Treats

More desserts for kids

Hello everyone, just wanted to share some new ideas on great desserts.

My mother always cooks the most fabulous desserts for my kids’ birthday. I have twins: a boy and a girl, so my mother has to prepare something extra special for the both of them in the same day, which is a pleasure – she says. Personally I would never be capable of so much creativity, as she finds a new cake to bake every year, though she also repeats some of my kids’ favorite recipes, such as cake pops, which they adore beyond words, especially if topped with coconut flakes.

void 3Not all kids have similar tastes, but I’d like to give you one example of what my mom cooks for my kids at times and that they particularly like. The cranberry oat bars is a dessert that needs only few ingredients, it is tasty and it reminds me of my childhood, because my mom used to bake them for me as well. For these you need, of course, cranberries, finely grated lemon zest (approximately 2 teaspoons), 2 cups rolled oats,  orange marmalade, ½ cup of sugar, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup light brown sugar, baking powder, salt and 10 tablespoons unsalted butter.

void 4Mix the cranberries, sugar, marmalade and zest in a pan, add 2 tablespoons water and bring to a boil, whisking constantly while crushing the berries. You can add fresh or frozen berries, but I prefer them fresh. You cook the mixture for a maximum of 8 to 10 minutes, while stirring continuously so that it doesn’t scorch. Once finished, put it in another recipient and let it cool, then put it in the fridge for minimum 2 hours.

In the meantime, in another bowl, mix together flour, the rolled oats, brown sugar, butter (in small pieces) and lemon until they are perfectly blended. In a pan, spread half of the oats mixture. Spread the cranberries mixture evenly on its surface and top it with the other half of the oats composition.

To bake it, you need a baking pan, lined with baking foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Preheat the oven before inserting the pan at 350 degrees and then let it bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges acquire a light brown nuance. Take it out and wait for it to cool completely. Then cut it in small pieces and serve it.

As I said, this one is an old recipe that she made for me when I was a kid as well, though I loved more the unhealthy ice cream I bought on the street, a thing with which she disagreed and she scolded me for each and every time. Luckily, my kids have different tastes. I hope yours will enjoy it as much as they do!

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Treats

A nice treat for your kids

Hello, dears! Remember how, when you were little, you always loved the candy and treats your grandma used to prepare just for you? Well, as I told you before, I like to welcome my grandchildren with homemade goodies for the joy of their young little hearts. I usually try confectionery that is familiar to them and that has a cool, inviting look, but lately I have been thinking about my own childhood and the things I loved to treat myself to back then. It’s strange how the simple things can hold such a grip on someone’s memories, isn’t it?

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I really loved cotton candy when I was small, and I remember my own grandparents always showing up on our doorstep with huge, fluffy, white or pink cocoons on a stick when it was time to celebrate something or someone. Now, my grandchildren must have eaten cotton candy at some point, because when I first told them I had bought a cotton candy machine, they weren’t all that surprised. But once they came to my house and I showed them how it works, they are just floored with the machinery and the delicious result.

 

I’m pretty excited myself since this is just so easy to use. All you have to do is assemble the machine, which is extremely simple, for it doesn’t have many parts, and then off you go buying sugar or hard candy in whichever flavor you want. You can even try different combinations of flavors. After you’ve heated the machine – by letting it run for about five minutes – you turn it off, and insert the candy in the middle. Turn it on again and start spinning the stick or tubes as soon as you see the little strings of cotton appearing. You also have to move the stick around the bowl as you spin it, in order to make sure you get all of the cotton. I can usually tell from the sound when the candy is about to run out.

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What’s really great about it is that you can stick to small individual portions or you can make one big serving. Also, I have a lot of fun mixing different colored layers or using the cotton candy for more complex desserts. If you’ve never had the chance to try it before, it goes wonderfully with ice cream and topping, and the kids really love it.

 

It is very simple to clean using a damp cloth or even by washing the parts, and because it has such a small and delicate construction, you can store it easily. I am very happy I came up with the idea of buying this thing, and I’m looking forward to trying out the next fun combination when my grandkids come by next time. Of course, you could also try making cotton candy without a machine by using these tips.

