Do you have a child in your life who is generally vying for a snack – primarily of the sweet variety? Next time the request comes in, take advantage of the opportunity to have some fun in the kitchen. You can make up something simple and sweet, without lots of extra sugar. The following recipes are kid tested and approved, but don’t let that stop you if you’re an adult hankering for a good snack, too!
I grew up with this cake. It was at every family birthday party and many other occasions, too. I’ve heard it called “crazy cake” and “6-minute cake” by others who also grew up with it. Regardless, it is quick and delicious – and super fun to make!
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
⅓ cup oil (or melted butter)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp vinegar
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350°F. Measure all your dry ingredients directly into an 8×8 inch baking pan and mix well (a dinner fork usually works best for this). Smooth the mixture so it is relatively flat and even across the top.
Make 4 wells in the dry ingredients. Pour each of the wet ingredients into their own well. This part is just for fun—it will taste the same if you just dump them all in and don’t flatten the dry mix at all! You can make little streams between the wells and watch them run together. When you’re done playing with your food, mix the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly together. Make sure to scoop into the bottom and sides of the pan or you will have patches of dry ingredients sitting there.
Once it’s all mixed, you may add extras if you’d like: chopped up mints, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, swirls of your favorite jelly (raspberry is good), or swirls of peanut butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Top with powdered sugar or frost with your favorite frosting.
For a two-layer birthday cake variation: line the bottoms of two round cake pans with wax paper and grease the whole pan well. Make a double batch of batter in a separate bowl and divide between the pans. Bake, then cool in the pans for about 10-15 minutes before flipping the cakes out to cool completely on wire racks. When they’re cool, spread your favorite fruit jam/jelly on the top of one cake, place the second cake on top of that, and frost the whole thing.
Frozen Grasshopper Bars
These are sincerely addictive – easy to make with kids, but just as enjoyable for adults to eat. They’re refreshing, creamy, and sweet, without cream or sweetener beyond honey. The “secret ingredient” of avocado adds intrigue.
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
6 tbs coconut oil, melted
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
Peppermint extract (and/or fresh mint if you have it!) – how much is going to depend on the strength of your extract. Start with a few drops, taste, and add as you go.
⅛ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbs coconut oil
2-plus tbsp honey or maple syrup
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
⅛ tsp salt
Lightly grease an 8”x8” dish and line it with waxed paper or parchment (the grease holds the wax paper in place). Place all the ingredients for the mint layer in a blender or food processor and process until thoroughly blended. Taste for minty-ness/sweetness: mint extract varies by brand, so start with a little and add it drop by drop until it suits your taste. You may also want to add a little more sweetener depending on the strength of your sweet tooth.
Spread the mint mixture in the prepared pan and place it in the freezer.
In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil and sweetener over low heat. Remove from heat, add in remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Taste for sweetness – you may want more honey (a little stevia powder works, too). When the minty layer is solid to the touch, remove it from the freezer and pour the chocolate over it, as evenly as possible. Return the pan to the freezer until the chocolate solidifies.
Cut into squares and enjoy! Store in the freezer or refrigerator.
blogs (see page 9). The wreath theme makes it fun for the holidays, but it’s yummy anytime.
Apples, cored and sliced
Almond butter or another type of nut/seed butter
Crushed nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios)
Spread nut or seed butter on top of the apples (or add the nut butter to a zip top bag, snip a corner and squeeze, to make spreading easier).
Decorate with toppings of choice!
If you don’t plan on decorating the apple slices right away, then first soak them in a bowl of lemon water (ratio of 1 cup water to 1 tablespoon lemon or pineapple juice) for 3-4 minutes to keep them from browning.
PB & J Muffins
These gluten-free muffins come together quickly and easily and provide kids with the fun job of mashing bananas. Plus, they make a great breakfast on the run! Buckwheat flour is great in this recipe. It is gluten free and available locally through Maine Grains. Generally, young palettes could find buckwheat to be too assertive a flavor, but in this tasty recipe it recedes behind the peanut butter and creates a nice chewy texture. Sub in another flour if you’d prefer – or ground up oats would work well.
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup mashed)
¾ cup natural peanut butter, or nut butter of choice
¾ cup buckwheat flour
¼ cup pure maple syrup
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (substitute other berries if you’d prefer)
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a standard muffin tin with 12 baking cups. In a large mixing bowl use a fork to mash the ripe bananas until they have a puree-like consistency– it’s okay if there are a few lumps.
Add in the peanut butter, buckwheat flour, maple syrup, salt, and baking soda and mix well until a sticky batter is created, then stir in the vinegar last. Fold in the fresh raspberries and divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups.
Bake until the centers are firm and the tops begin to crack, about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before serving, and store the muffins in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.