kid friendly recipes

Snow People Cookies

Snow People

These cookies are adorable and fun to make. They also taste really good. They are a fun cookie for kids to make. The cookies are made from a rich, cream cheese dough. They stay soft in the middle, with a little crunch on the outside. They are even cuter if you use the candy-striped kisses available this time of year.

Snow People

Dough:

4 c. flour

1 t. baking powder

1 c. butter, softened

1 (8oz.) package cream cheese, softened

2 c. sugar

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

¼ t. almond extract

Decorations:

Mini chocolate chips or mini M&Ms

Kisses, whole, or mini peanut butter cups, halved

Frosting:

2 c. powdered sugar

Few drops green food coloring

Milk

Extra powdered sugar for sprinkling

Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and flavorings then stir in dry ingredients. Chill dough overnight. For each snow person rolls out 3 balls of dough, 1-inch, ¾-inch and ½-inch in diameter. Place balls in descending order on ungreased baking sheet. Press together lightly.  Use 2 mini chocolate chips for eyes in smallest ball and use either chips or mini M&Ms for buttons (2 on largest ball and 1 in medium). You can also add a tiny dot of frosting once they are cooled for the buttons, too. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about 18 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet 1 minute then remove to rack to finish cooling. Combine powdered sugar with green food coloring and just enough milk to make a frosting that can be piped. Use a little dab of frosting to attach either a chocolate kiss (unwrapped) or half of a peanut butter cup as a hat. Pipe a small amount of frosting to form a scarf. Dust cookies with a little extra powdered sugar for snow when finished decorating. Makes about 48 cookies.

Homemade Marshmallows

Freshly cut marshmallows

Marshmallows are very easy to make, and so much better than store bought. Kids can make them, too.

You don’t need a candy thermometer, or any fancy equipment. A stand mixer is a plus, as the mixture needs to be whipped for 15 minutes. When you finish the mixing process, you have marshmallow fluff. After the fluff has time to set, you have marshmallows!!!

My recipe is for classic vanilla marshmallows, but you can add different flavors and even colors, if you like. How fun to enjoy a mug of hot cocoa topped with homemade marshmallows. Maybe even make a mint version for your cocoa? They also toast up just like store bought marshmallows.

I’ve used this recipe for ages. I like that it is super easy, and still gives you quality marshmallows. I’ve seen more complicated versions- but why make life harder than it already is?

Marshmallows

1/2 c. cornstarch

1/2 c. powdered sugar

small amount of butter

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin, or 6 sheets of gelatin*

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. water

2/3 c. corn syrup

1/2 t. vanilla

Combine cornstarch and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Butter an 8x8x2 inch-baking pan. Sprinkle with some of the cornstarch mixture. Reserve the rest of the mixture for use later on. Combine the gelatin, granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved.** Pour gelatin mixture into a large bowl, adding the corn syrup and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 15 minutes. Be precise on the timing. The mixture will be thick and fluffy, marshmallow cream, actually. Place mixture into the prepared pan, spread evenly and refrigerate overnight. The mixture is very sticky. You might need to wet a metal spatula to get it spread out evenly. The next day, sift some of the reserved cornstarch mixture over the marshmallows. Sprinkle some more of the coating mixture on a work surface and turn the marshmallow out onto the prepared surface. Cut the marshmallows into 1-inch squares, coating as you go. The marshmallows are very sticky until completely coated. Allow to dry on a rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Makes about 4 dozen candies.

You can swap out flavorings- using maybe mint or lemon in place of the vanilla. You can also add a few drops of food coloring, if you like. Oh, and when you are at the rolling the pieces around in the cornstarch and powdered sugar stage of the process- don’t wear black. You’ll thank me later for that.

* Note: 3 sheets of sheet gelatin= one packet (1 tablespoon) of powdered gelatin.

** Note: If you are using sheet gelatin, place it in the pan with COLD water and stir until dissolved. Then add the sugar and just cook, over medium-low heat until just warm, stirring often. Don’t let the mixture get too hot or the gelatin will not work.

Rainbow Marshmallows

S’Mores Ice Cream Sandwiches

S’Mores Ice Cream Sandwich

Summer is the time for picnics, campfires and S’Mores. Summer is also the time of year to eat lots of ice cream and other frozen treats.

This dessert combines the ingredients of S’Mores in a frozen treat. How fun is that?

They aren’t hard to make, but you need to allow time for ingredients to freeze. The mixture is frozen, then cut into squares and sandwiched between Graham crackers. They get returned to the freezer to harden up.

