Oh we’ve been having some fun in the kitchen lately!
We recently reviewed the great baking set from Vivid Imaginations and had a lot of fun with that.
So Nerys and I were really quite keen to get stuck into the other sets we were sent to review.
Here are my thoughts on the cookie kit, chocolate pen and cake pop kit.
Real baking cookie kit
First up we spent a rainy afternoon trying out the cookie kit.
The set comes with a silicone baking sheet, a rolling pin, a rolling pin guide, a piping bag and a selection of cookie cutters.
As the set is designed for children aged 6+ everything in it is child-sized, which is lovely because it is nice and easy for a child to use it all, but it does also mean that you can’t make that much in one go with it.
As you can see from the photo you can only fit about 6 ‘normal’ sized biscuits on the little baking sheet, so you have to either make them in batches or do what we did and make lots of smaller biscuits and put the ones that don’t fit on a separate baking sheet to cook them.
The set comes with instructions on how to use the items included, but would be even better if it included a recipe or two.
With no recommendations in the kit it’s hard to know how much dough to make to work well with the size of the tray.
In the end I found a simple biscuit recipe that actually worked out really well and was nice and easy to make.
Nerys then really enjoyed rolling out the dough using the rolling guide to help her.
I have to admit I was a bit dubious about how well this would work. I had visions of the whole thing just sliding around and her getting frustrated. But actually she managed it really well and the guide really did help get the dough to a perfect thickness to then cut out the shapes.
Once we’d used up all the dough we popped the biscuits in the oven for about 12 minutes.
I was really pleased with how well they came out!
I would point out that even though the kit is called the ‘cookie kit’ you’re much better off finding a biscuit recipe rather than a cookie one.
This kit comes with quite a nice selection of different cutters so it’s fab when they come out of the oven looking like the butterflies, flowers and stars that you wanted!
Real baking chocolate pen
Next we tested out the chocolate pen kit.
Oh I had such mixed feelings about this!
On the one hand I was really excited to try it, because chocolate! But on the other hand I just wasn’t sure how easy it would be to use.
And after reading the instructions I wasn’t feeling particularly reassured, because honestly it all looked quite fiddly.
In the set you get the Chocolate Pen, 3 mould trays, 4 nozzles & clamps, caps, 12 bags for chocolate and an instruction booklet.
Firstly, I was a little bit disappointed when I realised that the pen requires batteries but these aren’t included.
Luckily we had some at home, but it was still a bit of a faff to dig out a screwdriver to put them in.
Secondly, I think the kit would be that little bit more special if there were a couple of bags of chocolate buttons in there, as this is what is recommended in the instruction booklet. But there isn’t any chocolate included in the box.
Once we got started though I found that setting up the pen wasn’t quite as fiddly as I’d expected. But I’m really not sure how well a 6 year old would manage if they tried to do it.
You have to fill one of the little bags with chocolate, attach a nozzle and clamp and then put the bag in warm water to melt the chocolate.
Once it’s all melted you put the bag into the pen and fasten it all up. This part is a little fiddly but after you’ve done it once or twice it does get easier.
To get the pen to work you press the big button on it, which pushes a plunger inside the pen that then forces the chocolate out of the top of the nozzle.
You can then use it in two ways.
You can use the pen to fill up the chocolate moulds or you can draw freehand with it onto baking parchment.
We tried both and had a lot of fun.
The moulds I really liked. There are quite a few to chose from and you can layer up colours if you feel fancy. We only had milk chocolate in the house so ours are quite simple but I still think they came out really well.
And I think they’ll be lovely to make with the children to give to people at Christmas time.
As for drawing with the pen? Well, maybe with a bit more practise we would get better but our results this time weren’t amazing! The nozzle is quite big on the pen so I’m not quite sure how you could achieve the lovely delicate writing that’s shown on the box!
We ended up with a sort-of butterfly (my effort), a lovely muddy puddle (Nerys’ work) and a big flower with a leaf on the stem (a joint effort).
Not too shabby for a first attempt, but nothing like the examples on the box.
My main feeling with this set is that, once you’ve got it up and running, it’s a lot of fun.
Nerys really enjoyed using it, and Rhys is desperate to have a try too.
It is tricky to get amazing results with it, but then it’s not claiming to be a professional tool. To my mind, it’s a toy. It’s supposed to just be fun, and to encourage children to want to bake more and get more involved in the kitchen.
And I think that it works well with that in mind.
Real baking cake pops
The last thing we tried out was the cake pop set.
And like with the chocolate pen, I was a bit apprehensive.
I’ve always loved the idea of cake pops but had never actually made them before because they always seemed a little complicated. And at first glance this set didn’t make it look simple either, mainly because of the number of steps there are in the instructions!
In the kit you get 2 silicon mould sheets, 2 cone moulds, 1 mini doughnuts mould sheet and 12 lollipop sticks.
First impressions are that the pieces all feel nice quality, but there’s not much to the kit.
It seems a bit of shame that you can only make 4 cake pops at a time, it would be so much better if there were 2 of the mould sets in there.
And the little doughnut mould is sweet, but slightly random as no recipes are provided so I’m not really sure what to do with it.
The kit comes with 2 cone moulds as well, so you can either just make basic cake pops or you can melt chocolate and pour it into the moulds and then put the cake pops on top of those, to make sort of cake ice creams.
In the end we decided to just go for the basic cake pops, but I’ve promised Rhys we’ll get the kit out again soon and make the cones too!
To make the cake pops you make up your cake mix (I used my basic 2-4-4-4 fairy cake recipe) and then spoon some into one half of the silicone mould, up to the line. Then you put the other half on top and press it down to secure it in place.
As the cakes rise they form themselves into nice little balls of cake.
I was so sceptical about this.
I really didn’t think it would work properly so I was amazed when I popped open the mould after the cakes had cooled to find these neat little cake balls!
The next step then is to simply put the lolly stick in and then dip the cake pops in melted chocolate and decorate.
The issue I had here is that there’s nothing in the kit to use to stand the cake pops up while the chocolate hardens. So you’d have to lie them down on some greaseproof paper or something similar, resulting in a random flat spot of chocolate.
I got lucky and had a plastic tub waiting to be recycled that actually had 4 little holes in the bottom, just the right size for the sticks. So I put my cakes pops in there for the topping to set. I would love it though if the kit came with something like that to make life a bit easier!
The end result though is really good I think.
Not quite bake off standard but still! It’s just a bit of a shame that you can only bake 4 at a time.
There are one or two little niggles with all three baking sets that we tested.
Each set could do with having a few more key bits of kit to them, and it would be really nice if there were recipe ideas in the boxes to get you started.
Overall though, we really like them.
We’ve had a lot of fun and really enjoyed baking something other than our standard fairy cakes.
And I think that’s the key to these kits.
They’re meant as a way to get kids interested in baking, and trying new skills, and having fun.
And from my experience with them they succeed on all those points.
My adult self has a few nit-picky reservations but the child in me, who always loved the look of things like Mr Frosty and easy bake ovens, really enjoyed them!
We’ll definitely be getting all these sets out again over the coming months.
Disclaimer – I was sent the kits for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own.