FamilyFun's Treat of the Month
On the Lookout
Round up the kids for a scavenger-hunt hike, then celebrate all their finds with binocular cupcakes!
For each treat, use a serrated knife to cut ½ inch from the base of two mini wafer cones. Dip the top of each cone into melted chocolate, coating about 1 inch. Let excess drip off; let set on a parchment-lined pan. Snip a large marshmallow crosswise into thirds; discard the center portion. Place a piece inside each cone, sticky side down. Attach a Wonka Original Spree candy on each marshmallow with frosting. Press the two cones side by side into a frosted cupcake. Cut a vanilla wafer cookie in half for ears, and add a jelly bean for the nose. Use a red Fruit Loops for the mouth and more Fruit Loops as hair. Yum! By Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
Let’s leap into spring with this toad-ally awesome toast.
Smash the flesh of half an avocado onto a piece of toast and spread with a fork until completely covered. Layer cucumber and black olive slices for the eyes. Add a piece of shredded carrot for the mouth. Cut a green bell pepper into four parts, following its natural curves. Take one section, cut it in half, and trim into legs. Cut baby carrot rounds into feet. Now you’re ready to jump! By Cara Reed
Everyone can be Irish for a day with these cute cookies!
These treats are as good as gold! Use food coloring to tint vanilla frosting orange. Spread a thin layer of the orange frosting along the edges of a Milano cookie to make the beard. Cover with orange sprinkles. To make each hat, cut off the bottom of a green gumdrop (this will allow it to stick to the hat’s “brim”), then cut the gumdrop in half vertically and stick it onto a green fruit slice. Use frosting to attach the hat to the top of the cookie. Attach mini candy eyes with frosting and a chocolate sprinkle for the smile. Enjoy!
Go To Town!
Get ready to build and decorate this tiny (edible!) holiday village.
These sweet treats bring new meaning to coming home for the holidays: Cut a 10.75-oz. frozen pound cake (we used Sara Lee) into eight 1-inch slices. (Do this while the cake is frozen to avoid crumbs!) Use a butter knife to trim into simple house shapes. Warm up prepared vanilla icing, leaving it in its container, for 30 seconds in the microwave at 50 percent power, or until warmed through and smooth when stirred. Push a dinner fork into the bottom of each house, then submerge the house in the frosting, leaving just the bottom uncoated. Keep the houses on the forks while the frosting sets (the curve of the tines keeps them suspended). Then let the kids decorate them using little dabs of icing to attach pieces of Airheads, candy strips, sprinkles, and more to bring extra cheer to these adorable houses.
This turkey treat is almost too cute to eat.
First, make the “feathers” by dipping mini pretzels in melted yellow, orange, and red candy melts. (Add a tablespoon or two of vegetable shortening to smooth out the candy if it’s hard to dip.) Let them set on a parchment-lined pan in the fridge. To assemble, cover vanilla cupcakes with peanut butter frosting (our quickie version: ½ cup peanut butter mixed into a jar of vanilla frosting), then add a plain donut-hole head. Cut a piece of Twizzlers Pull ’n’ Peel licorice for the “snood.” Use small dabs of frosting to attach candy eyes, snood, and a candy-coated sunflower seed beak. Push the pretzels in back of the head to form the feathers.
A Is for Apple
Kids will get some serious extra credit with their new classmates when they show up with this first-day treat!
We’d “pick” these apples any day! For each pop, place two red Jolly Rancher hard candies together on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Space out each pair to allow room to add a stick later. Place in an oven heated to 275°F for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and let cool 1 minute. Reshape the warm candy into an apple shape (adults only). Add a lollipop stick or wooden skewer (snip the point first!) by pushing it up from the bottom of the candy or pressing it down and twisting to coat. Cut a few green Jolly Rancher hard candies in half and place one or two as leaves at the top of each apple. Return to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes to melt and smooth. Remove from the oven and push a small piece of thin pretzel stick into the top as a stem. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet before moving. A no-brainer!
Life’s a beach with these sweet summer treats.
