We're pretty smitten with The Forest Feast series from Erin Gleeson here at EAF. We've reviewed her first two books; The Forest Feast, and The Forest Feast Gatherings. And we have a special feature coming up with Lesley Metcalfe of Wantfolio where we'll be cooking all the party apps you'll want to make from Gatherings (I can never resist a good pun). When Canadian Manda Group sent us a copy of The Forest Feast For Kids, I could not wait to try it out with the help of my niece.
Having previously worked for a kids book publisher I've seen a lot of kids cookbooks come through without making much impact. Some are too simplified, some too challenging; gauging the age range and skill level for kids can be difficult. Many have overtly childish artwork that doesn't really grab your eye. But Erin Gleeson was having none of that when she designed this book. It's bright, engaging, and packed with simple recipes. Some are aged right for little kids to make themselves while others are better for older kids or to be made by parents. There is some crossover with her first book but she's done some really fun things like kids mocktails - gin-free fizz with a grape skewer anyone?
I wanted to let her do most of the baking herself since she's already a pro cupcake maker and I was curious to see how kid-friendly a real kid found this recipe to be. We made Rosemary Shortbread Cookies, page 70. We made sure the cookies were free from dairy, nuts, peanuts, and egg to suit her brother's food allergies. Since she doesn't like to see specks of colour in her food I decided we should make them with Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips, a taste and concept she's familiar with (what kid doesn't like chocolate chip cookies?) instead of rosemary. In place of butter we used Earth Balance Organic Whipped Buttery Spread.
At first she was a little apprehensive to get her hands in there and mash up the "butter" and dry ingredients. But once she got some encouragement that it's ok to get messy when you're baking, she really got in there. I helped a little too but she did the majority of it herself. Just look at that face!
I love this recipe because it's easy, delicious, and made from accessible ingredients. Just flour, sugar, Earth Balance (or whatever butter replacement you use), and rosemary or in our case, mini chocolate chips. Jessey made this same recipe in our Gatherings review. So no matter what age you are, you'll love it! It's a book of food that kids and adults will love, not just "kid food". I also found the recipes to be very healthy throughout. Gleeson's focus on bright fruits and veggies as opposed to fried foods, sugary sweets, or salty cheeses was welcome.
When the cookies were ready it was time to call in her little brother to do some serious snacking. He was very excited. She got her tea set ready so we could have a little tea party as well.
Well, they wolfed down about half the batch! I'd call that success. I asked them to make their best cookie-eating face and we had some fun with that. look, she's even licking the plate. Is there any bigger compliment?
You can get your copy of The Forest Feast For Kids here.