Why Duff Goldman Doesn't Simplify Recipes For Kids - Exclusive

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Simple is not something Duff Goldman does. As head baker and owner of Charm City Cakes and star of the show "Ace of Cakes," Goldman brought to life spectacular creations combining cake decorating and engineering. Now, Goldman has entered the world of cooking education for children. In addition to his show "Duff's Happy Fun Baking Time," Goldman has published two children's books, the newest of which is "Super Good Cookies for Kids."

The new book has everything young bakers need to learn to make delicious treats. As Goldman said in an exclusive interview with Mashed, "There's a lot of information. There's some good chemistry. There's some physics involved." When people read the book, Goldman hopes they think, "'Oh, I understand how to think about a recipe now,' or 'When I take a bite of something, I understand how to taste it better.'"

The book includes recipes for all skill levels, from simple treats like Buckeyes to more complicated bakes like Chinese moon cakes. However, Goldman doesn't simplify recipes for kids. He explained, "This is where I get some criticism from people, where they say, 'These recipes are well beyond kids. These aren't kids' recipes.'" Goldman, however, disagrees that cooking needs to be dumbed down for children.

He loves the criticism

Duff Goldman doesn't balk at the criticism. Instead, he sees it as a compliment. "I love when I get that criticism because I've read kids' cookbooks — because I write kids' cookbooks. When I read most of them, I'm like, 'This is boring. There's nothing to it. It's simplified ...' Kids want more than this, so I give a range." Goldman understands that kids don't want the information to be watered down for them. Instead, they should be presented with information and options and allowed to choose themselves.

His new book contains a variety of cookies for different skill sets. Goldman told us, "Some things are easy to make. Haystacks are easy. Buckeyes are easy. I made these Ramadan date cookies that are really involved." While some might think kids would shy away from more complex projects, Goldman's experience tells him otherwise. "Some kids like a really involved project, and it's good to challenge them. Kids like to be challenged."

Goldman doesn't talk down to kids

Duff Goldman is also acutely aware that oversimplifying things is the fastest way to lose a child's interest. "It's important because when you talk down to them, they immediately tune out. They're like, 'All right,'" he said.

He added that children know when they are being talked down to. "They totally know. Kids are so much smarter than us. If you treat them like kids, they act like kids. If you treat them like small, intelligent humans, they act like small, intelligent humans." It is this philosophy that Goldman has used to craft his cookbooks for children successfully.

Putting faith in them to create allows them to enjoy the process and learn. Goldman isn't setting challenges for them without support — the book provides ample information to help kids learn the science of baking so that they can confidently try something new. To Goldman, this means that kids not only end up with some good cookies but also a sense of accomplishment. "I love to share with people a sense of accomplishment," he said. "I like putting people in positions where when they're done doing whatever it was that they were doing, they feel good about themselves and they're like, 'Look at this amazing thing I made.'"

"Super Good Cookies for Kids" is available for purchase now.