The coronavirus pandemic has completely upended almost everything I thought I would do with my children this summer, and it’s seeping into the fall. I’m losing creativity … fast. How am I supposed to keep their attention? How bored are they? Should we watch “Frozen 2” for the 126th time?
Working at The Daily Meal, I look at amazing recipes all day long. I’m usually on the hunt for ones that seem doable with my family — meaning they must require little time and little patience, and be able to keep a set of little hands busy. When I saw all the colorful, festive recipes in Spooky Halloween Dishes to Make at Home, I thought, jackpot.
My daughter Norah is 4 and she often helps me in the kitchen. There was a creepy, crawly cupcake recipe that called for boxed cake mix, chocolate frosting and some creativity on decorating, and I knew that was our moment.
The thing about baking with kids is you need to just give up on the idea that you can serve it to anyone else because of all the licking of fingers and arms.
You’re going to have to pick shells out of the batter. It’s OK. Your immediate family isn’t going to hate the extra crunch. You’re going to have to explain why she can’t be the one to put the cupcakes in the oven or take them out. You’re going to have to clean up a lot of powdered sugar or cake mix — but ultimately, it’s going to be fun.
We served Norah’s creations to dad and little sister. The process was messy and the end product wasn’t exactly beautiful, but we count it as time spent together away from a screen.
If you are looking for something not centered around Halloween, there are tons of easy and fun recipes to cook with your kids while you may be cooped up this fall and winter.
1 package (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
1 teaspoon McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract
16 ounces chocolate frosting
McCormick Black Food Color
Assorted decorations, such as chocolate sprinkles, black string licorice, red candy-coated pieces and white chocolate chips
Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding vanilla.
Bake as directed on package for cupcakes.
Cool cupcakes on wire rack.
Tint frosting black with 1/2 teaspoon black food color.
Frost cupcakes, mounding frosting in center of cupcake to create a dome shape.
Sprinkle cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles.
Cut string licorice into 2-inch lengths and use for the spider legs.
Attach candy-coated pieces to flat side of chocolate chips with some frosting.
Use for the eyes.
Recipe courtesy of McCormick