Whip these up in a pinch: Use a small round cookie cutter to cut six circle shapes out of a slice of pound cake. Set aside. Hull three strawberries; cut them in half lengthwise. Cut a “V” shape into each half to make claws. Slice a fourth strawberry in half lengthwise, then cut into strips and adjust the length accordingly to attach claws and eyes to the body. Melt chocolate chips and use a toothpick to add eyes and a mouth to each crab. Add blueberries to the eyes, if desired, and scatter more below the pound cake for the “ocean.” Surf’s up!
Tutti Frutti Tacos
Give ’em a sweet surprise with this fun Cinco de Mayo snack.
Start by making a batch of crepes. Remove a cold wire rack from the oven and put over the sink. Heat the empty oven to 350°F. Trim each crepe into a circle using a small plate as a guide. Lay each crepe over a wire on the oven rack so it hangs in the shape of a taco shell. Put the rack with the crepes back in the oven; bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the “shells” are crisp. Remove the rack; place it over the sink so the shells can cool. Fill each with chopped strawberries, pineapple, and blueberries. Top with vanilla yogurt and shredded spinach and carrots.
Egg ’em on
Hunting for ways to get your kids egg-cited for veggies? Crack up your little peeps with these Easter pitas.
Use a cookie cutter to cut pita bread into egg shapes, then “dye” them with pink beet hummus and orange roasted red pepper hummus, either all over or in a striped pattern. Use miniature cookie or fondant cutters to make stripes, flowers, half moons, and other shapes out of red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, and other assorted veggies for decoration. Then place the eggs on a bed of grass made with shredded baby spinach leaves.
Over the Rainbow
Bring the luck of the Irish to your table with a St. Patrick’s Day yogurt bowl!
Here’s a meal fit for a leprechaun: Fill a small bowl with blueberry yogurt. Place chopped strawberries, oranges, bananas, kiwi, whole blueberries, and cut red grapes in a rainbow over the yogurt. Add a little handful of shredded coconut to each end for clouds. Serve and enjoy!
Edible Snowlady Globe
This snowman snow globe—inspired by an idea in Elise Strachan’s new book, Sweet! Celebrations—is almost too cute to eat!
1. Melt 3.5 oz. white candy melts and place 1 Tbs. on the inside of a mason jar lid.
2. Set 1 coconut truffle (we used Raffaello brand) in the melted candy and refrigerate to set. Then place ¼ tsp. melted candy on the coconut truffle and glue a second one on top. Allow to set.
3. Use the same technique to attach a white chocolate truffle (we used Lindt’s Lindor) for the head and allow to set.
4. Melt 2 oz. black candy melts and use a toothpick to draw on eyes, a mouth, and buttons.
5. Place a small dab of white melted candy on the wide end of an orange candy-covered sunflower seed and attach it as the nose.
6. Cut a piece of candy strap for a scarf and fringe the ends. Wrap around the neck and secure with white melted candy.
7. Sprinkle the base of the lid with coconut “snow,” then carefully place the jar over the snowman, screwing it into the lid.
Copyright © 2016 by My Cupcake Addiction Pty Ltd. from SWEET! CELEBRATIONS by Elise Strachan, published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
A Sweet Civic Duty
This patriotic cookie platter is perfect for an Election Day bake sale or as a thank-you to polling volunteers!
Start with a box of Nilla wafers—or any small cookie—and decorate them with red and blue icing and sprinkles. We used a simple royal icing: Mix 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with 2 Tbs. whole milk. Whisk until your consistency is similar to craft glue, adding up to 2 Tbs. more milk half a tablespoon at a time, as needed. Add red or blue food coloring. Bake a large star cookie and a smaller one to use as the “o,” then decorate in blue and white, respectively. Arrange as the word “vote” on a square platter. Sit back and let the results roll in!
Happy Little Trees
A forest never looked so tasty: To make these mod trees, cut large slices off the sides of red, orange, and yellow bell peppers. Place the slices skin-side down and use a cookie cutter to cut out circles from each. Add a pretzel stick to each circle for the trunk, and cut other pretzels on the diagonal to create branches. For the grass, slice a cucumber into rounds, and cut each piece in half.
Just Keep Swimming
It won’t take long to reel in the kids for a bite to eat with these tasty snacks on hand! For the orange fish, use a knife to slit one end of several dried apricots and insert the bottom of a mini pretzel inside each one. Pinch the apricot around the pretzel to hold it in place. For a fish eye, add a small dot of cream cheese and then press on a mini chocolate chip. Finish off the scene with a jellyfish: Use kitchen shears to slice in half a piece of dried pear and then cut up the bottom part to use as tentacles.
