This is a fun project to make with kids; gingerbread-spiced rice krispie trees, shaped in a paper cone and decorated for the holidays.
Cooking with Meredith
Oh, 'tis the season - fa la la la la . . . la la la la.
We've caught the Christmas spirit around here.
Meredith and I had a deck the halls and O Tannenbaum fest.
And our Tannenbaums were decked with sugar and icing and ribbons - cause it is the season.
This project used the Gingerbread Rice Krispie Squares I usually make, stuffed into a paper cone to shape them, then either left unadorned for a more natural, rustic look, or fully decorated with colourful squeeze-on icing for a bright and fun kid-friendly look.
Two great options.
One great (and easy) edible Christmas decoration.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: The recipe below makes one 12-inch (30 cm) tree plus a pile of small presents, or 1 large 14-inch (35cm) tree, or one middle-sized plus one small tree. For my grouping of three trees, I made two batches of the gingerbread rice krispie mix.
You can use purchased squeeze tubes of coloured icing to decorate the rice krispie trees, or make your own icing and put it in a plastic baggie, then cut a little snip off one corner to squeeze the icing out of.
Christmas Spiced Rice Krispie Tree
Paper cone shaping idea from: well nourished blog
Skills used: measuring, cooking & stirring, folding, decorating
- 5 cups (1200ml) crispy rice cereal, gluten-free if necessary
- 1 cup (90gms) quick-cooking oats (not instant)
- ½ cup (60gms) dried cranberries
- ¼ cup (115gms) butter, coconut oil, or margarine
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 6 cups, slightly heaped (250gms) mini marshmallows or 40 regular marshmallows
- a large sheet of stiff paper, or poster board, and tape
- parchment paper
- squeeze tubes of coloured icing to decorate, sprinkles, or sugar pearls, if desired
First, make a paper cone. Cut about a 16 inch (40cm) square out of stiff paper - we used poster board. Roll it into a cone and tape the seam well.
Cut a piece of parchment paper about the same size as your paper was. Roll it into a skinnier cone than the stiff paper one, and slip it inside the paper cone as a liner. It will unroll a bit, by itself, to fit the shape of the larger cone, and sits inside the paper cone without needing to be fastened.
If you want to make some rice krispie 'presents' to put around your tree, spray a small square plastic container with cooking oil spray or wipe it with butter, or use one half of a loaf pan. We used a 4½ inch square plastic food storage container.
In a large mixing bowl, measure the crispy rice, oats and cranberries. Set aside.
Measure or count out the marshmallows and set aside.
Put the butter or coconut oil into a heavy bottomed pot and melt it over medium heat. Add the spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the butter is bubbling, to get the spices to release their flavour.
Add the marshmallows and cook, stirring constantly, until the marshmallows are all melted and the mixture is smooth.
Pour the mixture quickly over the rice krispies in the bowl, tilting the pot and scraping everything out with a rubber spatula.
This works best with two people - one to hold the pot and the other to scrape it out.
Now work quickly before the mixture starts to harden. Using the spatula, stir and fold the marshmallow mixture into the rice krispies until everything is coated with the sticky goo.
Wipe the end of a thick wooden spoon handle with butter or spray it with cooking oil spray. Plop a small amount of the rice krispie mixture into the bottom of the lined paper cone you prepared. Then use the greased end of the wooden spoon to tamp the mixture lightly into the tip of the cone. Keep adding a large spoonful of mixture to the cone and then tamp it.
This part also works best with two people - one to plop spoonfuls of the mixture into the cone and the other to tamp it down.
Once you have enough mixture in the cone to make the size of tree you want, grease your fingers and smooth the last bit down to make the bottom of the tree level. If you want to make presents, save a few spoonfuls of the mixture to press into your square container or put it into a loaf pan and push it to evenly fill one half of the pan, about 1 inch deep.
Set the cone and container into the fridge to harden for at least one hour.
When hardened, pull the parchment paper liner out of the cone with the tree in it. You can use the cone again if you want to make another tree. (Just line it again with parchment paper.)
Stand the tree upright to see if it stands straight. If it is crooked, shave bits off the bottom with a sharp knife so that it stands straight.
If you made a container of rice krispie mixture for gifts, cut the square into 4 large gifts, or 9 smaller gifts.
Using the squeeze tube icing, decorate your tree and presents. For the green icing garland, I slowly turned the tree while Meredith applied the icing.
You can add a pine cone to the top, or a small plastic tree ball, or a pom pom. Stick it on with icing. We used a small gingerbread star cookie.
You can keep your beautiful tree to look at, or you can eat it!
See other ‘Cooking With Kids’ posts here.
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