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Cool gifts for the kids who cook on your list

Thursday, December 06, 2001

By Kathleen Ganster

I still have my little red apron that my mom made me when I was a kid. I received it one Christmas with a small rolling pin -- I still have that, too. I never wanted an Easy Bake Oven, though. I wanted to use the real thing.

Lucky for cooking kids these days, several neat products are available. Many of them are smaller, kid-sized tools that make cooking not only more fun, but safer for children.

King Arthur Flour Co. is known for its flour but also has wonderful baking supplies. The company has just introduced two new kits for kids in the November catalog -- the Bread Kit and the Cake & Muffin Kit.

The Bread Kit has yeast, two little bread pans, measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowl, wooden spoon, instructions and a cute 2-pound bag of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. Kids can make two loaves of bread with the kit, then more by buying more flour and yeast.

The Cake & Muffin Kit contains a mini-muffin pan, 60 heart-design mini-muffin papers, two 4-inch-round cake pans, measuring cup and spoons, a whisk, rainbow nonpareils, icing glaze and a 14-ounce bag of Kind Arthur Baking Mix -- enough for four mini-cakes or 24 mini-muffins.

The Bread Kit is $29.95 and the Cake & Muffin Kit is $29.95, or order both for $54.95. Telephone 1-800-827-6836 or check out www.kingarthurflour.com. The company also has other supplies and products appropriate for children's use, including several cookie cutters. My favorites are the Imp Family cookie cutters.

Doughmakers is known for its bakeware, especially its patented Original Pebble Pattern finish on bakeware. It also has two kits for kids. My First Bake Set comes in a nifty drawstring bag filled with a small apron (perfect size for my 7-year-old), a small rolling pin, four cookie cutters and a 14-by-10-inch cookie sheet. When my son and I baked cookies, the cookies really did bake more evenly and browned more nicely than on our usual insulated cookie sheet. The kit is $24.95.

The Grandma's Touch Child's Pastry Set has a canvas pastry mat, 11-inch rolling pin, 5-inch pie pan, cookie cutter and recipes. This kit costs $18.

Although not just for kids, the set of four pizza makers -- each pan is 7 1/2 inches -- is also perfect for kids. My kids love making their own pizzas, and these are perfect. Whip up a batch of pizza dough and break out the toppings. To order, call 888-386-8517 or contact www.doughmakers.com. Crate in Scott also carries them.

Pampered Chef, the kitchen party people, has a cool-looking child's apron in denim. This is not only for cooking but other crafts as well. It is also good for bigger kids -- ours fits my 12-year-old. The apron is $13.25. Pair it with the "Kids in the Kitchen Cookbook," a collection of 55 kid-friendly recipes. This likable book also has cooking tips, kitchen math and safety tips. The book is $13.75 and available through Pampered Chef consultants or www.pamperedchef.com.

A lucky kid would receive the "Kids Cooking Club." Once a month, members receive a theme cooking project kit that includes ingredients, newsletter and recipes. Founder Nancy Reynolds said the company plans to follow the "Around the World Cooking Tour" used in 2001. Themes include Fondue Fun from Switzerland, Italian Breads and a Mexican Fiesta. "The projects are fun and educational," said Reynolds.

The kits cost $14.95 a month, plus shipping and handling. Memberships are available in three-, six- or 12-month increments.

The company also sells Kids Cooking Kits individually. The kits include seasonal projects, including the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookie Collection, Santa Cookie Pops and Gingerbread Cookie Wreath. My 12-year-old daughter and I plan to set an afternoon aside to make the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies for Christmas tree decorations. The kit costs $12. For details, call 800-718-1855 or visit www.kidscook.com. You can also buy the kits locally at the Pittsburgh Zoo Gift Shop, Phipps Conservatory Gift Shop and McGinnis Sisters.

What kid doesn't love little things? We were checking out of Borders one day and my 10-year-old said, "I want one of these for a stocking gift." He was referring to the new mini Fondue Kit from Running Press. They are perfect stocking stuffers at $5.95 a kit. Several have cooking themes -- the Fondue Kit, the Sushi Kit, The Joy of Cooking kit and the Joy of Cooking Cookie Kit.

The Fondue Kit actually has a tiny pot, two tiny forks and a candle with a recipe book. The cookie kit has four miniature cookie cutters and cookie recipe book. They are available at bookstores or www.runningpress.com. I know several adults who would love these.

You may just want to break out these gifts early so the kids can help with your holiday baking.

Kathleen Ganster, a Hampton mother of three, writes the Cooking With Kids column.

Mini Brownie Buttons

Here's a recipe for young cooks to use with their new bakeware.

1/3 cup stick butter or margarine
2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened baking chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup miniature candy-coat- ed chocolate pieces

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place paper liners in cups of mini-muffin pans or spray cups with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over very low heat, stirring constantly with a spoon. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add flour and 1/4 cup of the candies and mix well. Using a scoop, fill muffin cups about 1/3 full. Sprinkle remaining candies over batter. Bake 12 to 13 minutes. Remove and cool.

The Pampered Chef Kids in the Kitchen

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