I spent a small fortune this summer collecting items for the classroom that would boost our food preparation area. I also wanted to take more control over doing birthdays, because we have so many food allergies and I want everyone to be able to participate. We hadn't yet tried to bake anything and were just starting to collect baking ingredients. All we had on hand was a bag of flour, a bag of sugar, and vegetable oil for the box of brownie mix that the October birthdays had decided they wanted to bake for next week's monthly celebration.
I noticed that there were still a couple of bananas left on the food prep shelf, that were already rather ripe when they arrived in the snack basket on Monday. They needed to be immediately used or pitched. I quickly went online and started searching out a recipe for something with bananas that didn't use eggs (egg allergy). It took me about ten minutes, but I finally came across a banana cookie recipe that I could adapt to our few ingredients. These are the ingredients that we ended up using:
2 1/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 very ripe bananas, sliced (ours were about medium-sized)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Children who were interested in helping had to wash their hands and put on an apron.
First, I showed them how to properly measure flour by leveling it at the top of the cup with a knife. They took turns measuring flour into the bowl. Next, they added the sugar and took turns stirring it all together as I added the salt. Meanwhile, another child was slicing our two bananas. Once the bananas were sliced, they took turns mashing the banana with a fork.
I added the oil and the vanilla and they kept taking turns mashing it all together with the banana.
Next, it was time to put it all together in the big bowl and stir until well blended. (At about this point in the process, one boy who was not participating looked at my assistant and said, "This isn't going to end well," as there were some minor difficulties and a little bickering while stirring.)
I love how they helped each other by holding the bowl, because that was tough to stir!
Once it was fully blended, they used the cookie scoop I had found at Savers last year (with four kid-sized spreaders!) to put the cookies onto the baking sheets.
Each batch was baked in the toaster over at 350 degrees for about 13-16 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. We left plenty of space between them, but found that they do not expand while baking.
We gathered together at the end of the morning to share our tasty treat. We practiced grace and courtesy at the same time. I went around with the napkins in one hand and the plate of cookies in the other hand. I asked each child if they would like a cookie. They were to respond "Yes, please," or "No, thank you." I also said to each of them, "You take the one you touch," to avoid that lovely habit of young ones to touch a bunch of them until they find a huge one. They were to place the cookie on their open napkin and then wait until everyone was served prior to eating.
As we sat there eating, the kids spontaneously burst into, "Thank you, Miss Coventry!" My assistant and I both said "Thank you" back to them for making the cookies for us. One of the kids also said, "Okay, on the count of three, we need to say Hip Hip Hooray for Miss Coventry, because she is the best teacher ever for letting us bake cookies!"
After lunch, I chose two volunteers to visit the other classrooms and the office to share the cookies. One girl carried the napkins and the other one carried the plate of cookies on a tray. I was told that they were very polite as they approached each classroom. They also very matter-of-factly told each adult that they had to "take the one you touch."
I can't wait to make something else and to back off even more from the process!