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Tag Archives: Christmas food

Crispy Rice Christmas Trees

Today I’m sharing a last minute, super easy Christmas treat that kids will have lots of fun helping you make.

After our school Christmas Fair, the chair of the PTA handed over an almost full 1kg bag of mini marshmallows, saying she was sure I could use them for the last school bake sale of the year. I asked Instagram for ideas (popcorn snow balls, rocky road, chocolate brownies, marshmallow nougat…) but to save time, I settled for the rice krispie and marshmallow classic.

crispy-rice-marshmallow-christmas-trees

A lesson learned from making crispy rice treats in bulk: don’t double the mixture!!! It was hard (and very sticky work). Instead of saving me time, it slowed me down. So, my advice if you want to make these in bigger quantities would be to make one batch at a time. That way you avoid the marshmallow and butter mixture quickly cooling down and setting before you’ve completely mixed it through the crispy rice.

CRISPY RICE CHRISTMAS TREES

Prep Time: 15 mins (plus decorating)
Cook Time: 0 mins
Makes 8 large treats

35 grams butter
250 g mini marshmallows
150 grams crispy rice cereal (e.g. rice krispies)
sprinkles or edible glitter
4 candy canes

Grease a round cake tin (mine is 23 cm in diameter) with butter or cooking spray.

In a large, heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat.

Add the marshmallows and stir constantly until they’re completely melted and combined.

Take off the heat and immediately add the cereal, mixing until all the cereal is completely coated.

Press the mixture into the greased tin. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula that’s been warmed in a mug of hot water to make it easier as the mixture is very sticky. Flatten the top and scatter over the sprinkles or edible glitter.

Let the mixture cool completely before cutting into eight equal slices (as if it were a cake).

Cut the curved tops off the candy canes (you don’t need these) and cut each straight piece into two. Gently push each piece into the bottom of each crispy rice wedge.

Merry Christmas!

 

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Christmas Food Inspiration 2013

There’s only a few more sleeps until Father Christmas comes and if you’re in need of some inspiration here are some cute (and easy) ideas you can still make.

And if you still need more inspiration, check out my ideas from last year.

Cute Food for Kids' Santa BelliesSo simple yet instantly recognisable, Cute Food for Kids created these very jolly Santa bellies from babybels. Check the link for other cute ideas.

Gourmet Mum's Chocolate Truffle Christmas PuddingsThe lovely Gourmet Mum’s Chocolate Truffle Christmas Puddings are so sweet and would also make adorable edible gifts.

Mummy Mishaps' Malteser Rocky Road Xmas PudOn a larger scale, Mummy Mishaps’ Malteser Rocky Road Xmas Pud would be a wonderful alternative to Christmas pudding.

Annabel Karmel's Baked Potato SnowmanAnnabel Karmel’s Baked Potato Snowman is a very cute kids’ meal you can easily adapt with your little one’s favourite filling.

Annabel Karmel's Mini Hot Dog Christmas Wreath

The Mini Hot Dog Christmas Wreath is another Annabel Karmel creation and would be perfect for a Christmas or Boxing Day buffet.

Gingerbread House

When I was small I used to love making things for my family at Christmas (homemade gifts and yummy sweets). One of the festive creations I remember making was a Christmas candle made from half a polly waffle (a cylindrical  Australian chocolate bar filled with marshmallow) stuck into a pastry tart filled with more marshmallow and a licorice handle, and a red and orange painted blanched almond stuck in the top for a flame. I was very proud of them!

I often imagined being a mum and having so much fun being creative with my kids at Christmas, so I’m absolutely loving that this Christmas Nicholas is old enough to really get involved and for us to start some family Christmas traditions. And his enthusiasm for all things ‘Christmassy’ is very catching!

ChristmasMaking a gingerbread house is a lovely traditional activity for the whole family. You can make a big one all together or a village of smaller ones with everyone decorating their own.

We decided to make one small one, that we could decorate easily and also eat before we go to Italy for our Christmas holidays. I used the template from this gingerbread house recipe from the BCC’s Good Food site which was the perfect size (the finished house is about 16cm high, 11cm wide and 12cm long). The extended roof is very cute although it did make it extremely difficult to decorate the sides of the house. Using my gingerbread recipe, we had enough dough to make the house as well as about a dozen Christmas tree biscuits.

ChristmasI like to roll the dough on a piece of baking paper to avoid sticking to my kitchen work top and a piece of plastic wrap on the top (less cleaning and washing up!). We rolled the dough to a thickness of about 5mm. Keeping the plastic wrap on top, we laid the template pieces on top and used the back of a knife to lightly score around them. Taking away the plastic wrap, we then used a sharp knife and a small cutting board to cut out the pieces. We baked our pieces immediately which meant they did puff a little and the edges weren’t completely straight anymore. If you want your pieces to be as precise as possible, put them in the fridge for about 15 minutes and then trim away any bits that have expanded before baking.

Sticking the pieces together can be a bit tricky. You can stick them together with a stiff icing, but you often have to patiently hold the pieces together for quite some time while the icing sets. Some people also use melted sugar as it sets quickly, but it’s very very hot so not the safest option for children. We used melted white chocolate. I melted about 40g of it in the microwave in a small bowl then left it for a few minutes to cool and get tacky rather than runny. You can then spread it on with a knife similar to spreading cement on bricks!

