Tiny cookies

Tiny treats such as these can be prepared in light bulb-powered ovens. Globe | Amanda Stone

You know you’ve raised a sentimental (also a packrat) child when they experience nostalgia at the age of 14.

This bout of yearning for the good old days influenced said child to purchase a Suzy Homemaker Super Safety Oven from a little vintage shop over the weekend. No matter that this toy came out 40 years before she was born; the sight of it brought back the Easy-Bake Oven days of her youth.

No lie, I too was enchanted by this adorable oven. My own childhood memories of tiny cakes slow-cooked by the glow of a 100-watt light bulb, and the subsequent smell of burning batter stuck to the lightbulb each time it was plugged in for the rest of time came flooding back. But still, nostalgia holds tight.

Once home, she plugged the new old oven in to preheat, and got to work on a tiny bowl of cookie dough for the eight nickel-sized cookies it would make. Little did she know the Suzy Homemaker Super Safety Oven is super safe because the oven door locks once the lightbulb has warmed the reflective metal insides.

A little internet sleuthing told us the door won’t open until it has completely cooled down. Because safety.

This means kids in the 1960s spent a lot of time waiting for their tiny baked goods, but it’s better than the alternative, which I learned plenty about while climbing steadily down the dangers-of-toy-ovens internet rabbit hole.

Many a child has gone to the hospital, toy oven in tow because their hand is lodged inside. A five-year-old even had to have her finger partially amputated. I hope she has a strong sense of humor as an adult; that story is a doozy.

When incandescent light bulbs became a thing of the past, toy ovens started being made with alternate heating elements. Thankfully our Suzy Homemaker Super Safety Oven came with a lightbulb, but when it goes out I’ll have to start peeking under lampshades at the homes of friends and family. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ll replace it, promise.

You can buy mixes for Easy-Bake Ovens, but you likely have everything you need in your pantry. To make the mixes ahead of time, add the dry ingredients to a sealable bag or container and add a note about the measurements of wet ingredients.

Exercise patience by trying these recipes with your tiny bakers and their tiny ovens.

Pink layer cake

  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 teaspoons red sugar crystals
  • 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 8 teaspoons milk
  • Frosting of your choice

Stir ingredients together until the batter is smooth and pink. Pour 3 tablespoons of batter into a greased and floured toy cake pan. Bake 15 minutes.

Repeat for the second layer. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Pizza

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon oil, shortening or soft butter
  • 2 teaspoons milk (or more as needed)
  • Pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and desired toppings

Preheat the oven for 15 minutes and grease a toy pan. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, then cut in the oil while kneading. Continue kneading, adding the milk slowly as you do. Use more or less milk to get dough consistency.

Roll out the dough and put in the greased pan, pressing the dough up the sides for a deep-dish pizza.

Spread a thin layer of sauce on the crust and add cheese and toppings. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

Brownies

  • 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons chocolate syrup

Preheat the oven for 15 minutes and grease and flour a toy pan.

Stir the sugar, flour, oil, vanilla and chocolate syrup together until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

Amanda Stone is a food and gardening columnist for The Joplin Globe. Email questions to amandastone31@gmail.com or mail her c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.

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Amanda Stone is a food and gardening columnist for The Joplin Globe. Email questions to amandastone31@gmail.com or mail her c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.