Biscotti with Bambinos

Biscotti are very forgiving and the perfect kitchen project for little and big hands. Ingredients don’t need to be measured exactly and there is plenty of room for interpretation and creativity, something that kids thrive on. When my kids are in the kitchen, they are covered in flour, there are doughy handprints everywhere, and the floor is speckled with ingredients that didn’t quite make it into the bowl or their mouths for that matter.

We do not even closely resemble those idealic images of clean spaces and clean faces you find in kid’s cookbooks. And to be perfectly honest my kids, unlike those in the cookbook photos, are not always smiling or filled with glee while we are baking. At least one of the following is sure to be uttered in a whiny voice at some point. One, “she got to whisk longer than I did.” Two, “why can’t I lick the spatula?” Three, “he cracked two eggs and I only got to crack one!”  There are times I question my resolve for the Big Biscotti Bake. I am human.

Yet, the kitchen is the creative hub in our house and provides a space for our kids to contribute to family life. There are a host of books and Web sites that provide tips on cooking or baking with kids, but what you will find below are ways that kids can contribute specifically to the making of biscotti. I am going to assume you have common sense and know not to give knives to kids who are still learning to how to properly hold a pencil and write their names. So I am going to focus more on the “Do’s” rather than the “Do Not’s.” Kids can…

  • Write down the recipe
  • Shop for the ingredients
  • Get out the ingredients and utensils
  • Prepare the baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Measure ingredients
  • Crack eggs
  • Shell and crush nuts
  • Tear fresh herbs or soft candies into smaller pieces
  • Push buttons on the food processor
  • Smell all the extracts or spices to ensure freshness
  • Whisk and mix ingredients
  • Scrap the sides of the bowl with a spatula
  • Knead dough
  • Form logs or in our case other uniquely shaped biscotti creations
  • Top the biscotti logs before baking
  • Set the oven timer
  • Slice the biscotti logs (just checking to see if you are still paying attention…we don’t let kids play with knives)
  • Dip the biscotti in melted chocolate
  • Sample for quality control
  • Pack biscotti in storage containers
  • Deliver biscotti to friends and family
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