These days I seem to get very little ‘just us’ time with my little lady. I struggle with this. After all, she was my only focus for almost five years.
When she was born I took just over a year’s maternity leave and when I did go back it was part time. As a September baby I had her at home with me for a whole year longer than many of her pre-school friends.
Last summer, life as we knew it turned upside down when her brother was born and ten weeks later she started full-time school. I’m not going to deny it, she was ready for school. More than ready. But I do miss having my little partner in crime around as much and feel guilty that when she’s not at school she usually has to compete for my attention.
Yesterday morning was one of those rare occasions when it was just the two of us. Daddy had left early to go surfing and the little dude continued a very recent habit of having an extra long morning nap (I think he’s still knackered after his little misadventure last week). E normally has her gymnastics class on Saturday mornings but I decided because I’d had one too many wines the night before we’d had a busy week that we all needed a more relaxing start to the weekend.
I asked E what she would like to do, secretly hoping she’d want to snuggle on the sofa and watch a DVD. ‘Baking’. Oh shit. No eggs – this would require a trip to Tesco. I should have realised, she’s been pestering me to bake with her ever since she came home with a children’s recipe book set that she chose through the school’s book club.
There are three books in the Usborne Children’s Baking Collection set: Children’s Book of Baking Cakes; Little Cakes and Cookies to Bake and Children’s Chocolate Cookbook.
I quickly scanned through the cookie recipes in the vain hope there would be one that didn’t involve eggs. Thankfully, E went straight for the chocolate book and announced that she would like to make chocolate lollipops. No eggs OR actual baking involved. Just lots of chocolate. Winner.
We did have to scrape around for the 150g of chocolate needed for the recipe. Luckily there were a couple of Cadbury Twirls in the fridge (Daddy’s – oops) and a few bits left over from Christmas (E gets so much and I have to ration it out). Good excuse to use it up anyway before the next overload starts at Easter. The recipe calls for plain and white, but we used just milk chocolate.
The instructions were incredibly simple and perfect for a five year old to follow. Of course, I had to closely supervise the melting of the chocolate, but E is very sensible around the oven and hob and knows to be extra careful.
She did need a bit of help spooning the chocolate onto the baking paper. It was quite tricky for her to make nice round lolly shapes by swirling the chocolate with the back of the spoon. She really enjoyed adding the lolly sticks and making sure they were coated in the chocolate.
The next step was to add the decoration. We used what we happened to have in the cupboard; chocolate curls, sugar strands and hundreds and thousands.
E says her favourite part was adding the sprinkles but judging by her face I have a sneaking suspicion it was actually licking the spatula.
From start to finish, making the lollies took about one hour (including chilling them in the fridge for 20-30 minutes). This is perfect for an after-school activity so I’m sure we’ll do it again soon. No doubt we’ll be trying out more recipes from the books too. I must make sure I’ve got some eggs just in case…
More than anything it was nice to do something that was E’s choice. As she’s fiercely independent she was happy because she pretty much did it all by herself with only a tiny bit of help from me.
I have to say the final result was delicious. Plus it didn’t take up a lot of time and there wasn’t much clearing up to do so we still had time for a snuggle on the sofa before the little dude woke up!