Parents are looking for ways to survive the lockdown without daycare and preschool. Even the easiest child is starting to chafe under the oppression of the COVID quarantine. As an OT, it is my job to help parents support growth and development, but I don’t have to make it feel like work.
Enter cooking and baking as OT activities!
The simplest recipe I know has two ingredients and cannot be ruined unless you step on it: Chocolate rolls.
- Baking sheet, preferably non-stick or lined with parchment paper. This dough is sticky, and the melted chips are a pain to clean off a surface.
- Work surface: possibly another baking sheet, non-stick foil, or parchment paper.
- One container of crescent rolls (8 to a package, usually) Keep it cold until you are going to use it. When it gets warm it gets very goey. Kids either love it and mash it about, or won’t touch it.
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, separated into two small bowls. You will need only about 1 cup, but have extra since kids will taste a few. Or a lot. A mom only had a chocolate bar, and she broke it up into small pieces. I think she needed to smash something that day! COVID has made us adaptable….
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Unroll two triangles of dough, one for the adult, and one for the child.
Demonstrate how to gently push the chips into the dough, then roll up, starting at the wider end. Assist your child to imitate you. Don’t over-fill with chips. If it becomes a squishy mess when they roll it up, don’t panic. This will bake off just fine. I promise.
Repeat with all dough triangles.
Place both rolls on the baking sheet, and once filled, place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven.
Bake for about 8-12 minutes or just until the bottom of the rolls turns light golden brown. You will have to check them after 8 minutes, as they bake quickly. They keep baking a bit after you take them out of the oven, and if you overbake, you will have 8 chocolate hockey pucks.
Cool and enjoy!
I ALWAYS make a recipe by myself first before baking with kids. Why? Two reasons:
- I need to know what can go wrong and how my oven responds. Every minute counts in baking. Kids take failure personally, so I want to make mistakes and fix them before I ask a child to try a recipe out.
- You have a finished product to show them. Young children cannot look at dough and chips and imagine what it will be like when it is done. Showing them the actual, real, tasty end product makes it understandable to them.
Is your child likely to snack on the supplies? Use an “eating bowl”. I often tell parents to assemble a small amount of chocolate chips in a separate bowl and designate this as an “eating bowl”. Rather than criticize a child’s desire to sample, they can eat from this bowl without altering the amount needed for the recipe. Even Julia Child liked to snack on her supplies!!
If you want to get fancy, you can place a few raspberries at the wide end of the dough. Toddlers and preschoolers aren’t gourmets, and they can reject things that aren’t simple, so don’t insist that they copy you. But this is a way to expand a child’s awareness of food variety as well as make your chocolate roll tastier.