Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We have all sorts of sweet and savory dishes, as well as a face mask to wear while drinking your lattes. Cooking with Kids is an ongoing series where we share recipes that are easy enough to make with a two-year-old. If you’re new to the series, read our first post that provides our detailed tips for cooking with little ones; subsequent posts are less detailed.
You may have seen these pumpkin muffins on Instagram, they spent Halloween week masquerading around the house as spiders. After browsing the Halloween baking supplies on sale, Alex picked out the spider holders, and they dictated our afternoon baking activity.
It had been a couple of weeks since Alex helped Calder and I in the kitchen (somehow we had even skipped our usual weekend pancake session), and I didn’t realize how much he was yearning for some kitchen time until we started these muffins. The kiddo went ballistic when I put “his” measuring cup and spoon in front of him. I wish I had a recording of his excited giggles/yelps.
In the first Cooking with Kids post, I mentioned using my phone to look up recipes while in the kitchen. While I do get recipes online, I’m proud to say that just as often I’m using cookbooks as my source. For this particular recipe (and much of my basic baking), I used the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. I recently read an article about how kids today aren’t getting the experience of using phone books, dictionaries, and other physical resources because so often we just search for information online. While I could wax poetic about how much I love cookbooks for their recipe ideas, inspirational photos, and stories, I think Alex will pick up on all of those details himself if I just keep the books around and continue using them during our kitchen adventures.
King Arthur doesn’t have a recipe for pumpkin muffins, but it does have reliable recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins with whole wheat flour. I just subbed pumpkin puree for the banana and white chocolate chips for the semi-sweet. I might have stuck with chocolate chips if we had any, but the white ended up being a delicious alternative, adding an an indulgent candy sweetness to these hearty muffins.
On this particular day, I decided to let Alex try using the can opener. I knew (and I’m sure you do too), that there’s no way he would be strong enough to operate our basic opener, but sometimes I think it’s nice for him to figure out what we can’t do on his own rather than having me always telling him. With a two-year-old, letting them try can actually make your days a lot more peaceful because you won’t have the whole “you can’t do it/you’re too little”, “but i want to/whining” back and forth. Instead, they try, fail, and then we use “teamwork!” to open the can together.
After opening the can (and reminding Alex that the edges were sharp), I gave him a spoon and let him measure out the pumpkin. He started scooping the pumpkin into the measuring cup, but after a few minutes, the temptation was too much, and he ended up tasting the puree. One taste led to two and three, and he completely lost interest in measuring out the puree, so I finished the task. That was no big deal at all. I could have tried to keep him on task, but why cause a fuss that would stop him from eating the healthy pumpkin?
Other than the pumpkin, the rest of our baking proceeded as normal. Alex measured and sampled. He smelled the cinnamon. He sampled, and spit out, the salt. He ate a few walnuts and a few white chocolate chips.
Bake these muffins, I promise they are anything but scary! Of course, if you’re looking to add a bit of spook to your table, we found the spider holders at Michael’s.