Cooking with Kids: Gingerbread Pancakes with Sauteed Apples and Quick Caramel Sauce

Serve up some cheeky, spicy Gingerbread Man Pancakes. Give them a few buttery apples slices to hug and drape them with sweet caramel syrup – it’s a holiday breakfast to enjoy all year round!

Gingerbread Pancakes with Sauteed Apples and Caramel Sauce

Gingerbread and spice and everything nice . . . oh, and pancakes. That’s what we want for Christmas.

Gingerbread Pancake men, that is.

a plate full of gingerbread pancakes

an army of gingerbread men and one smiling face

Cooking with Meredith

Look at this one! Gingerbread Pancakes, Off with his Head

Meredith and I cooked up a deeeeeelicious army of Gingerbread Pancakes for a treat this week. We served them with apple wedges sauteed in butter and cinnamon, creamy caramel sauce, and a few slices of crisp bacon. Mmm, lovely.

Making the gingerbread men shapes was a bit tricky in the beginning (but of course, somebody has to eat the duds!) It took a bit of practice to get the pancakes looking like people. The first few ended up as Gingerbread Aliens . . . but they got better. We practiced using a spouted cup to pour the batter into the pan and using a pastry bag.

Gingerbread Pancakes in the pan

Meredith got quite dexterous with the pastry bag after a bit. Not too many drips on the stove. I found it just as easy to use the spouted measuring cup.

Piping the Gingerbread Pancakes Beautiful Gingerbread Pancakes

The caramel sauce is easy peasy – just melt some caramels with cream and you have a luscious caramel syrup to drizzle over your little Gingerbread army. Those little beady gingerbread eyes and currant mouths drooled at the thought.

 a plate of yumminess. Breakfast for dinner

a plate of yumminess. breakfast for dinner

A handful of soft, buttery, cinnamon-kissed apple slices is a lovely counterpoint to the sweetness and spices of the pancakes and syrup.

Run, run, run, you Gingerbread Man, we’re gonna catch you and pop you in the pan!

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: To make these pancakes dairy-free, use a plant-based milk, omit the caramel sauce and serve the Gingerbread Pancakes with maple syrup warmed with a bit of cinnamon stirred in, and saute the apples in coconut oil instead of butter.

And of course, these pancakes can just be made in the traditional round shapes if you don’t want to fuss with gingerbread men. Serve them in a stack with the apple slices piled on top and the caramel sauce oozing down the sides for a delectable special holiday breakfast.

Gingerbread Pancakes with Luscious Caramel Sauce

Gingerbread Pancake Men with Sauteed Apples and Easy 2-Ingredient Caramel Sauce

options for gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free

for the pancakes

  • 1½ cups flour (or your favourite gluten free flour blend *see recipe below)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (click link for recipe)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten (or 1 chia egg * see recipe below)
  • 1¾ cups milk (or dairy-free plant milk of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses (cooking molasses or blackstrap molasses)
  • currants or chocolate chips for eyes and buttons on the gingerbread men

for the sautéed apples

  • 2 apples
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil, for dairy-free)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

for the easy caramel sauce

  • 24 wrapped caramels
  • ½ cup whipping cream or light cream (if using whipping cream you may need another 1 or 2 tablespoons to thin it out if the sauce gets too thick)

Make the caramel sauce first so it can cool:  If you use light cream the sauce will be a little thinner, but it thickens up as it cools. If you use whipping cream, the sauce will be thicker, you may need to thin it out a bit with another tablespoon or two of cream once it is cool.

Unwrap the caramels and place them in a glass measuring cup. Add the cream. Microwave on high for one minute, then stir. Microwave for another minute and stir again. The caramels should be about half melted. If they are still quite stiff, heat the sauce for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir the sauce until the caramels are almost totally melted, then stir them occasionally as they cool, until the sauce is smooth.

Or you can make the sauce on the stove – put the caramels and the cream into a small saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the caramels are almost totally melted, then remove the saucepan from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools, until it is smooth.

