Holiday Cooking with the Kids
Chocolatey Drawings: Melt chocolate in a double boiler, then pour into a frosting bag with a very pointy tip. Tear off a generous arm’s length of waxed paper and cover a cookie sheet or flat platter with it. Let your child play with dribbling names, designs, or greetings of melted chocolate onto the waxed paper. Cool in the refrigerator until hard again. Gently peel the waxed paper from the designs. Place on top of cookies or cakes, use as place cards, wrap very, very gently in a sturdy box with tissue paper and give as gifts.
Colorful Sweets: Honey is easily colored with food dyes. First gather clean jars with lids. Have the kids pour the honey almost to the very top. They can choose their favorite festive colors to add. Put the lid on and ask them to turn the jar upside down, then right side up several times until the mixture is even. If you buy plain white stickers at an office supply store, the kids can make labels for the jars with their markers, glitter, and glue sticks.
Two more versions of the above: Add freshly sliced fruits to the jar before the honey is added, or use the colored honey to dribble over whipped cream. Both of these suggestions can be served over cake, ice cream, or added to sparkling waters.
Snowman Goodies: Create a dessert feast around your child’s favorite holiday story. For instance, a Frosty the Snowman dessert feast would include letting your child stack marshmallows into a snowman-shape then dotting with chocolate chip eyes, thin pretzel stick arms, and black licorice hats. To drink, what else but shaved ice? Top it with flavored syrups served in bowls that the kids have covered with black construction paper (to simulate Frosty’s top hat). Your child can “shave” the ice by putting cubes inside a plastic bag and then smashing the bag with the backs of spoons. Nip the tops and bottoms from licorice strips to use as straws.
Winter Picnic: After you light up the tree or put the first candle into the menorah, have a picnic under the “lights” in the living room. Spread out a plastic tablecloth leftover from your summer camping trips (or buy one with a seasonal motif). Buy a loaf of your child’s favorite bread. Alternate layers of peanut butter, bananas and pineapple. Slice the stack into quarters. Serve with devilled eggs you make together: After hardboiled eggs cool, peel and scoop out the yolks. Let the kids loose mashing the yolks with mayonnaise or low-fat dressing. Then have them spoon the yolks back into the whites and make designs with a fork on them. Peppermint tea completes the feast. Ask the kids to put a stick of cinnamon in each cup before you pour the tea.
Who Needs a Stove?
Construct a Snack: Give the kids a jar of peanut butter to “cement” together a graham cracker “gingerbread” house. Lay out bowls of colorful candies as decorations. Those thin pretzels leftover from the Frosty feast make wonderful “logs.” After everyone has had a chance to admire the house (and you’ve taken a photo of it), put on the kids’ get-messy clothes and let them chomp down.
Edible Ornaments: The kids will love to mix together popcorn, peanuts, chocolate chips, raisins, pretzel bits and soft candies with honey in a bowl. Then let them get gooey by rolling the mixture into golf ball or tennis ball sizes. Spread a little powdered sugar on waxed paper. Roll the balls in the sugar to sop up the extra honey. These make great edible ornaments by tying a ribbon around them to use as a hanger. Don’t forget to eat them before you stash the ornaments away for the season!
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