Cloud Bread Snack
This snack is a sure cure for any rainy-day blues: Cut a slice of braided challah bread from the middle of the loaf. Using a cookie cutter, shape a slice of orange cheddar cheese into a circle. Place it partly under the bread. Cut the remaining cheese into small triangles, and place them around the circle as the sun’s rays. Add blueberries as eyes and as rain falling from the cloud. Slice off the side of a red apple, then use a straw to punch out two circles of its skin for the cheeks. Add a small piece of fruit leather for the smile. Enjoy!
This little bite has a real upside: Start by cutting a slice of bread into a square, either freehand or using a cookie cutter. Trim a slice of cheese to the same size, and then quarter it diagonally. Place two quarters of cheese on top of the bread, as shown. (You can add a little mayo, if desired.) Use a sharp knife to trim a carrot stick into a thin kite tail. Arrange raspberries along the sides of it. Add popcorn as clouds. Enjoy!
Serve your kids a fruity breakfast that'll have them asking for seconds like sweet little lambs. Center a pancake (ours was about 5 inches wide) on a plate. Decorate with mandarin orange slices, half a strawberry, and blueberries (we trimmed the ends so that they'd sit flat), as shown. Pour a few teaspoons of chocolate syrup into a ziplock bag and snip off a corner. Pipe on a mouth and whiskers. Set it in place, and you'll be the cat's meow.
March Madness Cookies
Score major points with your household's basketball fans by setting out the fixings for these sporty treats before a big game. Use a black food writer to draw basketball seams on Nilla Wafer cookies, as shown, and food coloring to tint vanilla frosting filling in the colors of their favorite team. Kids can assemble the sandwiches, then attempt the open-mouth layup or the glass-of-milk slam dunk.
Munch of the Penguins
A little birdie tells us your kids will love making these fruity treats on a chilly afternoon. To create four, halve two bananas. Trim dried apricots into feet and a beak for each bird. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips according to the package directions. Stir in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Dip each banana into the chocolate as shown, then place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add white chocolate chip eyes and use a toothpick to dab on chocolate pupils. Use more melted chocolate to attach the beaks and feet. Place the penguins in the freezer until the chocolate is set, about 25 minutes. Now huddle together and eat!
Beary Cute Cupcakes
Surprise your own little den of cubs with this cool dessert. Working with one at a time (so that the icing doesn't dry out), top a cupcake with a generous layer of vanilla frosting. Add texture by using the tip of a toothpick to pull the frosting up into tiny peaks. Press on a black jelly bean nose, chocolate chip eyes, and a tongue snipped from a stick of pink bubble gum. Halve a white spice drop and press the pieces into place for ears. Brrrilliant!
Cute tip: To give your bears puppy dog cuteness, set the eyes and ears wide apart and place the nose below the center.
Cone of Plenty
This miniature cornucopia is overflowing with healthy goodies and a harvest of surprisingly simple-to-make sculpted candy. For the horn, microwave a sugar cone until it's pliable, about 20 seconds, then bend the end. For the bow, microwave a fruit chew candy (we used Tootsie Fruit Rolls) for about 6 seconds to soften it, then roll it flat, snip a strip, and wrap it around the cone. Use other strips to finish the bow. For the fruits and vegetables, warm fruit chews and mold them with your hands into the shapes shown. Use a toothpick to make indents and to poke holes for any sprinkle stems. Fill the cone with the sculpted candies, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds.
A dinnertime favorite disguised as a prehistoric reptile? Now that's a dino-mite meal! To make each taco, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Fold an 8-inch spinach wrap in half and use kitchen shears to cut a stegosaurus shape as shown (click below for our template; for easier cutting, trace it with a black food writer).
Unfold and lightly coat one side of the wrap with cooking spray. Refold it (oiled side out) and lay it on a baking sheet. Place crumpled pieces of aluminum foil inside the wrap to hold the shell open as it bakes. Bake until slightly crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side (the wrap will harden as it cools). Once it cools, draw a face with a food writer. Add green olive feet as shown and serve with taco fillings.
Miles of Smiles!
