A Very Project CHEF Christmas
It’s hard not to be excited about the festive season when you are working in a classroom of children enchanted by the wonders of holiday cheer! This has been a reality for the folks over at Project CHEF as they approach the end of their school year and the winter break. It’s been great to see their team stopping by the Food Bank full of enthusiasm, spirit and stories of the fun they had cooking with kids each day.
They are truly sad that the holidays are approaching so, to keep the spirit of Project CHEF alive, shared with us a few fun, holiday recipes and cooking tips for everyone to try at home with their kids. We hope you do-try-this-at-home as an amazing way to bring the family together in the spirit of the season.
Project CHEF’s Top Kitchen Tips for Cooking with Kids:
- Roll up sleeves so everyone’s clothing stays out of the ingredients.
- Place a damp paper towel under the cutting board so it doesn’t move around.
- Use a large bowl for even smaller tasks. Ingredients then have a fighting chance of staying in the bowl.
- Measure dry ingredients by scooping measuring cup into the ingredient then sweeping off the extra with the handle of a wooden spoon or back of a dinner knife.
- When measuring wet ingredients pour into measuring cup placed on a flat surface. One person can hold the cup and check for the correct measure and one person can pour.
- Crack an egg on a flat surface then into a small bowl before adding to ingredients. Eggshells will be less likely to end up in the mix whether it’s dough or batter.
- When portioning sticky dough such as cookie dough use two soupspoons, one to scoop the dough and one to push the dough onto the baking sheet.
- Cut butter and dough with a bench scraper or pastry scraper.
- Chop nuts by placing into a Zip Lock bag, remove air, seal and roll with a rolling pin or place the bottom of a pot over the bag and gently rock it back and forth.
Project CHEF’s Festive Bird’s Nest Cookies
Makes: About 27 cookies
Preparation Time: About 30 minutes
Baking Time: About 15 – 20 minutes
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ cup butter, at room temperature, cubed
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 1/3 cup fine unsweetened coconut
- 1/3 cup raspberry or blackberry jam
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Medium and large-sized bowls
- Wooden spoon
- 2 baking trays
- Small sharp knife or pastry scraper
- Two tiny spoons or small Ziplock bag
- Cooling rack
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Line two trays with parchment paper or use non-stick cookie pans.
- Measure flour and baking soda in a medium-sized bowl. Combine together with a fork. Put aside for now.
- Place the soft butter in a large bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, cream the butter until soft.
- Add the sugar and vanilla and cream together until soft and fluffy, like mashed potatoes.
- Add the flour mixture to the soft butter mixture. Mix together with a spatula until the mixture looks like small crumbs.
- Scrape the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and lightly knead until the dough comes together and is smooth.
- Sprinkle the coconut onto the work surface then roll the dough into a log on top of the coconut. Roll the dough log about 30 cm (about 1 foot) long. Roll the log into a little more coconut.
- Cut the log into 1 cm thick slices and place on the prepared cookie sheet, about two finger widths apart.
- Press your thumb into the centre of each cookie so that it makes a little well but not a hole.
- Using two tiny spoons, fill the cookie wells with a small amount of jam. You can also pipe the jam into the cookie wells using a small Ziplock bag. Place jam into the bag and seal. Snip the corner off of the bag (about ½ cm snip) and squeeze the jam into the cookie wells.
- Place in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.
- The cookies will be a very light golden brown when done.
- Remove the cookies to a cooling rack when baked.
- Instead of coconut, you can roll the cookie log in finely chopped nuts, such as pecan, hazelnuts or walnuts
- Instead of jam, you can fill the wells with marmalade or a large chocolate chip
If these aren’t for you, try your hand at these Chewy Oatmeal Cookies, recently cooked in the Project CHEF classroom at Bayview Elementary.
Happy Holidays Everyone!