I know that may sound a little dramatic, but really. It’s the truth. This is the first time that I haven’t been able to find the toys that Maya really, really wants… and I feel terrible. I’m hoping this oven (and an IOU from Santa) makes up for it. I have a feeling it will. 100 times over. The Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven is recommended for kids ages 8 and up, so Maya, being almost 7-and-a-half, is right on target. I can see Maura being her little assistant. Who knows… maybe 20 years from now, they’ll be the next DC Cupcakes sisters!
Yesterday on The Chew, a cooking/talk show on ABC, chef Carla Hall took a trip down memory lane, sharing one of her favorite things from her childhood – baking with her Easy-Bake Oven. She had her mom on, giving her a hand. Her mom who doesn’t bake. That’s how easy the Easy-Bake Oven is to use. Even if you don’t have any baking skills whatsoever, you can play along with your kids and make real treats that the whole family will enjoy. While I didn’t have an Easy-Bake oven when I was a little girl, I always dreamt of having one. Those of us that didn’t all had a friend who did, right? Chew co-host Daphne Oz was so excited because that’s how she learned to bake. I’m sure many of you can relate.
I was sent an Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven a couple of weeks ago, for review, and had hidden it in my closet until I could set aside some time to test it out. Usually the girls help me with toy reviews, but this time it’s just me.
The Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven has a really sleek, modern look and features a heating element similar to that of a conventional oven. It’s a new design, as the original used a light bulb that I’m guessing was deemed dangerous.
In the box you get the oven itself, a baking pan, cupcake pan, pan pusher, instructions/recipe booklet, chocolate chip cookie mix, red velvet cake mix, cupcake wrappers, pink frosting mix, and one pack of rainbow sugar crystals. Add in a few basics that mom has in the kitchen – water, cooking spray, measuring spoons, kitchen timer, a mixing bowl and spoon – and you have everything you need to start baking right away. I decided to start with chocolate chip cookies, leaving the red velvet cupcakes for the girls to make on Christmas morning.
Using the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven is incredibly easy! It does take some time, though, so prepare your kids to be patient. First, you have to plug in and pre-heat the oven for 20 minutes. During this time, I sprayed the baking pan with cooking spray, spreading it evenly with a paper towel. Making the cookie dough was as simple as pouring the mix and a teaspoon of water into a bowl, then pressing it together to form the dough.
I rolled the dough into a ball and separated it into 12 smaller balls. This all took a couple of minutes. I placed the dough on the baking pan, and flattened each one a tiny bit before sliding the pan into the baking chamber with the included pan tool. I set a timer for 9 minutes. It would be cool if you could see inside the oven. I felt like maybe I pushed the tray in a little too much at first, and there was no way to tell, without taking it out and putting it back in again. Even Chiquito wanted to see what was going on. He started barking at the oven, so I had to send him outside, lest he reveal my secret!
While I was in the corner of the dining room, Maura was in the next room playing with Play-Doh, completely oblivious to what I was up to! At this point, it was time to move the cookies into the cooling chamber, also done with the pan tool. After cooling for 5 minutes, I slid the pan out of the oven, not forgetting to turn it off and unplug it.
I have to admit this is all a lot of fun, but it’s definitely not a toy that kids should be left alone with. It is a real oven, after all, and gets really hot. Plus kids can potentially break it if they don’t follow the instructions carefully (like how they shouldn’t put the cupcake wrappers in the oven, or how the cupcake pan should be placed in the baking pan, etc.)
And these are my cookies! I know they don’t look that great. Maybe I made the dough balls too big, or didn’t space them right in the pan so they all stuck together. Next time I’ll try splitting it into two batches.
That doesn’t really matter, because they are actually quite good. Tiny, but yummy. Now Maya can make a friend or family member their very own personal birthday cake. Or a special dessert for after dinner. Or, a yummy snack to take to school. Perhaps one of my New Year’s resolutions should be to only eat desserts made in the Easy-Bake Oven. Talk about portion control! 😉
Not sure if your kids would have fun with this oven? Think about whether they like to help you in the kitchen. Download the free Easy-Bake Cupcakes app and play with them. This app lets you make, bake, decorate, eat and share yummy virtual cupcakes right from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. You pick your cupcake mix, fill the pan with cupcake batter and water then mix, and slide the pan into the virtual Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven to cook. Decorate each cupcake with frosting and candy toppings, and then share your delicious creations with your friends and family via email or Facebook. Maura and Maya send me virtual cupcakes by email all the time when they play with my iPad. It’s a cute way they tell me they’re thinking about me!
So… yes, the girls love playing with the Easy-Bake app, but interestingly enough, they’ve never asked me to buy the actual oven for them. It’s not really a surprise because they don’t ask for much, and their Christmas lists were fairly short. That’s what makes this that much more exciting. They’re not expecting it. I’ll get their reaction to opening the oven on video Christmas morning, and share that with you next week. I may be more excited about this than any of the gifts I bought them!
Back to The Chew. Everyone in the audience went home with an oven, and they shared a special coupon with the viewers at home. A Chewpon (haha!). Using code CHEW10OFF, you can get $10 off the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven through Sunday, December 18th, at HasbroToyShop.com, plus free shipping. Visit thechew.com for more information on how to claim this deal. UPDATE: Gah! I just saw that it’s out of stock now. Sorry. Toys ‘R Us and Kmart still have it online and in-store, though.
To make up for the cookie mix that I used up, I just purchased an Easy-Bake s’mores snack mix from Amazon. Hasbro Toy Shop has free shipping through the weekend, so I’ll likely buy another mix or two there as well. They have the best prices. The new oven bakes an extended menu that includes cookies, red velvet cupcakes, checker cakes, pizza, pretzels, cinnamon twists, and brownie sticks, so we have a lot to choose from.
If you haven’t been able to find the perfect gift for that special little girl in your life, consider buying her an Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven. The holidays are about creating memories, and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing… it’ll be something she remembers for the rest of her life!
YOUR TURN: Did you have an Easy-Bake Oven when you were a little girl?
Disclosure: I was provided with an Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.