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Treats

How to make great pancakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes? I mean really, it’s quite impossible to not adore them because they can be filled with basically anything (edible, of course) and they are ready fast. I could basically eat pancakes all day long, if I wasn’t aware that my body needs other foods too. However, I still make time to cook them 2 or 3 times a week. Generally, you can choose between the classic crepe, that is unleavened and the American pancake for which you need a leavening agent such as baking powder to obtain a fluffy and tasty round-shaped cake. Anyhow, the two words are used interchangeably nowadays. The word crepe comes from French and makes reference to the surface of the pancake that looks a bit like a piece of lace.

pancakes crepes

What is so great about crepes is that anybody can make them. The batter is easily prepared and generally includes wheat flour, butter, milk, sugar and eggs. Once the batter is ready, you can choose between the various recipes you find online. One of my all-time favorite recipes is maple syrup pancakes. These are easy to make. You prepare the batter with all-purpose flour, milk, 1 teaspoon baking powder (but that depends on the quantity of the other ingredients, just check the verso of the package for the recommended quantities), 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and more maple syrup to coat the pancakes once they’re ready.

crepe maker1In a bowl, you mix all the ingredients until they form a whole, then you fry them and add as much maple syrup as you want on top of them when they’re ready. This is a simple and tasty recipe, ideal for family breakfasts. If you’re not a morning person, you can prepare the batter in the evening, put it in the fridge and leave it there overnight. Everything you need to do in the morning is stir it a bit before you start preparing the pancakes. However, I don’t prepare crepes in a classic pan or griddle, but I use a crepe maker. You have surely seen one. It has a large cooking platform on which you spread the crepe, then you flip it to fry it on both sides, after which the crepe is ready to be served. I first laid my eyes on one at a fair where you could buy freshly made crepes and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I had to buy one for myself.

Using a crepe maker helps you eliminate many problems that you would have to deal with if you were using another cooking utensil to make pancakes. Firstly, they are fitted with nonstick surfaces, which are essential if you want your crepes not to have holes in them and also help with cleaning the machine once you’re done, because there are no leftovers to scrap off it. Secondly, a crepe maker lets you know when its surface is at the optimal temperature to spread the batter on it, which is essential to obtain the perfect crepe, that will not only taste wonderful, but will also have the right consistency.

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Treats

The Best Desserts My Grandkids Love

Since I have been cooking for my four grandchildren, my recipe book really suffered some great transformations. Now I am very knowledgeable of all kinds of sweet things kids enjoy these days and I especially find cake pops fun to make. Because they are four and I am just one, and I must make sure to cater to all their preferences, I never go with a single style of cake pop. I know who likes which kind of cake pop, so I am prepared with all the ingredients when I hear they come visiting. I want to share with you some easy cake pop recipes you can make at home, too.

I know that everyone knows some basic cake pop recipe. So I will not bore you to the death with details on how to make the mix and so on, especially since you can use ready made solutions, marshmallows, chocolate chips and so on. What I want to share with you are some ideas that will really make cake pops appeal even more to kids.

Spring ready cake pops

Candy corn is a great ingredient for decorating cake pops when you want to go for something season themed. I use pastel colors when I choose candy corn, and I use my imagination for decorating the sweets I will be serving the kids and my relatives. I must say that even adults love them.

Game themed cake pops

Since kids love playing videogames, I thought about offering them something that is as close to home as possible. My older grandson is passionate about a game called Minecraft where players use blocks to build various things. I had to watch some YouTube videos to learn what was all about, and then an idea struck: to make cake pops in the shape of the building blocks they use in the game.

cake pops

I used a silicone mold with squares to make the basic shape for the cake pops. I poured the mixture into the mold and baked it as usual. The decorating part was a bit more challenging, but I am proud to say that I did quite a good job. I prefer to dip the cake pops in chocolate but you can try other recipes, too. I decorated the cake pops with some creeper faces I saw in the YouTube videos. Who knew cake pops and retro games could go hand in hand? There are many other cake pop recipes I make for my kids, and the biggest thing is that they really enjoy them!

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