Make the sautéed apples: Cut the apples into quarters, then cut the core out of each quarter. Cut each quarter into 3 or 4 wedges. Heat the butter in a skillet until it is bubbling. Add the apple wedges and sprinkle them with the cinnamon. Cook the apples over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, but not mushy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set them aside once they are cooked.

Meredith unwrapping caramels for Gingerbread Pancakes and Caramel Syrup Meredith cracking eggs for Gingerbread Pancakes

Make the pancakes: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk the egg (or the chia egg) with the milk. Add the oil, then the molasses (if you measure the oil in the tablespoon first, the molasses will slide easily out of the spoon). Whisk until it is all combined.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk or stir until almost smooth. There will still be a few small lumps – that’s okay.

Heat a skillet (non-stick works best) on medium heat. Spray it with cooking oil spray or coat it with a little bit of oil. Pour some of the batter into a spouted measuring cup or fill a piping bag with a ¼ inch round nozzle. It’s easiest to fill the piping bag if you set it, tip down, in a tall glass. Then have a bowl ready so you can set it in there between uses, with the tip bent upwards.

Piping bag with Gingerbread Pancake batter

Pipe or pour the batter into the hot skillet in the shape of a gingerbread man. It’ll take a bit of practice, and the first few might look more like gingerbread ‘aliens’, but once you get the hang of it they’ll start to look better. Young children might just want to make round pancakes and add currants for eyes and mouth.

Place currants or chocolate chips gently on top of the batter to make eyes, or buttons, etc.

Flip the pancakes carefully once bubbles start to appear in the uncooked batter on top.

Makes about 12 gingerbread men pancakes (5 or 6 inches tall). Serve with a few wedges of sauteed apples and a drizzle of Caramel Sauce.

Gingerbread Man Pancake with Sauce

Guten Appetit!

 

*Homemade Gluten-Free Flour Mix

  • 1¾ cups (200gms) white rice flour
  • 1 cup (170gms) sweet rice flour (also called Mochiko, or glutinous/sticky rice flour)
  • 1 cup (120gms) tapioca starch/flour
  • ¾ cup (105gms) brown rice flour
  • ½ cup (70gms) sweet white sorghum flour
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Stir all ingredients together very well, or place in a sealed container and shake vigourously until combined. Makes 5 cups gluten free flour.

*Chia Egg (Egg Substitute)

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Grind the chia seeds in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or high speed blender. I like to grind about a half cup at a time and keep them in a sealed jar for future use.

Stir the ground chia seeds into the water in a small bowl. Let set for at least 5 minutes until the seeds are gelled. Add the ¼ teaspoon baking powder to the dry ingredients along with the other baking powder called for in the recipe.

 

See lots of other fun ‘Cooking With Kids’ posts here.

You might also like:

High Protein Pancakes

Pancakes, the Thick Fluffy Kind

Cooking with Kids: Waffles with Chicken and Shredded Carrot Salad

Rollpfannkuchen is just Another Name for Crepes

Confetti Crepes with Chocolate Lentil Creme, Hazelnuts, and Fresh Pears

 

Posted in Cooking with Kids, Pancakes, Crepes & Fritters | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

All-Dressed Popcorn Party Mix

Popcorn Party Mix is all dressed for the holidays – nobody can resist munching handfuls of this favourite snack.

Mmmm, All Dressed Popcorn Party Mix

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-laaaaah!

The Christmas spirit has finally hit me, little signs of the coming festivities are starting to peek out of corners . . .

Nutcracker wants some Popcorn Party Mix too Santa wants some popcorn party mix

Maybe it’s the beautiful soft snowfalls we’ve been having, smoothing everything over with a marshmallowy blanket of white . . . maybe it’s that our tree is up and decorated, glowing in multi-coloured jewels . . . or maybe it’s that I finally got out of my funk. I’m getting that giddy feeling inside, anticipating the wonder and coziness of family all together again for the holidays.

Wintry white world

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas Sun in the trees

There will be much merriment and many gatherings of friends and family.

So, snacks will be needed. Lots of them.

grab a handful of popcorn party mix

Here’s my version of that traditional old favourite. It disappears from the bowl by the handful –  who can resist this crunchy, spicy, savoury party mix? And this one’s ‘all dressed’ for company with popcorn and all the trimmings; a little bit of salt ‘n vinegar, a little bit of barbecue, and a little bit of garlic and onion (plus it’s a little lighter on the butter – so you can eat more :) ).

