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How to have a family bake-off

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer and editor. As a work at home mom she has a unique perspective that encompasses the overwhelming deadlines and commitments of the professional woman as well as the constantly changing needs of a...

Sweet competition

You've done game night, movie night and wear-your-pajamas-to-dinner night. Now, the family is sitting around staring at the TV like a group of zombies. Grab their attention with a family bake-off that puts sibling rivalry to good use. Here's how.

50 Days of family fun

1Choose a prize

Prizes can be anything from a few dollars to a get out of a chore free coupon. You can even decide on several prizes, one for each family member, so that everyone goes away with something. Just have several awards -- for example, most beautiful, most imaginative, best use of chocolate or whatever is appropriate.

2Decide on the category

Picking something specific for your family bake-off is usually easier than leaving it open-ended. Keep the ages of your children in mind, and choose something they can succeed at making. Cookies and cupcakes are popular with everyone and don't take much time to make. Or, just choose an ingredient that must be included and let the contestants decide how to implement it in their creations.

3Set a time limit

Decide how long the competitors have to create their own brand of magic in the kitchen. Usually, an hour to an hour and a half is about right. This gives them plenty of time to mix, bake and decorate most cookies or cupcakes. Adjust the time as needed for more complex recipes.

4Taste & judge

Place the finished entries on the table or counter for tasting and judging. Be sure that everyone's entries are tasted and that something positive is said.

5Be prepared for next time

Your family may like bake-off night so much that it becomes a frequent activity, so keep cupcake liners, sprinkles and other ingredients and supplies on hand. That way, you can call a family bake-off at a moment's notice.

More family fun

5 Tips to get kids cookin'
Cooking with kids: Dessert recipes
8 Recipes you can make with the kids

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