Our first born is 9 today. Other years I felt somewhat sad about my little baby growing up...but this year I don't feel that as much. I feel so full of joy and pride in seeing who he is becoming as a young man that there isn't much room for much else today.
He is still our sweet boy that tries his hardest to please us (and everyone else). When we can't find him nowadays, he is usually tucked away in his room reading books like Robinson Crusoe or playing his first musical instrument, the recorder he received this year in 3rd grade music class. (I think if I hear "in the jungle" on the recorder one more time this week...it might be the end of me).
He still owns his successful marshmallow company and was featured on the Suze Orman show twice. Needless to say, this kid loves to be in the kitchen. He talks about being a paleontologist, a scientist and an archeologist someday but lately his thoughts have turned to becoming a chef.
Last Saturday he was wondering around aimlessly through the house (one of my pet peeves...aimless meandering mingled with words like "I'm bored"). I told him to find an afternoon project ~ which, no surprise, ended up being in the kitchen.
Click below for the recipe and more photos...
This cookbook, Cakes From Scratch in Half the Time by Linda West Eckhardt, has been great for him. I found it at a thrift store and knew that it would be perfect for a little guy's attention span. The great thing about teaching kids to be comfortable in the kitchen at an early age (I started all of my boys up at the counter measuring and stiring next to me at about 18 months), is that soon enough they can make anything on their own with confidence.
I love that Canaan, without prompting, always practices Mise En Place. He does it everytime, like clockwork. Ususally I leave him to bake or cook alone but this time I snuck in here and there to snap a few photos.
I was also impressed this time around with his growing sense of confidence in his skills. He even made adjustments as needed without stress...which is a great skill for kids to learn. In years before, not having an ingredient like brown sugar (we were out so he made his own) would have sent him into a mini frenzy. I was proud to see he is learning the art of problem solving.
A couple of hours later we all were devouring the most delicious pre-dinner Saturday evening snack compliments of the chef.
|Food Styling by Chef Canaan.|
PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE
From: Cakes from Scratch in Half the Time by Linda West Eckhardt
1 large egg
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) soft, butter
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar (Canaan made his own with sugar and molasses)
1 1/4 c. sifted cake flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2/3 c. whole milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. whipping cream (didn't have any on hand so he used half and half)
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 c. salted peanuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 400. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners and spritz with baking spray. Place unbroken egg in a bowl of hot tap water. Cream the peanut butter and butter until light, then add the sugar and continue to beat for about 3 min. Add the egg, beating. Meanwhile sift the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of wax paper. Spoon in flour mixture, in thirds, alternately with milk and vanilla. Mix just until batter is smooth. Divide batter among the muffin cups, about 1/3 c. in each. Bake until cakes are pale gold and wooden pick comes out clean, 15-20 min. (in my oven it was about 17 min.) Cool on rack. Meanwhile, place cream in 2 c. glass measuring cup and heat to boiling in microwave (about 1 min. on high). Then add chocolate and microwave on high for about 1 1/2 min. more. Let stand for a few moments, then stir until smooth and glossy. Spread onto cupcakes, using about 1 heaping teaspoon per cake. Then sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
|The chaos that ensues...|