Betcha can’t eat just one little handful!

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Use 8 cups of any kind of waffle-weave breakfast cereal, or substitute in a few cups of other bite-sized cereals like Cheerios or Corn Bran Squares or small crackers, like those little fish-shaped crackers. (Just be aware that your mix will no longer be gluten free.)

If you don’t have a large metal roasting pan, you can use a large foil roasting pan, or stir up the party mix in a large bowl and bake it in two 9 x 13 inch pans.

*The chili powder called for in the recipe is the premixed spice blend for making chili, not ground dried chili peppers.

bowls of Popcorn Party Mix

All-Dressed Popcorn Party Mix

  • 8 cups (2 litres) waffle-weave-squares breakfast cereal – like Chex brand (use gluten-free rice Chex for gluten-free version)
  • 8 cups (2 litres) popped popcorn
  • 3 cups (750 ml) mini pretzels or pretzel sticks (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 cups (500ml) roasted peanuts or mixed nuts of choice
  • ½ cup (120ml) melted butter (or coconut oil for dairy-free)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, regular or smoked
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder* (or 1 additional teaspoon regular sweet paprika)
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 275°F.

Combine the cereal, popcorn, pretzels, and nuts in a large roasting pan.

In a 2-cup spouted measuring or a bowl, whisk together the melted butter with the remaining ingredients.

Drizzle the spicy dressing evenly over the popcorn mixture, then use two spatulas to toss it well until everything is coated evenly.

Bake for one hour, stirring the mix with a silicone spatula every 15 minutes. Check the popcorn kernels. If they are crunchy, it’s done; if they’re not quite crunchy enough, bake the mix for another 10 minutes.

Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Makes 21 cups.

Guten Appetit!

You might also like:

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Kale Chips

Seedy Savoury Croutons (a Simple Snack or Crunchy Garnish)

Bacon Bundles – Delectable Little Appetizers

All Dressed Popcorn Party Mix - ready for snacking

 

Posted in Snacks | 4 Comments

Hello Dolly Squares (Slightly Healthier)

You don’t even need to dirty a bowl to make these rich, fudgey, delectable Hello Dolly Squares. Just layer everything in the pan and bake! They are fantastic!

a stack of chewy sweet Hello Dolly Squares

I’m having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I’m not sure what it is. The wreath is hung and I have our German Christmas pyramid (Wiehnachtspyramide) on the kitchen table, but that is about it. The rest of the decorations are sitting in their trunks and boxes downstairs.

German Christmas Pyramid or Candle Carousel

the heat from the candles makes the nativity scene revolve

Maybe it’s the unseasonably warm fall we’ve had up until this last snowfall. Maybe it’s laziness. Maybe it’s this empty nest feeling I’ve been having trouble dealing with for the last few months since Andreas headed off to the big wide world of university and residence life. I haven’t even been able to talk about it until now. I never thought it would hit me so hard. I had so many plans for all the spare time I’d have, and instead I find myself wallowing with a big lump in my throat. Is this normal? Do all mothers go through this? Or am I just a big baby?

I should be happy, should be jumping for joy that there aren’t backpacks and sport shoes and dirty socks piled right in front of the back door all the time, right?

I should be reveling in the fact that I can go to sleep at night and not have to worry about what time someone will creep up the stairs after partying too long, right?

I should be enjoying the quiet evenings with no one making disgusting body sounds (and smells) and singing loudly off key to mar the peacefulness.

I should be relieved that there’s not always someone poking into the cooking pots, snitching food off my chopping board, placing the empty milk carton back in the fridge, and constantly asking what’s for dinner, right?

Well, I’m not.

I’m missing it all.

I’m feeling really out of sorts.

And when I feel out of sorts, I need to be in the kitchen. It’s the one place where I can lose myself, and get out of my head. It’s where hours can go by, and I realize I haven’t thought (too much) about what’s worrying me. Chopping and stirring, mixing and mashing and slicing, and even washing up, are therapy for me. The rhythms are soothing, and making belly-filling comfort food to nourish others is fulfilling, decreasing that void just a tiny little bit.

