, just like the popular television shows where contestants have to create the best edible creations.

Our last bake off was a cookie contest. The first step is to make some plain cookie dough using a traditional recipe such as chocolate chip cookie dough (leave out the chocolate chips) or sugar cookie dough. You could also just purchase store bought cookie dough from the refrigerated section. Now you will need to decide what to mix into your cookies. Gather up all different ingredients that you have in your kitchen. Left over candy from treat bags, raisins, nuts, sprinkles and cinnamon work well. Try to use unique items that you would not normally find in a cookie such as licorice, chewy candies and sour gummy worms. Divide the different treats into paper cupcake liners. Once the dough is ready and all the ingredients are set the bake off can begin.

The children each get a small bowl with a tablespoon of cookie dough. Each child then selects different ingredients to put into their very own cookie creation. The younger children always seem to select as much candy as they can. Who would think that you can fit several pieces of sour chewy candies along with pieces of a chocolate bar into one cookie! The older children think more along the lines of what will actually taste good. Each child made a few cookies. Remember to organize the cookie creations on the cookie trays so that everyone knows who the creator is when they come out of the oven. The cookies bake in the oven for 9-11 minutes. Once they cool the tasting and the awards begin.

We like to give different awards for some of the baked goods. There are presentation awards such as most beautiful, most colorful, grossest looking and messiest. The second category of awards is for taste. We all taste the cookies and vote which ones taste the best and the worst.

We have done several different bake offs. You can modify the activity for whatever ingredients you have in the house. Try starting with white bread dough, plain muffin mix, vanilla ice cream or pizza dough.Family Cooking Wars - cookiesDon’t they look just delicious! (I just noticed some Pez candy in one – now that adds come crunch). We all agree that the most fun of the bake offs are the crazy recipes we all come up with. Until we had our bake offs, who knew that peanut butter cups tasted so good in bread, that licorice cookies are quite tasty and marshmallows muffins are delicious!