I’ll preface this post by saying that I’m not a baker or a maker of anything in general. Before I had my son, I had little interest in making any kinds of desserts and sweet treats for the family. It wasn’t until I was a mother myself and saw what a village it takes to raise a child. Having had experienced expressions of love and help from family and friends in ways I had no concept of prior, I really wanted to find a way to express our appreciation and spread some holiday cheer without additional financial strain. We had received gifts of homemade holiday treats in the past and enjoyed them, so I scoured Pinterest for some easy recipes. All of these recipes are toddler tested in my own kitchen with my son. And in most cases are simplified for even the most beginner bakers (me).
Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies
This first recipe is a great example of my need to modify the vast majority of “easy” DIY holiday treats that I found on Pinterest. I am not to the skill level of making cookies from scratch, so I used Reese’s peanut butter break and bake cookie dough. Before even involving my toddler tester in the process, I baked the cookies and melted the chocolate in the microwave. The most difficult part was keeping my assistant from licking the chocolate off the freshly dipped cookies. He then shifted his focus to sprinkle duty where he proceeded to dump half of the shaker onto the plate.
Our finished product looked pretty good considering the challenges we faced akin to baking with a hungry little octopus. The recipe that inspired our cookies can be found at https://www.twosisterscrafting.com/chocolate-dipped-peanut-butter-christmas-cookies/
Holiday Oreo Ornaments: Toddler Tested and Approved
I found this recipe but was unable to find the vanilla Candiquick that this recipe called for so I bought white chocolate chips to use instead. Big mistake. I attempted heating up the white chocolate chips in the microwave but they formed a hard mass so I scrapped the white chocolate in favor of the leftover chocolate from the peanut butter dipped cookies. It worked out well.
I covered the Oreos in chocolate and placed mini peanut butter cups at the top to form the Holiday Ornament. I then put the toddler tester in his high chair to be in charge of decorating them with mini M&M’s and holiday sprinkles. My son enjoyed smearing the still-wet chocolate all over his high chair and face. And then we began the process of destroying them after they were decorated. Glad that his holiday destruction was contained to his high chair so that the clean up wasn’t too bad. The original recipe that inspired ours can be found at http://blog.candiquik.com/oreo-ornaments/
Holiday Bark: Easy Enough Even a Toddler Can Make It
The final recipe is a traditional Holiday Bark. I was able to recycle the M&M’s and sprinkles from the previous recipes and added pretzels and peanuts. For safety, I melted the chocolate and poured it into the foil-lined baking sheet first. Then, I brought my toddler tester to help me with the next steps. After, he took charge of decorating in between shoving handfuls of candy into this mouth. We then used a spatula to press the confections, peanuts, and pretzels into the chocolate to make sure it didn’t pop out after the chocolate had set. Toddler tested with minimal mess. The recipe can be found at https://www.gracefullittlehoneybee.com/easy-christmas-bark/
The Next Martha Stewart
Holiday Bark was definitely the easiest and most delicious of the three recipes we tested. I will be making it again. Branching out and attempting to make something I would normally buy was fun. I was glad that I could introduce my toddler to new experiences and allow him to sample the flavors of the holidays. Who knows? Maybe next time, I’ll even try baking the cookies from scratch? Watch out Martha Stewart (and quite possibly the fire department).