Well I was never a fan of the kitchen....dishes...cooking....more dishes :(
But then I discovered that baking is more enjoyable then cooking. I found this out because I was determined to have nice baked treats for my grandkids like my Grandma always did. Yeah I know long way off....hopefully a very long way. But I have never been kitchen compatible so I figured I had better start learning. Seem that making yummy sugary stuff is way more fun and I am not so bad at it. so First off was Chocolate Pepermint Shortbread.
Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread
Heat oven to 325 F. grease 2 (9 inch) glass pie plates. In large bowl, beat 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 4 oz melted bittersweet chocolate, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, with electric ixer on medium until light & fluffy. On low speed, beat i 2 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 cup cocoa. Divide dough in half and press into pie plates evenly. Bake 22 - 24 minutes, or until edges pull away from sides of pie plates. Cool in plates. Cut each round into wedges carefully. Do not remove from pie plates. In a small bowl mix 1/2 cup icing sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa and enough milk (1 to 2 tablespoons) until glaze is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Break up and or smash candy canes. Drizzle chocolate glaze over shortbread. Then sprinkle candy cane bits over top.
Heavily grease 11X7 inch baking dish with butter or margerine. dust with icing sugar. In (good size) bowl sprinkle 2 1/2 table spoons unflavored (clear) gelatin over 1/2 cup water. Set aside. In 2 quart saucepan heat 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon salt & 1/2 cup water over low heat stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Heat to boling. Cook without stirring about 20 - 30 minutes to 240 F on candy themometer. If you don't have a candy themometer drop small amount into very cold water. Whn if forms a ball that holds shape and is pliable then it is ready. Remove from heat. Slowly pour into softened gelatin while beating on low spead. Increase speed to high. Beat 8 - 10 minutes or until mixture is white and also increased it's volume 3 times. Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract. Beat on high speed for 1 minute. Pour into baking dish, patting with lighting wet hands. Drop food colouring randomly on top of marshmallow. **tip: make sure your red comes out red...mine came out purple. Pull knife through marshmallow mixture to create swirls. Let stand uncovered for 8 hours (or overnight). Dust cutting board with iccing sugar and grease long sharp knife. Remove marshmallow from pan in one piece. (use a large spatula). Cut into once inch squares. Dust each piece in icing sugar. Place in air tight container for 3 weeks.
Use your fave shortbread recipe. I used this one. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Sugar-Cookies/Detail.aspx For icing I mixed margerine, icing sugar and a (little) bit of milk. Mix to very smooth ans tiny bit runny. (I didn't measure). Keep mixing until white. Spread over each cookie. (for some such as the tree I used food colouring to making icing green). Sprinkle with granulated sugar for sparkle. Now freeze until day before your ready to use. When defrosted decorate with icing pens. I used sparkly ones. Very nice and easy to control.
We of course worked in some school work. There is science in every thing. So we learned about hand washing because children can always use a reminder. And we learned about what happens when you bake a cookie. I admit the lesson was light but as you can see we did a lot of baking. Math of course is easy to work in. How much do I need if we triple or double the reciepe is easy way to do fractions and also for an older child you can have them convert the recipe from cups to milileters. The measuring and puring is all good too. Here is the link to the website I used for cookie science.