Archive for Kid-friendly

Dec
04

Holiday Meringue Cookies

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I’ve had so much fun making meringue cookies. There is so much you can do with them. They are naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. Perfect for most of us. (Of course, if you have a problem with eggs, this isn’t the cookie for you.) They are light and airy, crispy on the outside, a little chewy inside, and oh so yummy.

I’ve already shared the rubber duckies and ghosts I’ve made in the past. Now, I’m sharing some that are more appropriate for this season: Snowmen and Christmas Trees!

Basic Meringue Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

2 large egg whites (at room temperature)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
food coloring (optional)
1/2 Cup superfine sugar
candy for decorating (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium glass or metal bowl, beat the egg whites until they become foamy little bubbles. Add the cream of tartar, almond extract, and food coloring. Continue beating at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the sugar while beating until smooth and glossy and stiff peaks form.
  3. Fill a piping bag with open or large round tip. (I used Wilton disposable decorating bags.) If you don’t have these, you can simply use a zip-style plastic bag and cut the tip off a corner to squeeze out the meringue.
  4. Next add candy to finish the look.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 2-3 hours. (Smaller, thinner cookies will bake/dry out in 2 hours. Larger, fluffier cookies will need more time or they will be sticky on the bottom.)
  6. Let them cool on the cookie sheets.
  7. Place them on a plate to serve, or store in an airtight container.

Snowman Notes:

  • For the snowmen, I started by squeezing out a round shape of meringue for the head then moved to the middle and bottom to finish it.
  • I used Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips for the eyes and buttons, and cut up Tootsie Roll Midgees for the boots. I’m thinking now that I should’ve cut out some hats, too. What would Frosty be without a hat? :)
  • For the “carrot” nose on the snowmen, I used orange colored Jimmies.
  • I was able to make 15 snowmen from one recipe.

Christmas Tree Notes:

  • For the Christmas Trees, I started squeezing out the meringue at the top of the tree. Then, I made diagonal zigzags to finish the shape.
  • I tried two different sprinkles for the ornaments/lights on the trees – Rainbow Sprinkles and Rainbow Sparkling Sugar. I think I like them best plain.
  • For the star/diamond on the top of the tree, I didn’t have any star-shaped candies or sprinkles. Instead I cut mini marshmallows into thirds then covered with yellow sugar for the star/diamond on the tree. I gave the ends a little squeeze to make them diamond-shaped.
  • My kids thought the trees needed trunks, so I cut up Tootsie Roll Midgees into quarters.
  • I was able to make 20 Christmas Trees from one recipe.

**Be creative and use whatever extra candy you have. These Jumbo Star Sprinkles would be great to use for stars on top of the tree. You could also use mini M&Ms for the snowman buttons, or large ornaments on the trees.

More Meringue Cookie Recipes:

Ghost Meringue Cookies

Raspberry Divinity Tarts

Rubber Duckie Cookies

Review Even More Great Recipes at: 

 

Comments (9)
Sep
29

Chocolate Chip Banana Mini Muffins

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I made a batch of these mini muffins a few weeks ago for two reasons. One, I was getting bored with our breakfast routine. And two, I thought I would freeze some for school mornings when I needed to serve a quick breakfast. Well, I never got around to freezing them because they disappeared so quickly. So, the next week I made another batch, and still couldn’t get them into the freezer fast enough. The kids gobbled them up for breakfast and after-school snacks. In two days they were gone. So, I guess I’m going to have to bake more, and double the recipe next time.

Chocolate Chip Banana Mini Muffins

Ingredients:

1 Cup mashed, ripe Bananas (about 2 bananas)
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Coconut Nectar (or other sweetener)
1/4 Cup Grapeseed Oil (or other cooking oil)
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Cups (9 oz./250 g) Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup mini Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Prepare a Mini Muffin Pan by spraying with oil, or using paper liners.
  2. Mash bananas in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, coconut nectar, oil, and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add Pamela’s Baking Mix and salt, and continue to beat.
  4. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop scoops of about 1-1/2 Tbsp of batter into the prepared muffin pan, or until each cup is about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake at 375° F for 10 minutes.
  7. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then finish cooling directly on a wire rack.

Additional Notes:

  •  Makes about 3 dozen mini-muffins, depending on how full you fill the cups.
  • For simplicity, I used Pamela’s Baking Mix for the flour. Pamela’s mix already contains baking powder, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum. So, if you’re going to attempt this recipe with other flours, I would suggest adding a little bit of each of those.
  • I have now made this recipe several times using different sweeteners – honey, coconut nectar, and agave. I’m happy to say that they all turned out delicious. I’m sure that sugar would work, too, but I didn’t even feel the need to try it.
  • If your family doesn’t eat them as quickly as mine, put them in a sealed container or bag in the freezer. Because they’re small, they thaw quickly on the counter. Or, just pop them into the microwave for a warm treat.