Only one bite left of Hello Dolly Squares

So, I have been baking and cooking. I’ve made a batch of my Gumdrop Christmas Cake, and I’ve made One Cup Cookies (good for university care packages). I’ve made cakes, and Pumpkin Pies, and Harlequin Cookies, and Coco-Lassies, and Pumpkin Freezer Fudge. I’ve cooked stews and sauces, and developed lots of new recipes. I’ve had failures and successes, and the months have slowly crept by. The nest is still empty, but maybe I’m getting a little bit more used to it – some of the time.

I’ve cooked long complicated dishes, and I’ve played around with revamping old favourites. The recipe for these squares come out of the notebook in which I handwrote all those favourites from home when I first moved away to university (now I know what my mom felt like – so sorry, Mom, I never even realized).

Have a Healthier Hello Dolly Square

They are labelled ‘Hello Dolly Squares’ in my neat block writing (teacher script, I know). I have no idea why they were called that, but they were all the rage in our little farming community when I was a teenager. Farm woman passed on the recipe to farm woman. Out of curiosity, I googled them, and lo-and-behold, they are an actual thing. There are tons of recipes out there for ‘Hello Dolly Squares’, all containing basically the same ingredients in slightly varying proportions. I remember them so fondly.

But I do also remember that they were very sweet. So in the interests of health and good taste, I’ve toned down the recipe to have less sugar and more fiber.

Yes, I know, they’re not exactly health food, but they are slightly healthier than the original recipe. If you’re going to have a treat, it might as well taste fantastic, have a few redeeming qualities, and – in this case – be stupidly easy to make.

Yes, stupidly easy. You don’t even need a bowl.

You will dirty exactly:

  • one baking pan
  • one spatula
  • one measuring cup

And it will take you all of two minutes to throw all the ingredients together. A half hour later you will pull a pan of these decadent, delicous, gooey, chewy, chocolaty, coconutty, kind-of-caramelly squares from the oven. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool so you can slice them.

Mmmmmm. Hello Dolly Squares

Keep the ingredients handy in your pantry and you can whip these up as unexpected guests pull into the driveway. By the time you’ve said hello, taken their coats, and handed them a drink, the squares will be ready to pull out of the oven.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Quick oats really work best here. Old-fashioned large flake oats are too big, instant oats are too little, but quick oats are juuuuuuust right (as Goldilocks would say).

Use unsweetened long thread coconut (I buy mine at Costco), but if you can only find smaller flake, shredded, unsweetened coconut, use it rather than sweetened coconut to keep the sugar to a minimum.

a stack of healthier Hello Dolly Squares

(Healthier) Hello Dolly Squares

gluten free, egg free

  • ½ cup (115gms) butter
  • 2 cups (200gms) quick-cooking rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds, whole or ground (optional)
  • 1 cup (170gms) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups (110gms) unsweetened long-thread flaked coconut
  • 1 cup (100gms) chopped walnuts
  • 1 can (300ml/14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Put the butter into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Place the pan in the oven and turn the oven on to preheat to 325°F.

While the butter is melting in the preheating oven, get the rest of the ingredients out and ready.

When the butter has melted (about 5 minutes), remove the pan from the oven and add the rolled oats directly to the pan. Sprinkle on the chia seeds (if using). Toss and stir with a silicone spatula until all the oats are moistened with the butter. Spread them out evenly and press them down firmly with the spatula to form a crust on the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the oatmeal, trying not to disturb the crust.

Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the chocolate chips.

Sprinkle the nuts evenly over the coconut.

Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over everything, distributing it as evenly as possible. It won’t cover everything completely, but that’s okay.

Pop into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the squares as soon as they come out of the oven (they will harden and be really hard to remove later if you don’t do this step).

Let cool completely in the pan, then cut into squares.

Makes 24 squares.

Guten Appetit!

