For her birthday this year, The Six-Year-Old received an Easy Bake Oven. This was easily the most anticipated gift of the birthday season, as she has been asking for one since last December 26.
The moment she opened the box, I knew this wasn’t my neighbor’s Easy Bake Oven. That one, as you may recall, looked something like this:
My daughter’s Easy Bake Oven is a much sleeker confection, and can hold its own next to our Keurig.
As you might expect, The Six-Year-Old wanted to get baking right away, but as the house was still littered with birthday cupcakes, I didn’t want to bake yet another set of treats.
Not wanting to squash her baking bug completely, I did a bit of shopping on Amazon to see what options were available. The mixes I found there all appear to have a solidly deplorable reputation. Which prompted the question:
“Is there anything magical about an Easy Bake Oven mix besides their uniformly bad taste and outrageously high price?”
Turns out no. There are several collections of do-it-yourself Easy Bake Oven recipes on the web. Still not quite ready to venture into the world of Easy Bake Oven baking, I printed out everything the collections on Squidoo and Recipelink had to offer and proposed to The Six-Year-Old that she use them to make her own Easy Bake Oven Cookbook. I promised we’d get right to baking when she was done. There were easily four dozen recipes there, so I figured it would keep her busy for a while.
Two hours later, The Six-Year-Old presented me with this.
“Can We Bake Now?”
The Six-Year-Old loves to make cheesy bread, so Ken’s Deep Dish Pizza was the first recipe we tried — minus the sauce.
Did you notice the ingredient list? Two tablespoons of flour. An 1/8 tsp of baking powder. Adorable. In fact, the entire experience of baking in an Easy Bake Oven is notable for its adorable size and playful inefficiency.
This is how much dough Ken’s recipe made. (Fork provided for scale.)
But, as you can see, it was more than enough to fill the pan.
Add some cheese and you’re ready to bake.
Putting the cheesy bread in to bake
As far as The Six-Year-Old is concerned, the fact that she can put the food in (and take it out) herself is the real point of having an Easy Bake Oven. Mommyo won’t let her do that with the big oven. Apparently, it’s been really bothering her.
And taking it out again.
The Final Product:
That’s a salad plate, in case you’re wondering.
So, now that you’ve used the Easy Bake Oven, The Six-Year-Old, what do you think?
The Six-Year-Old: “It’s smaller than I expected. And not a high-powered oven. You need more patience than I thought. I wasn’t expecting that. I expected it to cook like a normal oven, but I like that I can put the things in and take them out myself. It’s fantastic. It can make awesome cheesy bread. Its pans are very small and their mixes are awful according to the reviews on Amazon. Which is why we made our own cookbook. Make a cookbook with one of your mama’s binders if you are going to get into this. That is sincerely what you should do. I was so so so so so surprised that the Easy Bake Oven worked. Sincerely, The Six-Year-Old.”
What Mommyo thought:
It’s far more efficient to simply bake in my own oven, of course. Still, the cheesy bread was surprisingly tasty, even if the Easy Bake Oven can only churn it out at the rate of three bites every 20 minutes.
The recipes I found online include several options for making mixes in bulk in advance, so that The Six-Year-Old (and her playdates) only have to add water and bake them.
It’s probably worth going ahead and doing that, as the start-up costs for making an Easy Bake-sized recipe from scratch every time — only to end up with two or three bites of food twenty minutes later — are pretty intense.
The Six-Year-Old is clearly savoring the heady liberation of having her own Easy Bake Oven.
The Six-Year-Old, threateningly: “Mommyo, either you make me Mac & Cheese for dinner or I’ll use my Easy Bake Oven to bake cheesy bread.”
Mommyo: “Ok. I’ll be in the playroom if you need me.”
Don’t look at me like that. Everybody was happy. There’s nothing wrong with that.