 

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Sep
09

Gluten-free Play Dough

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Update September 9, 2011

When I was speaking with my daughter’s teacher last week, she told me that she likes to use play dough in the classroom. I told her that it would be a problem for my daughter, but that I’d be happy to make some gluten-free play dough for the class. For some classes in the past, I’ve purchased pre-made play dough, and my kids have just used their own personal supply of gluten-free play dough. But, I’ve also made play dough for the whole class to use. I’ve done well with the Kool Aid recipe below without problems, but I didn’t have the Kool Aid needed. And, I often had to add a lot of cornstarch to it after it cooked.

I decided to adjust the recipe to make it easier and faster to make. After one completely disastrous attempt, I came up with a recipe that was absolutely the easiest and fastest I’ve ever made. I kept Cream of Tartar in the recipe, but found that Xanthan Gum wasn’t needed. Five minutes of measuring and mixing, three minutes of cooking, and another five minutes of kneading in the color resulted in hours of fun! And, the texture was perfect – just like you would expect homemade play dough to be.

Easiest Gluten-Free Play Dough Recipe

Ingredients:

1 Cup White Rice Flour
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
1/2 Cup Salt
1 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
1-1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 Cup Water, hot but not boiling
Food Coloring, as desired

Directions:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium pot.
  2. Add the vegetable oil, then the water, and continue to mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Heat the pot on the stove over low heat for about 3 minutes. I like to stir frequently with a silicone spatula.
  4. When the dough starts to pull away from the sides easily, turn out the dough onto parchment paper. Let it cool briefly until you can work it with your hands.
  5. Knead food coloring into the dough until you get the color you desire.

Additional Notes:

  • Don’t overcook the dough. It shouldn’t need more than five minutes.
  • To add food coloring, I use the method I’ve used since I was a kid: Using your thumbs, make a well in the middle of the ball of dough and drop the food coloring into the well. Close up the well with the outside dough, keeping the food coloring in the middle of the ball. Then, carefully begin kneading it until the color is evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  • You don’t have to use the parchment paper. The dough shouldn’t be sticky. I use the parchment paper to simply keep residue and food coloring off my counter top. Wax paper or a plate would work just as well.
  • If needed, adjust the texture with small amounts of water (for dry, crumbly dough) or cornstarch (for sticky dough).
  • Makes about 2 cups of play dough, or about 2 baseball-size balls of dough.
  • Store in tightly sealed plastic bags or containers.

Notable Links:

_______________________________________________________________________

Original Post January 28, 2009

We’re on our second snow day at home and the kids were happy to pull out the play dough for something to do. I was amazed that it was still good. It’s been a couple months since we’ve played with it, and about 9 months since we first made it! We’ve tried several recipes for play dough, but this one is our favorite. The Kool-Aid gives it a nice scent and additional color. You can use the additional cornstarch to adjust the consistency as needed. We store different colors in zip-type plastic bags and put them all together in a plastic bucket with a lid.

Gluten-Free Play Dough Recipe

Ingredients:

2/3 Cup rice flour
1/3 Cup potato starch or cornstarch
1/3 Cup salt
2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
1 pkg unsweetened Kool-Aid
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Cup warm water

Additional food coloring optional
Extra potato starch or cornstarch for kneading dough – We use a lot to get a preferred consistency.


Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the rice flour, potato starch or cornstarch, salt, xanthan gum, Cream of Tartar and Kool-Aid powder.
  2. Add the oil and the warm water to the flour mixture and mix well. (If you want to add food coloring, mix it first with the warm water.)
  3. Heat the mixture on medium heat for about one minute or until the mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a cornstarch-floured surface or parchment paper.
  5. Knead in enough potato starch until the dough is no longer sticky.
  6. Store in an airtight container or bag when not in use.

Notable Links:

Comments (37)
Sep
15

Hot Wheels Birthday Cake

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It was such a busy summer that I never got around to sharing this birthday cake idea with you. My son loves Hot Wheels! His love of cars started at a very early age, and by the time he was three years old could tell me which cars were Hot Wheels as opposed to any other brand of toy car. I created a Hot Wheels monster truck cake for him when he turned 5, so I wasn’t expecting to make another Hot Wheels cake for him this year. But, two days before his birthday, he insisted on a Hot Wheels cake. And not just a Hot Wheels cake, but a Hot Wheels race track cake. Huh? Has he been watching Ace of Cakes when I wasn’t around? I loved the creative challenge, but with only two days to figure it out, I figured he’d have to accept whatever I could come up with.