So many Hello Dolly Squares

You might also like:

Coco-Lassies (No-Bake Salted Coconut Molasses Bars)

Choco-Crisps

Gingerbread Rice Krispie Squares with Cinnamon Ganache

Homemade Granola Bars with all Kinds of Variations

Pumpkin Freezer Fudge

Posted in Cakes, Chocolate, Cookies & Candy | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Cooking with Kids: Number One Chili (Super Easy Chili Recipe)

This delicious, super easy chili recipe is a cinch to remember – it’s just ONE of everything!

Bowl of Number One Chili

Cooking with Meredith

Do you wanna know a secret?

It’s the secret recipe for this chili!  (Shhhhh . . . hint . . . just remember the number one.)

It’s an easy chili to make.

It’s tummy-rubbing yummy and kid-approved!

Meredith with bowl of easy Number One Chili - easiest chili recipe to remember

But it’s so good, adults love it, too. It’s our family favourite and it’s THE EASIEST CHILI RECIPE EVER.

This super easy, Number One Chili is deliciously zesty and full of flavour, but not too spicy for kids’ palates. You can pass the hot sauce at the table if anyone wants to amp up the heat.

It’s wonderful just as it is, or served over cooked rice. But it’s even more fun to eat if you pile on some toppings. I like a dollop of sour cream, some chopped red onions, diced avocado, and fresh cilantro. Meredith chose just shredded cheese and cilantro, and polished off the whole lip-smacking bowl.

Cooking with Kids: Easiest Chili Ever

Another secret that Meredith and I will share with you (again, shhhh, don’t tell): when you cook a recipe with tomato sauce, just a little pinch of sugar enhances the natural sweetness of tomatoes. If you could use sweet, deep-red, sun-ripened tomatoes straight from the garden, you wouldn’t need to add any sugar since the tomatoes would have lots of natural sugars in them, but when using canned or store-bought tomatoes, a bit of sugar brings out the flavours. You could use coconut sugar or honey instead, if you wish. It’ll be our cook’s secret.

(Trick for remembering the recipe without looking: there’s 1 pound of meat and 1 tablespoon oil, 3 cans of things, 4 fresh veggies, and 5 spices or flavourings.)

So if you want a great basic chili recipe, here it is. Enjoy.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: You can use any other kind of ground meat in this recipe, like ground bison or ground turkey.

Any type of canned beans can be substituted, like black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, or small white beans. Or, instead of canned beans, you can use 2 cups of cooked beans.

Instead of fresh garlic, you can use ½ teaspoon garlic powder.

Instead of canned diced tomatoes, you can use 2 cups of packed, diced fresh tomatoes.

Instead of canned tomato sauce, you can use homemade tomato sauce, or use 1 small can of tomato paste and about 1¼ cups of water.

The chili powder used in this recipe is the mild spice mix available in most grocery stores that is made for cooking chili dishes  (not the pure ground chili peppers – that would be wayyyy too spicy!). The no-name brand of chili powder we used contains chili pepper, cumin, coriander, salt, oregano, dehydrated garlic, and cloves. Use whatever brand is your favourite.

Cooking with Kids: Pot of Easiest Chili Ever

 

Number One Chili ( Very Easy Chili Recipe)

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb. (454gms) lean ground beef
  • 1 can (400ml/14 oz) red kidney beans (or any other beans)
  • 1 can (400ml/14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (400ml/14 oz) tomato sauce

 

Simple ingredients for Easiest Chili Ever

Before you start, prepare your vegetables: Peel the onion. Cut it in half lengthwise, then make cuts lengthwise into each half, about ¼ inch (.5cm) apart, but not quite through to the root end. Hold the slices firmly together and slice it crosswise to dice the onion.

Dicing up the onion for Easiest Chili Ever

Wash the carrot and celery and trim off the ends. No need to peel the carrot. Cut the carrot in half, then cut each half into quarters lengthwise. Slice the long pieces across to dice the carrot into small pieces.

Cutting Carrots for the Easiest Chili Ever

Hold the carrots on both sides and cut in the middle to keep your fingers safe

Cut the celery into 3 or 4 long strips, then cut the strips crosswise into diced pieces. Peel the garlic and mince it (chop it into tiny pieces).

Mince the garlic

Open all the cans with a can opener. (Don’t drain the beans or tomatoes.)

