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The glories of impromptu baking

At some point, we all have to come in from the snow and figure out a way to fill the days between now and that distant date when the kids will have to head back to school. We faced that moment here yesterday morning: I'd had it with TV, and we weren't in a position to go down our list of indoor activities.

The solution, according to my daughter? Baking. The problem was that the cupboard was pretty bare, but the would-be chef was enterprising. She took a small stack of cookbooks into the dining room, in search of something that she could make with just the staples.

Thirty minutes later, I had two different kinds of flour spread all across the kitchen counter, dusting the floor and sticking to her sweater. It was as if the blizzard had blown inside, with white powder everywhere. Thirty minutes after that, she had a hard, immobile lump. Then it was just an infusion of yogurt and some quick kneading, and -- thirty minutes later -- we had fresh, hearty soda bread cooling on the counter. Total ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, sugar, egg and yogurt. (The recipe called for oats and raisins, which were nowhere to be found, and she just left 'em out. No harm done.)

I liked the idea of fashioning good food from stuff we have laying around the house, and we've spent a good portion of the rest of day looking for similar cupboard-staple recipes. High on the list for today will be snickerdoodles (butter, sugar, baking soda, egg, vanilla, flour, cinnamon) and flan (sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla). Of course, on the next trip to the grocery store, we'll be able to get the components needed for proper baking: yeast (for breads) and chocolate chips (for everything else).

I'm sure some of you, during the weather-imposed family time, raided the pantry for some cooking fun. When it comes to throwing together kid-friendly culinary masterpieces from what you have laying around the house, what are your go-to recipes?

By Brian Reid |  December 22, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Entertainment , Recreation
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Comments


In a pinch, you can make chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. They are still cookies...
I would also suggest, if your kids are old enough, that you pick up a bunch of decorating materials and make sugar cookies to decorate. My Aunt used to keep several of her kids, nieces and nephews busy for hours decorating cookies. We made some real master pieces...and then ate them!

Posted by: VaLGaL | December 22, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Hey Brian, dude. Don't you know that baking cookies is stuff that women are supposed to do, this task should be left up to mommies only, for best results anyway. Snickerdoodles (can't say it without snorting a giggle), and flan, c'mon guy, where's the man food at your place? I mean, I'm getting this image of you in the kitchen wearing your crocks and apron as you rummage through the cabinets looking for where your wife put the flour sifter. Anybody else?

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 22, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm getting this image of you in the kitchen wearing your crocks and apron as you rummage through the cabinets looking for where your wife put the flour sifter.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 22, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Crocs are gay.


Posted by: jezebel3 | December 22, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I have to fess up: I have a couple of tubs of fundraising cookie dough in my fridge that I purchased last month to support my nephew's high school band. We baked two cookie sheets worth of peanut butter cookies on Saturday that tasted terrific with the post-shoveling hot cocoa.

I used to make cookies from scratch, and cream butter, etc., but now I rely on the spoon and bake mixes a lot of the time. However, I have a few days off next week and I am going to endeavor to bake them the old fashioned way so my kids can see where they really come from!

And when I bake, I'm wearing my fleece-lined Merrell clogs, which are comfy and cozy, but only slightly less dorky than Crocs!

Posted by: HuckleberryFriend | December 22, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

This is a magnificent dud to follow yesterday's clunker. Maybe tomorrow you can post about your favorite Lifetime Channel xmas movies...

Posted by: 06902 | December 22, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

This is a magnificent dud to follow yesterday's clunker. Maybe tomorrow you can post about your favorite Lifetime Channel xmas movies...

Posted by: 06902 | December 22, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse


"Anal Sex or a Three-way. Which Should I Save for the Honeymoon?"

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 22, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey... I like Lifetime Christmas movies!!!

But I don't cook very often with the kids. They are too little to do it solo and patience is not high on my list when I am trying to know off edible food in as little time as possible.

Posted by: Billie_R | December 22, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

err
knock off edible food.

Posted by: Billie_R | December 22, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse


Crocs are gay.


Posted by: jezebel3 | December 22, 2009 8:57 AM |


"Anal Sex or a Three-way. Which Should I Save for the Honeymoon?"

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 22, 2009 9:56 AM |

*yawn*

It must be hard to be over 40, have been a mean girl in high school and still be achingly desperate to be thought cool by the popular kids.

Posted by: anonfornow | December 22, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Shortbread (butter, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder); pancakes; pot pie (from whatever we have around, usually left over meat/poultry and appropriate veggies like sweet potato/carrots/frozen peas and a sauce from thickened broth).
Our preschooler also likes making fried apples or applesauce, and this time of year we usually have a few lingering on the counter that need to get used up.

Posted by: library2 | December 22, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mall-Pretzels/Detail.aspx

These are soft pretzels like Aunt Annie's. Takes about an hour to get the dough started so plan accordingly. We don't bother with the design...just roll them into logs, cut into 1 inch pieces and adjust cooking time- my kids were making them when they were 4. They are incredible right out of the oven.

Posted by: mlc2 | December 22, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

We also bake for the holidays-- until they or I get frustrated!! This year we will try gingerbread houses again. Hopefully we will actually make one this year.
The kids also had a good time making houses out of sugar cubes and icing colored with food coloring.

Posted by: liziko | December 22, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Brian, Why don't you let your kids outside to play in the snow? Are you afraid they will get wet and shrink?

Posted by: cheekymonkey | December 22, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

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