Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kid's Recipe for Autumn Leaves, A Thanksgiving Treat

MARZIPAN SNAILS - a recipe for kids

Our young Chef is cooking, or rather crafting, a special Thanksgiving treat for all the children at our holiday table. The Chef is working with Marzipan, a confection consisting primarily of ground almonds and sugar. Though Marzipan is not as popular in the US as in other regions of the globe, it is readily available at most grocery stores in the baking isle. I am always pleasantly surprised at the reception this unfamiliar treat receives, especially when presented in such fun and festive colors and shapes.
Our Chef has chosen colorful autumn leaves as a motif for her Thanksgiving treat.  There is not a recipe to follow for this project, but for any child that enjoys a hands-on food activity, this is a sure winner.  You will need the following.  

Food Coloring

Our Little Chef begins by cutting the Marzipan loaf into sections. She presses her thumb into each of the sections to create a well, which will receive the food coloring. Our Chef chooses appropriate fall colors and squeezes three drops of food coloring into each well.

Our young Chef folds and mixes the food coloring into each Marzipan section using her fingers, she then rolls it into a ball.

Plastic wrap is used to cover the surface of a board, she places the colored Marzipan in the center, covers it with another sheet of plastic wrap and flattens the ball with the palm of her hand. The Chef then uses a roller to further stretch and flatten her Marzipan to about a 1/8th inch thickness.

Simple leaf shapes are cut out of the Marzipan and a vein is pressed into each leaf using the back of a knife. A wet paper towel is used to wipe the blade between each cut, keeping the knife moving smoothly.

Our Little Chef removes the excess Marzipan scraps and arranges her leaves on a sheet on wax paper, atop a small platter.

When all the colors of Marzipan have been rolled and cut, the Chef combines the excess scraps and folds them together to create a playful rendition of the natural fall colors. This Marzipan is again rolled and cut into leaf shapes.

After the Autumn Marzipan Leaves are artfully placed, simple Marzipan Snails are added as a whimsical completion of the display.

Our Little Chef wishes your young chef a very happy Thanksgiving and is sure this project will delight the kids seated around your holiday table. Thanks for cooking with us, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.