My son loves baking, but not the kind of baking that involves following tried and tested recipes that other people have come up with – he prefers to create them for himself. His latest creation was the Tonton, made of things he apparently chose at random while looking in the cupboard. While we were making it I started to realise this is my favourite way to bake – more artistic expression than food creation.
There is no way to fail with a Tonton, no way to make too few or too many, the flavour and texture don’t matter, it’s just about having fun in the kitchen. Stir it with a big spoon, whizz it in a mixer, squish everything together in your hands, get a rolling pin out – why not? What you make will most likely be unspeakably awful – and there’s something very liberating in that.
With this ratio, you should get about 6 medium-sized Tontons, or 14 small ones, or one big one – a Tonton has no pre-defined size, so you can’t go wrong.
One teaspoon of honey
One plain brioche roll
One Organix strawberry oat bar
One teaspoon of vinegar
One teaspoon of baking soda
One small pot of vanilla yoghurt
Remember, if you don’t have any of these ingredients, replace them with literally anything else.
How to cook a Tonton
There is no traditional Tonton cooking method, though I’ve heard Canadian Tontons take 48 hours to prepare and require several blast chillers (I don’t recommend it). We prefer to mix it a bowl then put it in the oven. Set the oven to your favourite heat and leave it in for however long provides a level of Tonton that is closest to edible. Not having eggs in the recipe means I never worry about serving anything too poisonous.
Eating the Tonton
My son gets very excited at this stage, helping to cut them, blow on them and plate them up. He settles down to a nice cartoon with a plate of food he’s made himself. He doesn’t finish it of course, so the remains are quietly slipped into the kitchen. Now, as they are technically food, I don’t like to waste them, so this is where having a husband comes in handy – he dutifully polishes off any leftovers – sometimes transforming them into what he calls ‘custard dippers.’ I see where my son gets it from.
So, what is a Tonton? Well, a Tonton is whatever you want it to be. Most importantly, it’s a way to enjoy baking with children, free from the pressure that the end product needs to be anything even resembling successful. Enjoy your Tontons everyone.
*This was originally published on the Mamatribe website