I started going through his Hot Wheels tracks for ideas. I found a fun little track that I thought would be fun to incorporate with it. But, I couldn’t remove all the track pieces from the base and support structure. As I discussed the idea with my husband, he suggested that we just use the regular flexible Hot Wheels track pieces to make our own race track. Well, they seemed a little big for it, but he convinced me he could make a support structure for it. OK. But to be a Hot Wheels track it has to have a loop, right? And wouldn’t it be fun if it went through a tunnel in the cake? So, that’s how the thoughts flowed to come up with this idea. Crazy, I know. But the kids loved it!

I didn’t get pictures of the building process. I was too busy trying to figure out what to do to stop and take a picture. And, I’m really sorry I never got a video of it working. We had to enlarge the tunnel a little, and find the right, low-profile car to make it through the tunnel. The kids at the party all enjoyed giving it a try before we cut the cake. It worked most of the time, though the car got stuck in the frosting a couple times.

More specifics:

I baked two round 9″ cakes. I used Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake Mixes and followed the baking directions.

I made Wilton’s recipe for Chocolate Buttercream Icing, and used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa to make it almost black (and deliciously chocolate :P).

For the bottom layer cake, I cut a path for the tunnel 3/4 of the way through the middle. (At this point, it looks almost like the letter U.) Then, I frosted the top and inside the tunnel.

For the top layer cake, I cut out another path for the tunnel. Then, I placed the cake on top of the bottom layer. I had to make some adjustments for the tunnel, by cutting a little more here and there so that the cake becomes like a ramp down the middle. After testing it with the track, I frosted the top, sides and inside the tunnel.

For the side of the cake, I tried to keep the decoration simple. I used a plastic chop stick to make indentions along the side of the frosted cake to resemble tire tread.

For the flames: I used simple icing made with powdered sugar and water. (I start with 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp water and adjust as necessary.) Then I separated it into three small bowls and used food dye to create red, orange and yellow frosting. I used Wilton’s small round #3 decorating tip to outline the flames. Then, filled in with the different colors as shown in the picture. I used a small knife to spread the frosting to fill in the flames.

For the support of the track, my husband used a yard stick and a dowel rod secured with a nail. The track and clamp are all Hot Wheels pieces I drug out of the toy bin at home. The track had to be high enough to make the loop successfully. It also needed a little support in the middle of the track, so we used a straw taped to the underside of the track and top of the yard stick.

More Great Birthday Cake Ideas:

I’m also linking this post to Gluten-Free Wednesdays at The Gluten-Free Homemaker, where you’ll find lots of wonderful gluten-free recipes, reviews and ideas.

Aug
07

Mexican Pizza

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I’ve recently learned that pizza is a great way to use up leftover ingredients. I’ve been wanting to try Gluten Free Gobsmacked’s “Chebe” bread recipe for a pizza crust for a while. I use the recipe frequently for rolls and hamburger buns, but never tried it for pizza. Well, I finally did it! I baked the first pizza a little too long — pre-baked it for 15 minutes. It was crunchy. I added pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, sliced black olives and sliced mushrooms. Although the crust was a little too crunchy, it was still tasty. My son ate two big slices, which is a lot for him.

The second pizza, I pre-baked for only 10 minutes. The crust turned out much better. I decided to use up some leftovers to make a Mexican Pizza. Instead of a traditional tomato pizza sauce, I used salsa. Then I topped it with leftover shredded chicken, black olives and a mixture of shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese. The best part about the pizza was the fresh tomato and avocado slices. We placed them on top of the pizza after we removed the pizza from the oven. It was really nice to have the added fresh, raw vegetables on it. Perfect for a summertime pizza.

Mexican Pizza Recipe

Ingredients:

Pizza Crust – Use your favorite or try a Cheese Bread Recipe.
1/2 Cup Salsa – Use your favorite recipe or jarred gluten-free salsa.
1 – 2 Cups Shredded Mexican Chicken
2 Cups shredded cheese (Try cheddar, Monterey Jack, and/or mozzarella.)
1/4 Cup sliced black olives
1 Avocado, sliced
1 tomato, sliced

Directions:

  1. Pizza Crust – For the Cheese Bread recipe: Combine the ingredients in a food processor (or mixer), then turn out onto a large piece of parchment paper. Top with plastic wrap and roll or press into a 10-12″ round crust. Remove the plastic wrap and slide the crust (and parchment paper) onto a pre-heated pizza stone. For best results, I pre-baked the crust for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the pizza from the oven and add your chosen ingredients. Start with spreading the salsa (or pizza sauce) on the crust. Then add the chicken, cheese, olives, jalapeños etc. Return the pizza to the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool slightly while you slice the tomato and avocado. Then, top the pizza with the avocado and tomato slices.
  4. Slice, serve and enjoy!

Notable Links:

Comments (27)