As stir-frying is still out of the question, I mostly let him help only when it comes to baking. He's very good (and very excited) at cracking eggs. Each time he cracks one successfully, he cackles with joy.
This is a super-duper easy basic biscuit dough recipe I found on the BBC Good Food site. It has only FOUR ingredients. Easy or what. Can't mess it up. Perfect for baking with kids. (Er... I still managed to screw it up. The recipe calls for an egg yolk. But I let Connor crack in an entire egg instead. It didn't ruin the cookies though!)
We've made this twice now and it's really, really delicious. I usually add chocolate chips and that's about as complicated as it gets. The dough gets very sticky so it's no good for cutting out with our cute animal cookie cutters. Just shape it into a log, chill it in the fridge for it to firm up and then slice into rounds. Either that or drop spoonfuls of it onto the baking sheet.
One thing about baking with or without kids is that it can get quite messy. This is how I minimise the mess:
1. I fill up a washing bowl/basin halfway with hot water and squeeze in dishwashing liquid. Then I dump in used utensils and bowls as I go along. By the time I'm done mixing and the cookies are baking away, the utensils have soaked for a little while and so are easier to wash.
2. I mist some newspapers and lay them out on the work surface before I start measuring stuff out. This way, when I spill flour, it stays put and my son isn't tempted to blow them away.
One part that Connor finds very hard to understand is why we have to wait for soooooo long before the cookies are ready to eat. He'll hop about impatiently until the cookies are done. Fortunately, they take only about 15 min or so but I'm sure it feels like an eternity to my son.
This recipe makes about 30 pieces of cookies. And you can freeze the dough. After everything's all mixed, all you have to do is shape them into logs and wrap them in cling film before freezing them. I normally shape mine into logs of about 8 inches long, that yields something like 6-7 cookies. Defrost before you want to bake them and just slice them into rounds before popping into oven. Don't ask me how long they can last in the freezer as these cookies never last beyond a week before they disappear down our tummies.
Connor was very proud of his efforts. It so happened Dear Hubby called home just as we had finished mixing everything and Connor shouted excitedly over the phone, "Daddy, I'm making cookies! I mix everything and now I have cookies!"