Three fun food projects for kids
Sometimes crayons just don’t cut it. If you’re looking for an entertaining and tasty way to while away a couple hours with the kids, give one of the following edible crafts a go. Simple, fun, and yummy, these projects can be done at the kitchen counter with things already in your pantry and will keep those little hands busy for hours.
Thumbprint Cookies by Rebecca Kanthor
Put your own unique mark on each of these tiny, vegan-friendly cookies, perfect for a doll’s tea party.
Ingredients (makes nine cookies)
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• 1tbsp white granulated sugar, plus more for coating
• 2tbsp margarine
• ¼ tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp water
• Your favorite kind of jam
|1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit/190 degrees Celsius. Mix together all ingredients except the jam, until all the flour is mixed into the dough.
2. Roll the dough between your hands to form nine small balls. Pour some sugar on a flat surface and roll the balls gently over it until coated. Place the balls on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving some space between them.
|3. Press your thumb into the middle of each ball to make a thumbprint.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, and then remove from oven. When the cookies are cool, fill each thumbprint with jam.
Older kids and parents can show off their skills with these playful vegetable creations.
Throw these fanciful vegetables into any dish for a fun dose of vitamins. First cut your carrot (or broccoli stem, turnip, or any other hard vegetable) into a rectangle. Make dents along the edges with a sharp knife. Slice the vegetable cross-sectionally into disc-like shapes.
First cut the watermelon radish 心里美(xīnlǐměi) into a simple triangular block. More advanced chefs can give one edge of the triangle a curve (so that it resembles half of a heart). To give the butterfly an even prettier wing, cut dents along the curve.
Next, slice the radish without detaching it from the radish block. Slice it again (fully through), behind the first cut, so that it breaks away. A pair of wings should form. Make two cuts as shown left. Finally, open up the wings to see the finished butterfly.
For a radish flower, thoroughly scrub a cherry bell radish. Next, slice a grid on top of it. The more finely you slice, the prettier the flower will be. Dunk the finished radish into ice-cold water and leave it there for about half an hour, or until it “blossoms.”
For a carrot flower, cut a carrot (or other hard vegetable) into the shape of a short pencil. Next, peel each side of the carrot down towards the pointy tip, almost to the end. Use your knife to carefully separate the flower from the rest of the carrot.
Tian Qiuming is an extroverted shifu who’s traveled the world to promote Chinese cuisine. If he’s not busy participating in cross-country four-wheel drive rallies, he’s designing new dishes at the Sheraton’s Chinese restaurant called 21st Floor.
Bunnies in the Grass
Appease demands for pet rabbits with delightful dessert bunnies.
For the bunny
• ½ pear (canned pears or peeled fresh ones both work)
• 1 marshmallow
• 1 maraschino cherry
• 2 pink sprinkles
• 2 toothpicks
For the grass
• 1 cup desiccated coconut
• green food coloring
(Alternatively, substitute with a few leaves of finely chopped bibb lettuce.)
|1. Place the desiccated coconut into a ziplock bag, and add a couple drops of green food coloring. Seal the bag and shake until the coconut is evenly covered (adding more food coloring if necessary). Spread the coconut on a piece of wax paper or a dry countertop and leave to dry for approximately 15-20 minutes, then transfer it to a serving plate, leaving space in the center for the bunny.
2. Cut the maraschino cherry into quarters (or whatever shape resembles your ideal bunny’s nose).
|3. Cut the marshmallow in half and reserve one half for the bunny’s tail. Cut the other half into crescents to be used as the bunny’s ears.
4. Dab the pear dry with a kitchen towel and place it in the center of the coconut grass. Place the bunny tail on the fat end of the pear. Then use toothpicks to secure the bunny ears on either side of the other end of the pear (we used one toothpick broken in half). To give your bunny its nose and eyes, add the maraschino cherry and the pink sprinkles.
This recipe comes to us from Pat Brown, a grandma from the US. When she’s not thinking up fun food creations for kids, Pat’s teaching Western cooking to aspiring Chinese bakers. She makes a mean chocolate cake.