Park this friendly bus in front of your child to celebrate the start of the new school year. Cut a slice of bread (we used pumpernickel) into a rectangle, reserving a strip of crust. Trim a slice of yellow cheese to fit the bread as shown. Cut another slice of cheese for the hood. Use the reserved crust for a fender. Cut headlights and grill strips from white cheese and set them in place. Use the pointy end of a grape tomato for each red light. Slice more tomato into a stop sign and smile. Finish with black olive tires, trimmed to lie flat, and pupils (we cut ours with a straw). Now that's a snack worth stopping for!
Cool off with a frosty fruit look-alike. Our "watermelon" wedge is made from three flavors of frozen goodness and chocolate chip "seeds" too yummy to spit out. Cover the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper or line a round cake pan with plastic wrap (drape the wrap over the sides so that you can lift the pie from the pan when it's ready). Choose your favorite green-, white-, and red-tinted sherbet, sorbet, or gelato. (We used lime sherbet, lemon sorbet, and blood orange gelato.) Let the green sherbet soften at room temperature for 10 minutes, then spread 3 cups around the perimeter of the pan. Cover it with plastic and freeze it for 45 minutes. Add a ring using 2 cups softened white sorbet and refreeze. Stir 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips into 3 cups softened red sorbet, then fill the center with the mixture. Freeze the entire dish until firm, about 6 hours. Slice the pie into wedges with a hot knife and serve.
On a Roll!
Make waves at the table with these easy-prep dinner rolls, each cleverly snipped and shaped into an octopus. Heat the oven to 350°. Use kitchen shears to cut apart the triangular portions of a package of refrigerated crescent roll dough. Evenly space the pieces on two baking sheets. For each octopus, snip seven 3-inch slits into the shortest side of a dough triangle. Stretch and bend the legs to shape them. To form the head, roll the remaining tip of the triangle toward the legs. Press on a pair of olive slice eyes. Bake the rolls until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
An Easy Treat for Father's Day
Let Dad or Grandpa know you think he's incredible with a personalized superhero cookie.
Grade A Graduation Snack
Here's a simple, allergy-free snack for a year-end classroom party. Cut 3 1/4-inch squares from colored card stock and add a message with paint pen. Punch a hole in one corner and secure two short lengths of ribbon as shown. With glue dots, attach the mortarboards to the top of fruit or applesauce cups and add a pair of googly eyes.
Mother's Day Bouquet
What's better than candy and flowers on Mom's special day? How about candy flowers? For each, start with a generously frosted mini cupcake, then press various candies (gumdrops, M&M's, licorice twists, mini marshmallows, and more) into the frosting.
Inspired by decorated eggs, these sweet strawberries make a deliciously colorful holiday project. In a heat-safe bowl or mug, melt 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips in the microwave according to the package directions. Stir in 1 tablespoon of coconut or vegetable oil until smooth. Spear a washed and trimmed strawberry with a fork, dip it in the melted chocolate, and set it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue dipping (you should have enough chocolate for 18 berries). Place the sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the coating hardens. Melt candy wafers in various colors according to the package directions. Place each color in a ziplock bag and snip a tiny corner from the bags. Pipe squiggles and dots onto the berries, then gobble them up before the Easter Bunny finds them.
Two types of cheese give this savory, open-faced sandwich its sweet-as-can-be look. Trim a piece of sliced cheese to fit atop one half of a mini bagel. Cut a round muzzle and a pair of half-circle ears from more sliced cheese, then attach them with mustard or mayonnaise. Add a nose cut from a ham slice, plus a mouth and a pair of eyes trimmed from black olives. Finish with a sprinkle of shredded cheese between the ears. Now, aren't we clever?
Pay tribute to a patriotic pair on Presidents' Day with these easy-to-assemble cookies. Each starts with a vanilla wafer head and a face drawn with black edible marker. Other features are attached with frosting applied with a toothpick. George's hair is made of mini marshmallows cut into pieces and rolled. His collar is a mini marshmallow flattened and snipped, then finished with a mini chocolate chip. Abe's top hat consists of trimmed sections of a chocolate bar, while his beard is formed from mini chocolate chips. We cannot tell a lie: both cookies are delicious.