In a heavy bottomed small dutch oven, a large saucepan, or a deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring it often, until the onion pieces look kind of clear.

Add the minced garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, sugar, and salt, and stir until the vegetables are all coated with the spices. Cook the spiced vegetables for one more minute, stirring constantly. This helps bring out the flavour in the spices.

Add the ground meat and cook it until all the meat crumbles have turned brown and are no longer pink. Use a wooden spoon to stir and break up the large chunks as the meat cooks.

Browning the meat for Easiest Chili Ever

this meat still needs to cook a bit more until all the pink is gone

Add the contents of the three cans, including the liquid from the canned beans. Use a rubber spatula to scrape all the juices from the cans into the pot of chili.

Adding Tomato Sauce to Easiest Chili Ever

Cook the chili until you see big bubbles coming to the surface, then turn the heat to low, and cook the chili, uncovered, for about 30 minutes (½ hour), stirring it occasionally. Adjust the heat as it cooks so there are just small bubbles coming to the surface.

Simmer and Stir the Easiest Chili Ever

If the chili is too runny, cook it a little bit longer. If it’s too thick, add a little bit of water.

Serve the chili in bowls or over cooked rice. Set out little bowls of different toppings for people to sprinkle on top. Serve whichever ones of these you’d like:

  • a bottle of hot sauce, for anyone who likes their chili spicier
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream or yogurt
  • diced avocado
  • chopped red onion or sliced green onions
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • crumbled corn chips

Makes about 6 cups (1.5litres) of chili, serving 4 to 6 people (depending on their appetites).

Wasn’t that the most easy chili recipe ever?

Guten Appetit!

 

To peek at some of the other fun things Meredith and I have been stirring up, check out our ‘Cooking with Kids’ page.

You might also like:

Dinner in 10 Minutes – Creamy Pasta with Garlic, Asparagus, and Beef

Cooking with Kids: Sweet Potato Nachos

Shipwreck Casserole

Cooking with Kids: Porcupine Meatballs (and a REAL Porcupine)

Posted in Cooking with Kids, Meats, One-Dish Meals | 4 Comments

Cooking with Kids: Homemade Sprinkles and a Birthday Party

It’s easy to make funky little homemade sprinkles to brighten up a bowl of ice cream or birthday cakes, doughnuts, cookies – whatever needs a hit of flavour, colour, and crunch.

Sprinkles, little round ones Homemade Sprinkles, Pink Long

Cooking with Meredith

It was birthday party time – Meredith’s to be exact. She turned nine last week. What fun for me to get invited to her party. Twelve happy girls having a blast!

A bouquet of balloons birthday cake candle blowing

They bounced like jumping beans in the bouncy castle, crafted little chef ornaments out of wooden spoons, decorated their own chef’s aprons, piled their plates high at the taco bar, and dithered happily over choices at the cake and sundae bar, but the highlight of the evening was the uproarious game of Musical Chairs – good old-fashioned musical chairs. The girls wanted to play again and again, shrieking and laughing with joy as they scrambled for chairs whenever the music stopped. It’s obviously a game that has stood the test of time, as I remember playing Musical Chairs at my own birthday parties when I was that age!

It takes time to pipe all those homemade sprinkles.

The week before Meredith’s birthday, she and I had a great cooking session making sprinkles for her party. We decided on little button ones, which are fairly labour intensive, but a lot of fun to make. Our project grew bigger than we’d planned as we kept deciding to make just one more colour. We decided to make the long pink sprinkles, too.

Homemade Sprinkles, Pink Jimmies

The homemade sprinkles were a party hit at the Cake and Ice Cream Sundae Bar for dessert. The girls piled the sprinkles onto their ice cream bowls and gobbled them up.

a bowl of kid fun - drown the ice cream with chocolate syrup, mound on the whipped cream, then shower with colourful homemade sprinkles

a bowl of kid fun – drown the ice cream with chocolate syrup, mound on the whipped cream, then shower with colourful homemade sprinkles

Meredith chose the colours we used, and we tried matching the flavourings to the colours – orange extract for the orange sprinkles, lemon extract for the yellow sprinkles, and raspberry for the blue sprinkles (I know, but close, eh?), we used chocolate flavouring for the pink sprinkles. You could also just use vanilla or almond extract, if that’s all you have.

