I’ve always been fairly sceptical of those happy family shots with toddlers and mums in the kitchen, happily baking away together. My memories of baking with my mum generally involve her getting me to lick out the bowl (a time-honoured tradition in our home) so I’m kept out of her way.
So when I received the Dr Oetker range of holiday baking goodies I was a lot sceptical. These were kits for painting hot melted chocolate into fragile egg shapes and, to me, that spelled DOOM in chocolately fingerprints all over the clean bits of the kitchen.
Interestingly, it turned out that I was the clumsy clogs who ruined it all...
The set includes everything you need to make and decorate two chocolate eggs, or two chocolate bunnies, depending on your preference. To start out you have to melt the chocolate over water or in the microwave. I recommend the water, as microwave can get a bit fiddly and overcooking has disastrous results. It only takes a few minutes for the choccy to get gooey.
Then you spoon the chocolate into the moulds and spread it around. Now my daughter was loving all of this, and scooping the hot chocolate out of the bowl wasn’t a health hazard after I covered the edges in a hand towel. The biggest problems were, actually, trying to understand what the instructions meant and covering the moulds faster than the chocolate cooled down.
With a toddler speed isn’t exactly a big thing so I had to re-melt the chocolate once or twice to get it done. You’re given quite a lot of chocolate. A packet of milk chocolate buttons and a packet of white chocolate buttons per set. You divide the buttons into sections, melt the first section, apply it to the mould and then stick the mould in the fridge for 15 minutes. It’s pretty quick.
The only issue I had was that I misread the instructions and placed my moulds face up and the chocolate all ran into the centre. But when I placed them face down I cried at the wasted chocolate. Although a clever solution was to simply melt it down again.
Once the mould is dry you repeat the steps above. Then you can decorate your bunny or egg with the included icing and/or decorations and gobble them up with your tea. The sets come in at a fantastic £2.49 and you don’t need to buy anything in order to get started. And the chocolate included makes two separate bunnies - one in white chocolate and one in milk. However, if it was our disaster then you got four crumbly halves.
I think the fact that you don't need to fork out for extra stuff is a bonus point - you can literally grab it off the shelf, go home and spend about an hour baking with your kids. My daughter loved making it, loved the results, and she was so proud of her handiwork, until I killed them when taking them out of the moulds. Yes, this is when I ruined it all. I tried to be careful but somehow I broke every single bunny and egg.
The disadvantages are that the chocolate is a bit grim (not Belgian by any means!) and that even though I followed the instructions, the eggs were too thin to come out of the moulds without breaking. Same with the bunnies. Also the icing is hard to get out of the tubes – so unless you are really good at this stuff you won’t create the artwork on the box.
Overall, though, for the price point and fun value (and the sneaking some of the chocolate together) this product gets a good score. It’s the chocolate flavour, difficulty with a toddler (pasting chocolate) and poor results that bring it down.
Here is another kit that gives you everything you need, but this time to make cupcakes! I have to say upfront that these were delicious. Absolutely divine. Usually when we’ve bought cupcake kits in the past the cakes have been left to fester in a dark corner – it was all about the baking for us really because the results were vile. Not so in this case.
This kit was completely different. The cakes were moist and yummy and reminded me of the ones I had as a child. Plus they were easy to make and used very few bowls. Less washing up is a plus!
Now this was a great together baking tool. My daughter poured the powder into the bowl, added the water and stirred away with glee. When I introduced the whisk she was in seventh heaven. Her little face was all screwed up in concentration as she worked to get the lumps out. My heart just melted.
I was a bit worried that the batter was too thick and gummy when I dropped it into the cases but when we took these golden cakes out the oven later they were perfect. The icing is, of course, revoltingly sweet, so avoid it if you want to share the cakes with adults.
Quick, simple, fun and a great “lick out the bowl” batter, plus a price point of only £1.99, make this kit the clear leader in the Dr Oetker baking race for me.
If you have older kids then the mould kits would actually be quite perfect. However, for the younger ones and mums who like cupcakes, the cupcake kit is fab. Either way, no matter what you choose, you’d better say goodbye to your diet.