New Year's Eve Countdown Cupcakes
The movable cookie hands on this New Year's clock mark the minutes until midnight -- or the last bedtime of 2013. Decorate 13 cupcakes with white frosting and colored sugar sprinkles. Give 12 of them frosting numerals, piped on with a pastry bag and tip or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off. Arrange the cupcakes on a platter as shown. Trim two wafer cookies into clock hands and set them in place at the base of the center cupcake. It's a sweet way to ring in the new year!
Add whimsy to a traditional Thanksgiving dessert with this cute-as-pie idea. Cut two fig bar cookies into triangles and place them on a slice of pumpkin pie. Add whipped cream where shown. (Tip: We found homemade whipped cream holds its shape best. To pipe it on, use a ziplock bag with a corner snipped off or a piping bag with a round tip.) Finish by pressing on brown M&M's for the nose and eyes. Eat immediately.
These owl crackers, topped with cream cheese and almonds, are a hoot as an after-school snack or a savory treat for a fall party. For each, spread a layer of plain cream cheese on a round cracker, using the tip of the spreader to make small indents for feathers. Press on a pair of mini round cracker eyes (we pulled apart a Ritz Bits sandwich and used a half for each eye) and attach raisin pupils with a dab of cream cheese. Finish by pressing on an almond beak and almond-slice feathers.
Chocolate Bar Chalkboards
Mark the start of a new school year with these edible chalkboards. Use a toothpick to etch a message into the smooth side of a chocolate bar. Sprinkle the bar with confectioners' sugar, then gently rub it into the etched letters.
Wipe away the excess sugar with a damp paper towel. Roll caramel chew candies into thin strips and trim them to fit the edges. Moisten the strips with a damp paper towel and press them into place. Add white sprinkles for chalk.
Make a splash at a beach or pool party with an armful of these ocean-themed treats. You'll want to create one octopus at a time so that the frosting stays moist while you work. For each, cover a cupcake with vanilla frosting. Dot it with blue decorating gel, then use a toothpick to swirl the colors. Press eight sour gummy worms into the frosting as shown. Place a few tablespoons of vanilla and chocolate frosting into separate ziplock bags, snip off a corner of each bag, and pipe eyes and a mouth onto a large gumdrop. Dot the bottom with frosting and press it into place. For a finishing touch, sprinkle on some white nonpareil bubbles.
July 4th Regal Eagle Cookies
Celebrate Independence Day with a batch of cookies inspired by our nation's most famous bird. For each, spread white frosting on an oval cookie (we used Pepperidge Farm Milanos). Fill a plate with shredded coconut and press the cookie into it to coat it. Use more frosting to adhere a cashew beak, a mini chocolate chip eye, and almond slice feathers.
Indy 500 Racer Snacks
Refuel the kids with this healthy snack that's a tasty homage to the Indianapolis 500 (on May 26). To make a field of racers, core and cut an apple into slices and halve several grapes. Assemble each car as shown, skewering the grape wheels to the apple with toothpicks.
Indy 500 Fruit Racers
Choose your own color and flavor combinations for these luscious homemade lollipops. For each, place three Jolly Rancher hard candies side by side on a baking sheet that's been covered with foil then topped with parchment paper. Leave space on the sheet for a lollipop stick. Bake at 275° for about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately place the stick into the candy, rolling it a bit to ensure a good bond. Let the candy cool.
This April Fools' Day, trick your family with a faux chicken dinner that's actually a sweet surprise in disguise. In a heat-safe bowl, whisk together ? cup each dark brown sugar and apricot jam, then microwave the mixture for 20 seconds to dissolve the sugar. For each chicken piece, mold a packaged Rice Krispies Treat into a drummette or wing shape and brush it with the apricot glaze. Mold mini green taffy candies around chopsticks to form the celery stalks. Serve your meal with a small cup of vanilla Greek yogurt.
Over the Veggie Rainbow
This Saint Patrick's Day snack provides a golden opportunity to entice your kids to eat fresh vegetables. To make it, fill a small bowl with dip (we used guacamole). Slice four long strips of bell peppers in various colors and arrange them as shown. Cut two small cauliflower clouds, skewer each with a toothpick, then position one on each side of the peppers. Place sliced carrot coins beside the bowl for the leprechaun's pot of gold.