I just love cooking with my kids, baking especially. My nearly 6 year old is so inquisitive and so eager to help. Since baking requires exact measurements, I usually pre-fill measuring cups/spoons and start the mixing for him.

Standing on a stool next to me, he pours in the ingredients, cracks the eggs and scrapes the edges of the bowl. It’s a special bonding time – while I am getting my breads or desserts made he is usually talking my ear off about what he did in school or the newest Transformer he wants to buy. As our goodies go in the oven to bake, my boys have staked out their seats in front of the oven and eagerly watch in anticipation as their creation takes form. The aromas coming from my kitchen are as sweet as the looks on my boys’ faces. While I can use Pinterest and find all the cutest, sweetest desserts moms make with their kids, I would rather share with you my favorites, and now my kids’ favorite, desserts to make with me.

My husband’s most requested cake in the 20 years I’ve known him is Chocolate Chip Cake with Seafoam Frosting. The cake is simple; just follow the directions on a box of yellow cake mix and add chocolate chips. It’s the frosting that can be tricky. Be careful to not let any of the yolk mix with the egg whites unless you want valleys instead of peaks in your meringue – I learned this the hard way.

Ever wonder what to do with those too ripe bananas? Make Banana Nut Bread of course! My favorite recipe is on the back of the Bisquick box.

How about an abundance of zucchini? Zucchini Bread is a great way to get in a vegetable without the fight.

Gluten-free? Try my favorite, the ever so dense and delicious Flourless Chocolate Torte.

With Christmas right around the corner, bar cookies are a crowd pleaser and the simplest to make. My mom and I always make Jan Hagel and Toffee Bars.

In the summer, we like to bake with whatever fruit is in season. Favorites include strawberry rhubarb pie, blueberry pie, peach cobbler and apple cinnamon fritters. Desserts don’t have to be made from scratch to make baking with your kids a special time. I always have some ready-to-bake cookies, brownies and cakes in my pantry because you have to have dessert in my house! As I reminisce, most of my most memorable childhood experiences were in the kitchen – licking the batter off a wooden spoon or rolling out dough for Christmas cookies. I love family time. So grab the vanilla ice cream, some spoons and the family and dig in!

 Nikki Ducas is a budget-savvy Fredericksburg mom of two who loves giving her sons the best of everything without going into debt.