Summer holidays with the children are always greatly improved by having lots to do. I love meeting up with friends, having picnics, day trips with no set time to be back home and later starts in the morning.
Now that the children are older I find the holidays much easier. No more need for lunchtime naps, no buggies, no baby changing bags to cart. We are in a new phase of childhood and I am all too aware that time is now well and truly passing and I wonder for how much longer it will be before I am only looking after the younger two of my three.
With this in mind, and the fact that being out of the house for a good part of the day means much less mess, I thought I would take all three kids to a baking masterclass I had been invited to by The Happy Egg Company.
The family fun baking session was hosted by Bee Berrie, the talent behind Bee’s Bakery. Bee’s Bakery is now one of the top 5 biscuit bakeries in London. Check out her award winning jammie dodgers. She also contributes to Jamie Oliver’s food tube and has been featured in countless magazines.
Interestingly Bee started out in science. She is an ex-microbiologist. I think her scientific mind must be perfectly suited to the world of baking, which I think of as a science in itself. Baking is all about the specifics of weights and measurements. When it comes to designing biscuits and cakes, it must be invaluable to have a mathematical brian. Think of how often the ruler gets used in The Great British Bake Off.
Our baking class was at The Central Street Cookery School, a community cookery school in EC1. This is a part of London that I love but don’t get to visit enough. Amongst all the new developments and money being pumped into the area, St Luke’s community centre (where the cookery school is based) provides a substantial menu of good meals for the older generation of community dwellers to enjoy at a reasonable price – something I haven’t seen for a while. The restaurant was packed full of jolly customers eating together and sharing stories with each other.
Bee filled our morning with activities perfectly suited to kids of all ages and us parents were allowed to join in the fun too. We managed to make Bee’s all in one Victoria sponge which my children flavoured with orange and almond as well as chocolate and orange. The cakes were topped off with brilliantly bright buttercream and as many sprinkles as they could get their hands on.
We also made a batch of Bee’s vanilla cookie dough, some of which we turned into gingerbread cookie dough. We also baked some chocolate chip cookie dough using chocolate sprinkles instead of chocolate chips, an idea I will be using again for sure. The rest of the dough was shaped into sprinkle coated cookie dough logs for us to bake at home.
Bee’s vanilla cookie dough is something she must make by the ton on a daily basis – being the queen of cookies and biscuits – so I knew her recipe would be a keeper. I thought I would share it with you here and also let you know that she has a book coming out next year which I will be putting on my birthday wish-list. If you are looking for something to bake with the kids this summer holiday, do give this recipe a go. It makes loads of cookies and your house will smell wonderful for hours.
Thanks to Bee Berrie and The Happy Egg Company for inviting me to this event. All opinions are my own.
Masterclass images courtesy of The Happy Egg Co.
Bee’s Vanilla Cookie Dough & Baking Masterclass
- 700 g plain flour
- 350 g cold butter
- 350 g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- Optional extras chocolate chips, lemon/orange zest, rose essence & petals, rosemary, thyme
- In a large bowl, crush the butter into the flour with your hands until you have a bowl of something resembling breadcrumbs.
- Add in your sugar and mix, then pour in your essence and eggs. Bring the mix together to form a dough using a wooden spoon or your hands.
- Roll the dough into a flat large rectangle, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- After chilling, roll, cut or shape your cookies as you like.
- Bake on a lined baking tray at 175 degrees for between 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookies.
This recipe makes lots of cookies. You can freeze any excess dough for up to 3 months.