We let the house ‘settle’ overnight so it was completely stable before we decorated it. Then we let Nicholas go to town! And I had fun making a snowman and Christmas tree.

ChristmasIf you’re munchkins are small, put the sweets in individual bowls beforehand so they can easily see and choose the sweets they want. We used small tubes of ready-made icing to stick the sweets on with; they’re easy for little hands to use on their own. Nicholas loved choosing each sweet, adding the “glue” and attaching, then got papà to hold them while the icing dried.

We admired our creation for a day, then demolished it! When I asked Nicholas what the best bit of making the gingerbread house was, he replied, ‘Eating it, mummy!’

What are your family Christmas traditions?

Cute Lunches: Rudolph

Nicholas is SO excited about Christmas and I’m loving it! He talks about Father Christmas making lots of toys with the elves in the North Pole and how we have to leave out some food for him. Apparently our Christmas tree and decorations are just for Father Christmas and the reindeer to see when they visit. And, naturally, Rudolph with his big red nose also features heavily, and so I had to make Nicholas this cute, and very simple, Rudolph snack.

Christmas reindeerRudolph is made from a peanut butter sandwich. I used a large round cookie cutter to cut out his face and then cut out two ears. His antlers are pretzels, his nose a piece of cherry tomato, and his eyes are raisins.

Why not get your little ones to make their own Rudolph?

Baked Tortilla Santa Crisps

Baked tortilla crisps or chips are a healthy and very easy snack to make, and something your little ones can help you make.

I was inspired to make these Christmas-themed crisps after seeing Grace’s snowflake tortilla crisps on Eats Amazing.

We added some tomato puree to make our Santas jollier, but they’re just as yummy without it. For adults you could add some red by sprinkling on some chili powder, paprika or cayenne pepper.

These would be great for Christmas parties as well as popping into lunchboxes. You can eat them on their own or use them to scoop up dip or salsa (we also like to dip them in soup!).

Christmas

BAKED TORTILLA SANTA CRISPS

Prep time: 5-10 mins
Cook time 5-7 mins

Tortilla wraps
Tomato puree

Preheat your oven to 200C.

Cut out shapes from the tortillas and lay them in a single layer on non-stick oven trays. Using the back of a teaspoon, smear on a little tomato puree for Santa’s hat and jacket.

Bake for 5-7 minutes (keeping a close watch after 5 minutes) until the edges are starting to brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and crisp up more.

ChristmasWhat Christmas shapes would your munchkins love to eat?

Cute Lunches: Christmas Tree Pizzette

We made some cute Christmas tree pizzette using my super quick cheat’s pizza recipe and they went down a treat. Leftovers would be perfect to add to a lunchbox.

mini cheat's pizzaCut out tree shapes from a tortilla (or even a slice of bread). We spread a little tomato puree then a sprinkle of grated cheese on top, then added torn spinach for leaves, grated carrot ‘tinsel’ and red cabbage ‘baubles’ (squares of cabbage that you can’t really see in the photo unfortunately).

While they were cooking I cut small stars from a slice of cheese. After they’ve cooked, let the pizzette cool down a bit before adding the cheese stars; I added them too soon and they melted so had to add some more!

What other food do you think would work well as decorations?

I’m linking up to Fun Food Friday, a weekly round-up of fun and creative food by the lovely Grace of Eats Amazing.

Eats-Amazing-Fun-Food-Friday

Gingerbread

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without gingerbread. Whether it’s gingerbread men, a gingerbread house or other gingerbread shapes, the mix of spices and the smell of it baking makes me feel all warm and Christmas-y!

Making gingerbread with your little ones is a wonderful activity to do (and not just at Christmas time). It’s easy to make, immense fun to make shapes out of and cooks quickly so you can start decorating sooner.

If you’re cooking with toddlers, you could make the dough yourself beforehand (the dough keeps in the fridge easily for a day) and get your munchkin involved from the ‘cutting out shapes’ stage. Older kids can help make the dough from scratch and while it’s chilling in the fridge, they can start choosing cookie cutters and think about how they’ll decorate them.

Gingerbread keeps wonderfully (in an airtight container) for a couple of weeks. It’s also a lovely present your kids can make and then give to friends and family. We’ve just finished decorating some Christmas trees to give to the staff at Nicholas’ preschool.

Gingerbread Christmas treesThis recipe has been the only one I’ve used to make gingerbread for the last few years. It’s slightly adapted from a Waitrose recipe. If I remember correctly, I just reduced the amount of bicarbonate of soda, as I really don’t like it when I can taste it in the finished product. There’s still enough of it though to puff up the gingerbread a little.

To make cleaning up easier, I like to roll the gingerbread on a piece of baking paper rather than on a floured surface, with a piece of plastic wrap on the top so the rolling pin stays clean too. This also means that your gingerbread won’t accidently stick to your work surface.

Christmas

GINGERBREAD

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 9 mins
Makes about 30 medium-sized biscuits

125g unsalted butter
100g dark muscovado sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
325g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 190C. Line at least two baking trays with baking paper.

Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir in the melted ingredients to make a stiff dough. Shape into a ball and refrigerate for 10 mins (if you’re not going to cook your gingerbread immediately, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge).

Roll out onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 3-5mm. Cut out shapes and place on your lined baking trays. Bake for 9 minutes until golden brown.

Leave on a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Tip: before measuring out your golden syrup, rub a drop of oil over the spoon; the syrup will easily slide off.

What sweets are your favourite for decorating gingerbread?