With school-holiday boredom setting in and some kids getting restless in lockdown, now is a great time to get young cooks in the kitchen. By now, you've probably exhausted all the cutesy recipes on the side of cereal boxes and in old Women's Weekly cookbooks. So give TikTok a go as your new go-to for food inspiration.
The app's signature short videos mean that recipes on "food-tok" are simple and quick, so they're good for small fingers and short attention spans.
And because TikTok is all about fun and playful aesthetics, there are plenty of recipes with interesting techniques and pretty results. Here are five that will make your kids fall in love with cooking.
It's a cold, hard fact that kids froth over anything that looks like an animal, so making TikTok's adorable animal bread is a no-brainer. Typically made using Japanese milk bread and melonpan (a type of sweet bun), the most popular styles on Tiktok are froggy bread, turtle bread and bear bread. Let your imagination run absolutely wild shaping these easy-to-make doughs into any animal.
Perth TikToker Audrey Lim (@audreysaurus) shared her version of turtle bread with matcha and chocolate flavours. "The distinct cracked top of [melonpan] sort of already naturally looks like a turtle shell … the result is cute and delicious!"
Lim reckons it's the perfect food to make with children. "Honestly, bread dough is like Play-Doh. You can mould it into whatever shape you want and then simply bake it," she says.
TURTLE BREAD 🐢 baking sheet is from @wiltshireau♬ Our House by the Waterfall - Rook1e
When former Rockpool chef and owner of Melbourne's City Larder Robbie Bell (@robbiebell8) shared his pizza wheel recipe on his popular TikTok page, he didn't know that it was already trending. "They sell them at my son's canteen, and he loves them," he says.
Cover a portion of puff pastry or fresh pizza dough with sauce and toppings, roll it up, then cut into chunky discs. Bake it in the oven and cheese will ooze out of the wheel's fun spiral shape.
"It's something easy for kids to do," Bell says. "It doesn't take ages, and there are no complicated techniques to it. So it's super simple."
The key to creating the perfect pizza wheel is to not overload it with lots of ingredients (as you may with a normal pizza), or the wheels will overflow with runaway olives and salami.
More commonly known as jam drops in Australia, the old faithful thumbprint cookies are getting a revival on TikTok. The super simple shortbread's popularity with children lies in the novelty of pressing your thumb into the dough, and adding your favourite jam.
"It's a really fun and soothing process to watch on TikTok," says Melbourne TikToker Chloe Kues (@bakingenvy), whose thumbprint cookie recipe has received almost 1.5 million views. "They were a childhood treat for me that I wanted to bring back … I have a lot of kids watching my TikToks, so it's something they can do as a family activity. Even if they're a little bit younger, it's still easy to understand how they work."
These bikkies will spark nostalgia in you and will introduce kids to an old icon.
These squishy, colourful, plump rice balls might just be Australia's new favourite dessert. They're popping up on dessert menus all over the country, and they're flooding into our supermarkets.
TikTok has shown that the Japanese dessert is much easier to make than you might think. Once you've gotten your hands on some glutinous rice flour, it's a choose-your-own-adventure when it comes to selecting colours, flavours, and fillings.
"Social media and the internet has made everyone so much more open to trying new foods from different cultures, and I think mochi is included in that," says Audrey Lim, who has received up to 8.6 million views on her mochi videos, featuring flavours such as Milo, mango-passionfruit, and chilli ice-cream.
"It's such an interesting food and has such a unique and amazing texture ... I think that's what has really made it blow up."
Rapper and avid TikToker Lizzo broke the internet recently when she saw a TikTok of someone eating watermelon with American mustard. After she posted a video of herself trying it, it caused a frenzy of people compelled to try the strange combination, fascinated that the flavours work together.
If you've run out of things to do this holidays and really want to blow your kids' minds, the watermelon-mustard challenge will be a fun activity to get the whole family involved in. Laugh at each other and compare notes on the bizarre dish just as 27 million TikTokers have before you.
If that doesn't sound quite like your cup of tea, some TikTokers have been swapping out mustard for other savoury, healthier ingredients.