Sunday, March 1, 2015

What Will She Cook up Next?

One morning last week, I came downstairs after getting ready for the day, and found this.

Delaney decided to bake a cake. She created a recipe that included flour, sugar, vanilla, milk, baking powder, and egg.

She waited for me before turning on the oven, and after a few instructions, her cake was baking.

Delaney wanted a frosting, so I got out some powdered sugar and chocolate, and she and Sophie mixed together a chocolate glaze mix.

We taste-tested it once it was finished. It was a very interesting spongy cake, and she decided that she needed to revise her recipe.

The next day, she was back in the kitchen as soon as she was dressed.

She adjusted the quantities of some ingredients and baked four small cakes this time.

They were  cute and  tasted like a moist white cake. Delaney and Sophie colored some frosting that we happened to have in the fridge and frosted the creations.

I have to admit, the first few days of this adventure made me cringe a little bit, and I would find something else to do until she finished, or asked for assistance, which was rare. I mainly stayed out of the way or played with Sophie so she wouldn't interrupt Delaney's process. By the third day, I had faith, and openly encouraged her inventiveness.

Delaney baked a 9-inch round cake that day and decorated it with the leftover frosting.

I offered her a cookbook, just in case she wanted to look at a recipe and get some ideas, or perhaps follow it.

She wrinkled her nose at me and told me that she knew what she was doing, and following a recipe is boring.

"Then you know exactly what you are going to get. Besides, it's way more fun not to know what I am doing at first, and keep trying. All of a sudden, my brain figures it out, and I know just what to do!"

She did have a point.

Day four brought the addition of brown sugar, and she made what she named a "cookie-cake". It reminded me of a coffee cake and was quite tasty.

By now, Delaney knew how to measure all of her ingredients, add and subtract some simple fractions, set the oven to the temperature she wanted, and safely get her treats in and out of the oven. She also cleaned up after herself - put everything away, washed the countertops and her dishes. Some of the days, she even washed my dishes too!

Delaney decided to branch out to cookies on day five. She asked me for some tips. I helped her figure out different ratios of flour to liquid to make a cookie consistency, and told her that sometimes cooks use applesauce in their recipes instead of butter or oil. I asked if she could make something a little healthier since we'd tasted a lot of cake that week,

She put her ingredients together and came up with "carrot-strawberry-applesauce cookies". They were great!  Moist and just a little bit sweet, with a pleasant texture.

She was so pleased with her cookies that she made a second batch the following day that included applesauce, oatmeal, and peanut butter. Sophie proclaimed them delicious, and the girls gobbled them up. Hailey and I were out for the morning, and when we returned home, the house smelled cozy and the kitchen was clean.

Delaney returned to the kitchen the next day. She decided to attempt a no-bake cake and see what happened. Her concoction sat in the refrigerator for most of the day without a noticeable difference in consistency. She was a bit disappointed. We looked at it together, and I suggested that she call it a dip and try it with some fruit. It was a very yummy dip!

She branched out to making other foods throughout the week, and created a carrot/strawberry salad, and various little snacks for Sophie. She made scrambled eggs for breakfast a few days ago and even took a few suggestions, improving her technique. She uses stove fairly independently now, and  made soup at the end of the week, using broth, water, ham, onions, green beans, a bit of homemade cream of soup mix, and some ground turkey.

I love to watch her creativity and assertiveness in the kitchen. It's all about the process for her, experimenting and figuring things out, and even if that makes taste-testing a little dangerous some days, we are all excited to see what she cooks up next.

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