We made these in a cooking camp recently. The kids loved them. Of course the we skipped the step where the sandwiches are assembled and put back the freezer to harden. The kids just ate them right away. A little messy, but a LOT of fun.

So here is the recipe.

S’Mores Ice Cream Sandwiches

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

2/3 c. chocolate syrup

1 c. coarsely crushed graham crackers

1 c. mini marshmallows

2 c. whipping cream, whipped

72 graham cracker square halves

In large mixing bowl combine sweetened condensed milk and syrup. Fold in crackers, marshmallows and whipping cream. Pour in foil lined 9×5-inch loaf pan and freeze until firm, about 6 hours, or longer. Remove from pan and peel off foil. Slice loaf in half lengthwise and then each half into 18 (½ inch) slices. Place one slice between two crackers and repeat with rest. Wrap and freeze until ready to eat. Makes 36.

Frozen S’Mores filling, ready to cut up.

Homemade Marshmallows

Freshly rolled marshmallows

Since I shared a recipe for homemade hot cocoa yesterday, I thought I would share my recipe for homemade marshmallows today. They are very easy to make, and so much better than store bought.

 

The recipe is for classic vanilla marshmallows, but you can add different flavors and even colors, if you like. How fun to enjoy a mug of hot cocoa topped with homemade marshmallows. Maybe even make a mint version for your cocoa.

I’ve used this recipe for ages. I like that it is super easy, and still gives you quality marshmallows. I’ve seen more complicated versions- but why make life harder than it already is?

 

Marshmallows

1/2 c. cornstarch

1/2 c. powdered sugar

small amount of butter

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin, or 6 sheets of gelatin*

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. water

2/3 c. corn syrup

1/2 t. vanilla

Combine cornstarch and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Butter an 8x8x2 inch-baking pan. Sprinkle with some of the cornstarch mixture. Reserve the rest of the mixture for use later on. Combine the gelatin, granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved.** Pour gelatin mixture into a large bowl, adding the corn syrup and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 15 minutes. Be precise on the timing. The mixture will be thick and fluffy, marshmallow cream, actually. Pour mixture into the prepared pan, spread evenly and refrigerate overnight. The next day, sift some of the reserved cornstarch mixture over the marshmallows. Sprinkle some more of the coating mixture on a work surface and turn the marshmallow out onto the prepared surface. Cut the marshmallows into 1-inch squares, coating as you go. The marshmallows are very sticky until completely coated. Allow to dry on a rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Makes about 4 dozen candies.

You can swap out flavorings- using maybe mint or lemon in place of the vanilla. You can also add a few drops of food coloring, if you like. Oh, and when you are at the rolling the pieces around in the cornstarch and powdered sugar stage of the process- don’t wear black. You’ll thank me later for that.

* Note: 3 sheets of sheet gelatin= one packet (1 tablespoon) of powdered gelatin.

** Note: If you are using sheet gelatin place it in the pan with COLD water and stir until dissolved. Then add the sugar and just cook, over medium-low heat until just warm, stirring often. Don’t let the mixture get too hot or the gelatin will not work.

 

Rainbow Marshmallows

Flaming Ghost Cake

Flaming Ghost Cake

I have posted this recipe before, but thought it might be a good time to post it again. This one is fun for Halloween.

You start with a baked 9×13-inch cake. Frost it with chocolate frosting and then use white frosting to draw a ghost on the cake.

You can make all sorts of images- cats, bats, pumpkins, if you prefer.

When ready to serve the cake, the eyes are set on fire. Fun effect. Kids and grown-ups both will get a kick out of it. Just be sure to have proper adult supervision for the kids.

The picture doesn’t do it justice. Very cool blue flames. Don’t forget to turn down the lights!

 

Flaming Ghost Cake

1 prepared 9×13- inch cake, any flavor

2 c. chocolate frosting, I prefer homemade

1 c. vanilla frosting, I prefer homemade

3 oz. semi sweet chocolate, optional

2 empty eggshell halves, washed well and dried

2 sugar cubes

Lemon extract

 

Frost cake with chocolate frosting, then spread vanilla frosting in the shape of a ghost. Melt chocolate in a small plastic bag. When chocolate is melted snip off the corner of the bag and use to outline ghost. Place eggshell halves in cake, round side down where the ghost’s eyes would be. Soak sugar cubes in lemon extract and place in eggshells. When ready to serve light sugar cubes and turn off the lights. Serve 12-16.

Variations: You can use the flaming eyes effect on cat shapes, pumpkins or even bats. Practice drawing the shape on paper before frosting the cake. If you bake a larger round cake the whole thing can be the pumpkin. Just frost it with orange tinted frosting.

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