‘Tis the season to be cooking! Much of the festive season is spent in the kitchen, baking and creating a range of dishes for the influx of end-of-year celebrations and family catch ups. So why not get some extra helping hands in the kitchen with you from the kids? In fact all of these super simple and fun recipes and food decorating ideas can be almost completely done by kids. Despite how easy they are, they look extra special and cute to take to Christmas gatherings or even just for the family to munch on at home. So, to get everyone in the Christmas spirit, get help preparing food for festive events, and teach the kids some valuable skills in the kitchen, here are 10 fun Christmas recipes for kids.
Kids and adults alike know that cupcakes are all about the icing. So, once you’ve baked your cake flavour of choice (vanilla works best if you are decorating snowmen with the icing), the important work begins. You can make vanilla icing at home, or buy pre-made icing in the baking section at your local grocery store, and cover a thick layer on top of the cupcake. Use marshmallows at the edge of the cupcake as the face, and design around this. You can use a chocolate icing pen to draw eyes, a mouth, arms, and buttons on, or change things up by using baking pearls or M&Ms for buttons and pretzels for arms to create an effective three-dimensional look.
Strawberry santas are almost too cute to eat, but the kids will probably be gobbling these down before they have even finished making them. The bonus is they are a much healthier alternative to other sweets, and can encourage kids who are usually reluctant to eat fruit, since they look so great. If the kids are keen to do this one all on their own, they can use a safety knife to evenly cut off the leafy end of the strawberry so it stands up, and then slice the tip to make a Santa hat. You can use whipped cream, cake icing, or even cream cheese as the filling, placing a large dollop on top of the strawberry base, a small dollop on top of the hat to act as a pom-pom, and two small dollops down the front of the base as buttons. Place the hat on top, use two chocolate sprinkles to add to the face as Santa’s eyes and you are all done!
Christmas tree pizza
Homemade pizza is always a quick and easy dinner to make, and helps get the kids involved in the kitchen. In the lead up to Christmas, why not make your pizza that little bit more festive by cutting the dough with a large Christmas tree cutter to instantly make it more merry. The kids can then go crazy with their usual toppings of choice, so even the fussiest of eaters are pleased. Christmas recipes for kids don’t need to involve food exclusive to the festive season, you can always turn favourites in your home into something perfectly suited for the holidays.
Gingerbread men are a staple at Christmas time, so you will easily be able to find the right cookie cutter and decorative baking tools at the shops for the kids to create something fun. The essential decorating item you will need is royal icing (grab some food colouring if the kids want to get really creative with multiple colours) with piping bags or an icing pen instead, as this will allow the kids to draw on as they please and will hold the other decorations in place. In terms of other decorations, you can use anything from sprinkles, to baking pearls, to choc chips; whatever the kids come up with!
Santa Clause Pancakes
Pancakes are the perfect treat for breakfast, so why not let the kids make their own extra special version and decorate them as Christmas characters? Santa Claus is one that works great, and the kids will only need whipped cream or any other white frosting of choice to smother the pancake as Santa’s beard and hair (make sure to leave room for the eyes and nose). Fill the top of the plate with strawberries to create a hat, and use blueberries as the eyes — a great way to even out the sweet treat with some healthy additions. If you have plenty of munchies that can be used as decoration, let the kids’ imaginations run wild and create all different faces from reindeers to elves to angels.
Fruit Christmas tree
While most kids normally opt for the more sugar-filled dessert instead of a healthier alternative, show them that fruit can be just as fun to decorate with in the kitchen and equally tasty. Especially since Christmas falls during summer, fresh fruit on a hot day is a healthy, refreshing snack that is hard to pass up. To assemble the Christmas tree, use cut up kiwi fruit (kids can cut with safety knives) and cover it over the plate in the shape of a triangle for the tree itself, and then use whatever fruits you have for the decorations. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and pomegranate make great decorations, but you could really use anything, like banana, mango or pineapple as well.
Cookies are always a go-to dessert anytime of the year because of how quick and easy they are, so get the kids involved in the cooking and decorating for this one. After baking your favourite cookies, allow them to cool before decorating, no matter how excited the kids are to get going. There are so many ways to create reindeers; use chocolate icing to draw on two eyes and reindeer antlers and stick an M&M on as the nose, or cover the entire cookie in chocolate icing and then stick on M&Ms or baking pearls as the eyes and nose and pretzels on the top edges to stick out as antlers. The beauty of the round-shape of cookies is that you can create just about anything with them, so once they have mastered one character like the reindeer go ahead and let the kids try a new design.
Christmas tree meringues
While meringues are available for purchase from your local grocery store, you can also whip these up at home with the kids. In order to do so, preheat the oven to 90 degrees celsius, and then place four egg whites, one cup of sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and whisk in around two drops of peppermint extract if desired. Then, beat the egg whites until they are bright white but still runny, and add in some green food colouring, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Use a piping bag with a wide star tip to create the tree shape. Bake in the oven for two hours and allow to cool. While you will need to assist the kids in making meringues, it’s a great opportunity for them to learn essential baking skills like mixing and beating. Using royal icing to attach a star to the top of each tree and decorate with baking pearls or sprinkles, and use icing sugar as snow.
Every adult is bound to have fond memories of decorating gingerbread houses when they were kids. Even if they didn’t turn out as pretty as expected, or got eaten too quickly for the amount of work put in, the way everyone designs their gingerbread house is different which is what makes them so special and unique. You can bake the gingerbread yourself or buy a kit at the shops for a head start. While some kits come with plenty of decorations already, if you’re after some of the staples be sure to grab enough icing, candy canes, lollies of your (or your kid’s) choice, sprinkles, baking pearls, pretzels and wafers. The best part about gingerbread is that it can last for months if stored correctly, so the kids can knock this one over early and still save it as a centrepiece to use (and of course later eat) on Christmas Day.
Having the kids help out in the kitchen around Christmas is awesome for the whole family, and they will be extra proud when party guests are devouring their special handmade treats.