My 5 year old has been cooking with me since he was around 2. He would sit or stand on a chair next to me even if he wasn't actively involved in stirring or pouring ingredients in. Pretty much any recipe would work, because he learned early that knives and hot stoves are for Mommy and he only had to stay as long as he was interested. We both had a lot of fun and he's one hell of a whisk-er. (You're welcome, future daughter-in-law.)
When our youngest came home from South Korea last summer though, it became much harder to find the "right" recipe. Not only did he not understand why he couldn't touch my chef's knife or the hot pan on the stove, he was not quite 3. Sharing at that age in the best of circumstances is not easy, and we were not in the best of circumstances. We were learning how to be a family of 4. The boys are really close in age, and none of us spoke enough Korean to explain complex ideas. So the "right" recipe became essential. There had to be enough ingredients to pour in so that everyone had a turn and little hands needed to be watched at all times as he learned the basics.
Fast forward one year later and we can relax a little more. Taking turns is still hard, but tantrums over who gets to pour the flour in are rare. He doesn't show as much interest as his brother did at that age, but it's more of a personality thing.
Ice cream recipes are often custard based and I have discovered that those are not my forte. I will master them eventually, but for now they are too hit or miss to try with the boys. The worst thing to cook with kids is something that stresses you out! In the meantime, fruit based ice creams work really well. This one in particular is great. You simply pour all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz it until it's combined. Pop it into your ice cream maker and you're done!
It's perfect for little chefs...only a few ingredients to pour in, lots of buttons to push, and the end result is ice cream!
Don't I have the cutest sous chefs ever?
Mango Ice Cream
adapted from eCurry
2-3 fresh mangos, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 pint heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
splash of lime juice
splash of vodka (this is optional-it just keeps the ice cream from freezing too solidly to eat)
Place mango in food processor and run until it is almost pureed. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend together until completely combined.
Chill the mixture in the fridge or freezer until chilled. Place the liquid in the ice cream maker and follow directions for the machine.
I usually put the ice cream into the freezer at the point to achieve a more solid consistency, but if you prefer a more soft-serve like consistency it will be ready right out of the machine.