When Kraft Canada contacted me to ask if I would like to bake up some holiday goodies for the “Dessert First” program from Desserts Centre.ca, I knew exactly who I would bake with – Les Petits Chefs! The boys are always asking me to bake but what you can bake in under an hour total time (prep and cooking) is limited. Also, I try to steer clear of the sweet treats as much as I can – I’m trying to teach the boys about real food being really easy from scratch so, whilst it’s great to learn to bake cookies from scratch and not from a Duncan Hines mix, I prefer to stick to savoury and main dishes. But everything in moderation, right – and t’is the season. Also, whilst perusing the recipes on the dessert centre site, I was impressed with how many there were which COULD be prepared in under an hour… So I went all ambitious and decided to make two – White Christmas Crunch Squares and Chocolate (chip) Shortbread Cookies. Since I am still feeling a little under the weather from a sinus infection and the consequences of strong antibiotics, I called for reinforcements on Monday, knowing that it could get crazy in the
kitchen lab. So thank you to Ms Stephenson for coming to my rescue – we definitely could not have done this without her!
She ended up supervising the shortbread making which involved a lot of butter, sugar and flour and a not-quite-powerful-enough hand mixer. But the boys showed us their mixing muscles to produce a wonderfully soft and easy to roll shortbread dough..
Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, I led a few of the boys in adventures in White Christmas Crunch Squares…
We all agreed it was “weird” to make a base of Premium Crackers… (and yes, I forgot the parchment paper the first time we laid them in the pan)
I made sure to keep an eye on this in the oven so it would not burn. Later on, the boys got into spreading the chocolate chips onto the cracker/ caramel base… The recipe called for chopped white baking chocolate but I decided to go with baking chips. They did NOT melt, even with the oven at 350˚F (the recipe called for 1-2 minutes, ours were in there for about 7 minutes and even after that I had to press the chocolate chips and crushed candy cane with a spatula and even then they never really went liquidy and melty. They finally were ready to cut and we all waited patiently for our share…
I thought these were fantastic – relatively easy to make and visually very very festive. I loved the slight saltiness from the crackers which prevented these from being too sweet (they are VERY sweet so you only need a little piece!)
According to the boys, this week’s take-homes from cooking club were “AWESOME”.
In this season of giving, I also wanted to share Kraft’s Food for Families program with you all.
If you aren’t aware, Kraft Food for Families is a unique program designed in partnership with Food Banks Canada to enable communities across Canada to have improved access to food. Donations received through Kraft Food for Families will help food banks throughout the holiday season and beyond. The Salvation Army in Owen Sound already collected over 22,000 signatures in the first round of the program!
Starting December 2, every week for ten weeks, each name added online at www.kraftassists.ca will equal one vote for any of the 29 participating food banks. Every week, the food bank that receives the most names of support during each weekly voting period, will receive a $1000 donation from the Kraft Food for Families program.
Inspired by the tremendous support for the program since it launched last month, Kraft launched a second phase to allow Canadians to continue adding their signature online at www.kraftassists.ca in support of their local food bank. Each week, the totals reset at zero and the tallies start from scratch – so Canadians can add their name daily each week until the end of the program on February 10.
Disclosure: I was offered a gift basket of ingredients and a gift card to cover other baking needs from Kraft Canada as well as two plated desserts as post of the Dessert First program. I turned down the gift card and ingredients and will make a donation to Food Banks of Canada on behalf of Les Petits Chefs and I will be donating the plated desserts to Out of the Cold – a volunteer initiative providing safe refuge, hospitality and emergency shelter to the homeless community throughout the City of Toronto where students from my school assist each Friday during the winter.
US and Canadian residents – did you enter my Maria Speck Ancient Grains for Modern Meals book giveaway yet? Contest closes Saturday December 17th at 6pm EST.