Amid social events vying for calendar space, buying presents for everyone on your list, and preparing for in-laws to arrive, the joyful holiday months can quickly become chaotic. Instead, take party prep in stride by making treats with your kids. It's a golden opportunity to spend quality time together and underscore the power of giving.
If you're baking with young children, try no-bake treats to get their little hands, minds and hearts involved without sacrificing safety.
Clemence Gossett, co-owner and pastry chef at The Gourmandise School, suggests a no-bake ginger chocolate granola bar: "We love using the stovetop method and good old-fashioned hand-pressing to shape these granola bars. A quick trip to the freezer and they're ready to cut, wrap and gift."
Whipping up a batch of the Gourmandise holiday bars is a creative alternative to sugar cookies. Put on plastic gloves, and shape them into Christmas trees and stars. If you're bringing goodies to your child's classroom, other parents will thank you for offering a healthy alternative. Not to mention, your little one can experience the fun of gifting something made with love.
Always strive to create an environment that keeps the children engaged and empowered by minimizing the chance for spills, missing ingredients or other typical kitchen mishaps. Do this by measuring all ingredients into small, individual bowls in advance, and set aside the necessary bakeware, mixing bowls, spoons and pans.
Let your family time in the kitchen be a teaching process by showing kids how separate ingredients can be blended into unique and delicious concoctions.
Play your favorite holiday jingles, and enjoy the moment; you're creating holiday moments your children can savor for a lifetime.
These are fun and made with just egg whites, honey, water, sugar and gelatin -- and peppermint for some special holiday fun!
--In the bowl of a stand mixer, place:
2 egg whites
--In a small bowl, place:
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons gelatin (about 3 packets)
--In a small saucepot, place:
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup water
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and dust with 3/4 cup powdered sugar or cornstarch.
Sprinkle gelatin over your small bowl of water.
Heat your honey, sugar and water over medium heat. No need to stir very much.
While the sugar is cooking, start beating your egg whites and salt in a stand mixer until you reach soft peaks.
Once your sugar syrup reaches 240 F (if you don't have a thermometer, count 2 minutes from the time your mixture begins to bubble), slowly drizzle it, with the whisk attachment running on medium speed, into the egg whites.
Turn the mixer to high speed, and then add gelatin and beat for another 10 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract -- or any other type; play around with peppermint extract, crushed peppermint cookies or freeze-dried fruits for flavored marshmallows.
Pour into prepared pan, and spread carefully. Sprinkle with sugar or powdered sugar. Chill for 30 minutes to set.
Cut out marshmallows with cookie cutters, oiled knife or scissors. These store very well in the freezer.
(Recipe from The Gourmandise School)
NO-BAKE GINGER CHOCOLATE GRANOLA BARS
--In a large bowl, place:
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups assorted fruits and nuts of your liking (see ideas below)
--In a pot, place:
2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
4 ounces unsalted butter
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
In a large bowl, toss your oats, nuts and dried fruits together.
Bring the butter, honey and brown sugar to a simmer. Stir in the oil, salt and vanilla.
Pour the butter mixture over the oatmeal, and mix with a wooden spoon until coated.
Pour this mixture onto a large piece of oiled foil, parchment or wax paper.
Using the back of a cookie sheet or heavy book, press the granola into a thick rectangle. Cut the ends off, and snack on them.
Freeze your block of granola for 1 hour. Cut the bars, and wrap them as desired.
If you like fruits and nuts, try adding 2 extra cups of nuts and 1 cup of dried fruits. Here are a few good combinations:
--Hazelnuts, almonds and currants.
--Pistachios, golden raisins and dried apricots.
--Coconut, macadamia nuts and dried mangoes.
--Pine nuts, rosemary and dried apricots, finely chopped.
(Recipe from The Gourmandise School)