We have another wonderful learning post today – this time from Gemma at Mummy’s Waisted. Don’t forget to check out the other posts within our 31 Days of Learning series. In this post, Gemma teaches us how baking flapjacks helps kids to learn.
I’ve always enjoyed baking and cooking with my children, now aged 4 and 7. Even from a young age, getting children involved in the kitchen has so many benefits, and not just for the tasty treats you make!
I’ve been testing out some different flapjack recipes with my children, both from a desire to make fairly healthy snacks, but also because there are lots of STEM related conversations to have.
I’ll start with maths because this is the easiest to practice when baking. Depending on what you’re making, there’s a great deal of precision required and using scales is brilliant for this. You can start off with younger children recognising numbers and then progress on to easy addition for older children. My son particularly loves it when we have too much of an ingredient, and he has to work out how much to take away. You can also work with multiples, such as how much a number of tablespoons makes as a total, and fractions when you cut up the finished product.
There’s lots of practical applications for science in baking. When we made flapjacks, one of the recipes involved melting butter, honey and chopped dates over boiling water, so my son and I talked about which would melt first, and why. We also looked about the consistency and texture of the uncooked ingredients versus the finished flapjacks, and why it had changed during the time in the oven.
Baking is a great way to safely expose your children to kitchen equipment, and its dangers. Obviously you will need to closely supervise, but having a discussion about your oven, hob or microwave and how they work can set them on a useful path for later life. Safe knife skills as also good to practice.
This can be the trickiest subject in the kitchen but there are some ways to incorporate it. You could talk about choosing the right dish or tin for cooking your creations in, or working out how different quantities or thicknesses of flapjack will cook in comparison to each other.
Here are the flapjack recipes we tried:
- 200g porridge oats (the jumbo size work especially well)
- 100g butter or margarine
- 100g sugar (muscavado gives a great taste)
- 2 tbsps golden syrup
- Mix of all the ingredients well in a bowl or pulse in a food mixer.
- Line your 20cm x 20cm baking tin with baking paper
- Pour your batter into the baking tine and press down well.
- Bake at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 15 minutes
- Leave to cool in the tin.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 76mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 1g
These are the sticky gooey type and you can add extra dry ingredients into this recipe. This amount makes 10-12 squares, depending on how big you cut them!
We also tried out a sugar-free recipe which originated from Davina McCall. This went down really well with my children (and work colleagues) with the dates and coconut really making up for no sugar. If you do have any left, these flapjacks are great crushed up as granola.
- 100 g unsalted butter (or margarine works just as well)
- 125 ml honey
- 75 g chopped dates
- 200 g porridge oats
- 50 g desiccated coconut
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4. Line a 20 x 20cm tin with parchment paper
- Put the butter, honey, and dates in a saucepan over low heat.
- Melt the ingredients together crushing the dates with a wooden spoon so they break up into the butter and honey to make a squishy texture.
- Stir in the oats and coconut and mix thoroughly.
- Pack the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove the tin from the oven and leave the flapjack to cool in the tin,
- Cut into squares and enjoy.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 1g
We are sure you will love both the recipes and the fun to be had within the kitchen from these wonderful recipes, and STEM ideas. Do pop along to Gemma’s blog, Mummy’s Waisted, to check out some of the other articles and ideas she has too.
We’ve got lots of other great ideas for STEM activities on the site, so do check them out.
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