Hello from home,
Keeping things moving forward and positive in these unprecedented times can be a challenge, but there are silver linings, like these recipes that have become mood-lifting faves. Deliciously indulgent cookies, melt-in-your mouth rolls and other culinary delights are a welcome distraction (and time killer!) for us these days.
For the kids, I've really had to try to let go of my screen-time fears (as most distance learning is on screens!) My kids absolutely love these coding apps and feel really creative and accomplished after using them to make games and animations. They learn cause and effect, strategic thinking and spend quite a bit of time being focused without overstimulation. Also, they’re great for when parents really need to work, I still feel like they are using they're brains and learning new skills!
Scroll down for all the details - hope you find these as helpful as we have. Let us know if you make them and what you think!
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Khadijah's Bangin' Choco Chip Cookies
These cookies are, well – bangin'! Based on my variation of a favorite cookie from my fave NYC cafe in SoHo Olives (their Cowgirl Cookie) - A textural wonderland (and a bit healthy?) with oatmeal, walnuts and dark chocolate. An adult chocolate chip cookie, but a kid favorite nonetheless.
- 1 cup salted butter, softened, a little melty!
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose or whole wheat flour
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp hot water
- 2 tsp flake salt (I like Maldon Brand),
- 1 cups roughly chopped semisweet dark chocolate (Ghirardelli intense dark 86% cacao)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth .
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with 1 tsp of the salt. Stir in flour, oatmeal, walnuts and chocolate chunks.
- Scoop onto a baking sheet in tablespoon-size chunks (I use a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper over a metal one), sprinkling a pinch of flake salt over the top of each cookie before closing up the oven. Bake for about 10-12 mins in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
Homemade Gummy Bears
Our family loves to make these with fresh fruit juices like blueberry and grape juice, but Jell-O will definitely pack the biggest flavor punch. Super fun for the kids to pull out of the molds and enjoy wiggling and squiggling.
Recipe by The Best Ideas For Kids
- 1/2 cup of fruit juice
- 1 tablespoon honey (may also substitute maple syrup, stevia or agave)
- 2 tablespoons gelatin
- gummy bear molds
*You can get make it vegan with this brand of vegan gelatin or use Agar Agar Powder.
Pour 1/2 cup juice into a sauce pan set on low heat.
Add 1 tablespoon honey.
Add 2 tablespoons of gelatin.
Mix until all dissolved and then remove from heat.
Using the dropper, add into your mold.
Place in fridge for 30 minutes to cool and form or until solidified.
Carla Hall's Clover Rolls
We recently made the Benne Clover Rolls from "Carla Hall's Soul Food" and they left an intoxicating smell in our house. Springy, soft and easier to make than you think – plus the kids went crazy over them! 1 dozen were gone in a single evening.
A bit on the history of Benne: Now known as "sesame seeds," this word is descended from the African slaves who brought the seeds to the Carolinas – later becoming an heirloom seed in Southern baking.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 4-1/2 teaspoons (2 packets) active dry yeast (should be available in most supermarkets now)
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the bowl and muffin pans
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoons benne (white sesame) seeds
- Heat the milk and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low het until just warm to the touch. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, stir in the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the butter, salt, 2 of the eggs and 1 cup of the flour. Beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until smooth. With the machine running, add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, scraping the bowl occasionally. As soon as all of the flour is incorporated, switch to the dough hook.
- Knead the dough hook on low speed, scraping the bowl and hook occasionally, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. It will be sticky.
- Generously butter a large bowl and flour a work surface. Turn the dough out onto the surface and knead into a tight ball. Transfer to the bowl and turn the dough to butter the whole ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.
- Generously butter two 12-cup muffin pans. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a work surface. Use a bench scraper or sharp knife to cut the dough into six even 1-inch-wide strips. Cut each strip into twelve 1-inch pieces. Roll a piece into a ball and tug and pinch the edges of the dough under the ball to form a tight, seamless round. Place in a muffin cup. Repeat with 2 more pieces and tuck into the same cup. Repeat with all of the dough, putting a trio of balls into each cup. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand until the dough puffs just above the rim, about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the over to 375° F.
- Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Brush the tops of the dough very gently with the egg wash. Try not to deflate the dough! Sprinkle the tops with the benne seeds.
- Bake until golden brown and baked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Make ahead: You can let the rolls cool completely, then freeze them for up to 2 months. To serve, thaw them and bake in a 350°F oven until toasted and warm.
Mac and Cheese Bites
These have become household favorites - they're great for lunch, dinner and I've even heated them up for breakfast! They have the indulgence of classic mac-and-cheese, but with in a great little size, perfect for freezing or refrigerating and re-heating (when you want to skip cooking/cleaning a full meal!)
- 2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, olive oil and salt; set aside.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 minutes, it should still be a little bit firm. Remove from the heat, drain and return to the pan; stir in the butter and egg until pasta is evenly coated. Reserve 1/2 cup of sharp Cheddar cheese and stir the remaining Cheddar cheese, milk and mozzarella cheese into the pasta. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the reserved cheese and the bread crumb mixture over the tops.
- Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the topping is nicely browned. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. This will allow the cheese to set and they will hold their muffin shape.