Homemade Sprinkles, long pretty pink ones Homemade Sprinkles, Pretty Yellow Beads
The citrus extracts actually add lovely little bursts of flavour when you use these sprinkles to top ice cream, cakes, or cupcakes.

Homemade Sprinkles are pretty on cupcakes

pink sprinkles can dress up cupcakes for a party

* * * * *

 

Kitchen Frau Notes: This homemade sprinkles recipe is basically a plain icing with a bit of flavouring and a tablespoon of syrup to keep it supple and not form a crust too quickly as it dries. You can drop the icing into little beads, or make long strands which you chop into short pieces to make ‘jimmies’. The beads are more time consuming but look lovely. The longer jimmies are quicker to make and look more traditional. It’s great to have some of both on hand. I think they’d keep for a long time in the cupboard. We made the pink ones with water instead of milk, so I think they should last almost forever!

I found a lot of different ways to make sprinkles online, but finally settled on a version of this recipe from Snixy Kitchen and played with it a bit. I found that the beads were easier to make when the icing was a bit runnier, and Meredith and I liked it with a bit more flavouring – the sprinkles are good enough to eat straight from the bag!

Homemade Sprinkles, Orange, Blue and Yellow Beads

Homemade Sprinkles

adapted slightly from Snixy Kitchen

  • 1 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar/confectioner’s sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon milk, water, or non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon golden cane syrup (we used Roger’s Syrup) or corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon flavouring, whatever flavour fits to the colour of the sprinkles
  • paste or liquid food colouring

Mix the icing sugar, milk, syrup and flavouring in a small bowl. Stir until all the lumps are worked out and the icing is smooth. You want a fairly runny icing, kind of like a pudding consistency. Add a drop more water if too thick, or a spoonful more icing sugar if too thin.

homemade sprinkles, making the icing

Add the colouring: if using liquid food colouring, add one drop at a time and stir after each addition. If using paste colouring, use a toothpick or skewer and add about a rice-grain-sized dab at a time, stirring after each addition. Use a new toothpick or clean skewer each time you dip into the container (it can go ‘bad’ if contaminated). Keep in mind that the colour of the sprinkles lightens as they dry, so tint them a deeper shade than you think.

Scrape the icing into a zip-top sandwich baggie (snack-sized works best). This is easiest to do with two people – one to hold open the baggie, and one to scrape in the icing. You can also use a piping bag with a small round-holed tip.

Line baking sheets with wax paper or parchment paper, or lay  the paper pieces  directly on the countertop.

Snip a teeny tiny corner off the baggie, and holding it straight above the paper, pipe rows of tiny dots, or long stripes.

a big batch of homemade sprinkles

Leave  the sprinkles on the counter to air dry for 24 hours. If you need to move the sheets of parchment paper, slide a rimless cookie sheet or a piece of cardboard under the paper to lift it and set it elsewhere. When dry, you can just pop the sprinkle beads off the paper. If you’ve piped lines, pop them off the paper and bunch them gently together. Slide a cutting board under the paper, and cut the bundles of strips into short pieces with a sharp knife.

Homemade sprinkles, easy pink jimmies Homemade Sprinkles, Cutting up Pink Jimmies

Store the homemade sprinkles in airtight containers.

Homemade Sprinkles in baggies

we collected all the irregular blobs and bits and combined them for a batch of ‘misbits’

Makes ½ to ¾ cup of sprinkles, depending on the shapes you make.

Guten Appetit!

 

See what else we’ve been having fun with in our ‘Cooking with Kids’ section!

 

You might also like:

Homemade Honey Vanilla Ice Cream (would be yummy with sprinkles on top!)

Homemade Raspberry Marshmallows (easy no-thermometer recipe)

Cooking with Kids: Homemade Gluten Free Playdough

Easy Homemade Ice Cream Cake

Homemade Sprinkles, licking off the icing

if you get icing on your arm, you don’t want to waste the taste!

Posted in Cooking with Kids, Miscellaneous | 2 Comments