3 Kids, a Mom & a Kitchen: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread BitesJane Maynard
Time for the second installment of 3 Kids, a Mom and a Kitchen!
This time around, I was joined in the kitchen by Cate (9), and Anna (6). Owen (2) was supposed to be helping us with the cooking, but we could not tear him away from his train table. This fact clearly illustrates how much he loves Thomas the Train, because normally he’ll do anything to get in the kitchen cooking with me! (Ce’ la vie, the life of a mom.) Anyway, the girls and I had a great time (mostly, but we’ll get to that in a minute) making chocolate chip banana bread bites today! We had fun together, and the final product was mighty delicious a successful day in the kitchen for sure! Keep reading to find out why we chose this recipe, how it went, and to get the recipe so you can make it yourself!
Why We Chose the Recipe: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bites 1 of 6
The reason we decided to make banana bread was pretty simple: we had over-ripe bananas! We decided to turn our favorite banana bread recipe into mini banana bread bites, which the girls were especially excited about. Also, as with a lot of baking recipes, I knew there would be many steps the kids could get involved with, so it seemed like a good one to try!
Rankings: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bites Were a Big Win! 2 of 6
This recipe was a HUGE hit. As you can see from our rankings, smiles all around!
The Mom: This was a really easy recipe to make with kids and everything went smoothly (except for one incident that I will get to in a moment). Also, the final product was delicious and everyone in the family loved it, which was a great pay-off for the hard (okay, not-so-hard) work!
Cate (9): When we were done making the bread and had just put the pan in the oven, Cate randomly exclaimed, "I just love cooking with you, Mom!" Even if the bread came out awful it all would have been worth it for that!
Anna (6): Anna said the recipe was "so easy" and she couldn't stop eating the banana bread bites (like the rest of us!).
Owen (2): Even though he refused to cook, Owen happily participated in the tasting and was very pleased (unlike the last recipe we cooked!!!).
Steps in the Recipe Where Kids Can Get Involved 3 of 6
This recipe was straightforward and simple, making it really easy for me to get the kids involved all along the way. Here is what they helped with and a few of the learning opportunities in this recipe:
- Changing recipe proportions: The recipe calls for 1 and 1/2 cups of mashed bananas, but we only had enough for 1 cup. Ding! Ding! Ding! Math teaching opportunity! Instead of throwing in the towel, we figured out new measurements for all the ingredients. It was relatively simple since we just needed to figure out 2/3 of each measurement. Cate (9) hasn't yet started learning fractions, but it was a good chance to introduce them to her. Anna (6) obviously has no clue what fractions are, but she understood the concept of needing to reduce the amounts, which made her feel smart!
- Pre-heating the oven: Cate learned how to pre-heat the oven and was in charge of turning the oven on.
- Learning how to make buttermilk: The recipe calls for buttermilk, which we did not have, so I got to teach the girls how to make your own! We added vinegar to our milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. I explained that buttermilk is the milk that is left over when you make butter, and that by adding vinegar to regular milk to sour the milk you can make a good substitute. Cate asked why you want to use buttermilk, so I also got to explain how buttermilk makes things lighter and fluffier (click here for more details). Who knew one ingredient would be such a great learning opportunity? Fun stuff!
- Kid-friendly steps in the recipe: There were tons of steps that both girls could easily help with — mashing the bananas, measuring, pouring, mixing, greasing the mini muffin tin, and of course, more mixing!
Cooking with Kids: A Practice in Diplomacy 4 of 6
Time to keep it real: Anna had one meltdown while we were cooking. She was upset when Cate got to stir in the bananas, even though I tried explaining that we were all taking turns. I tapped into whatever patience I could find in an effort to keep the experience positive. I made clear to Anna that we were taking turns and that if she continued to scream and yell, she would need to go to timeout and potentially miss out on some of the cooking. She ended up going to timeout but luckily for her it was while we were waiting for our milk to magically turn into buttermilk. Once timeout was done she was able to join back in the fun.
Here's what I learned: Anna (6) and Cate (9) cooking together is very different than Anna (6) and Owen (2) cooking together. There is a lot more potential for arguments with the older kids cooking together, so I realized I need to be much more conscious about dividing up tasks clearly. Once Anna was back from timeout, I made sure to tell the girls exactly how many stirs they each got to do, who would pour which ingredients, etc. That little tweak of being more clear about roles made a huge difference and actually ended the fighting!
The Tasting 5 of 6
Unlike our pound cake tasting, there were no tears and exclamations of "Yucky!" In fact, every last member of the family completely loved these little banana bread bites. You can see all three kids gave the banana bread bites a thumbs up, or, in Owen's case, a pointer finger up! The kids ate that whole plate of banana bread bites in about 2 minutes flat.
The Final Product and the Recipe! 6 of 6
Chocolate chip banana bread bites are easy to make, fun to cook with kids, and delicious! Without further ado, the recipe!
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Bites
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 1/3 beaten eggs (totally random measurement, I know! We had to estimate since we made a smaller recipe than the original. We beat one egg and added it to the batter then beat a second egg and estimated about 1/3 of that egg's volume.)
- 1 cup mashed banana (~3 medium sized ripe bananas)
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 2/3 cup flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350° F. Grease a mini muffin tin with butter, coating both the sides and bottom. This recipe will make about 30 mini muffins. I do not recommend using cupcake paper liners greasing the pan and cooking the bread bites directly in the pan works much better with this particular batter.
Using a pastry blender or fork, mix together the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the eggs. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla extract and mix well.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients and mini chocolate chips to the wet ingredients and mix until just moistened do not over stir!
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until edges are browned and toothpick comes out clean.