Sprucing up the Spreads

I remember as a child standing at the domed glass bakery case excitedly choosing the most beautifully decorated sugar cookie in the whole place.  Pinks and yellows and whites and blues.  All frilly on one cookie.  My cookie.  Oh, how delectable.

One bite and–YUCK.  How horrible.  Cardboard.  Pthewy.  Can’t I pick another one, mom?  Please?

Capitalizing on the hard-earned knowledge from my childhood bakery experience, I often use the presentation technique to lure my kids into eating things.  It usually at least gets one bite in, and often, much more than that.  And when you eat differently than the rest of your neighbors, friends, swim team, dance class, Sunday school class, and preschool classmates–well, how hard mom works to make things fun makes a huge difference.

Almond butter piped onto the apple.  Ribbons tied on the homemade popsicle sticks.  Vegetables arranged on the plate in the shape of a silly face.

Piping.  I know most people know how to do this.  Or most know how but maybe have never thought about it.  But, when I figured out how to pipe icing, I was tickled.  My mom just spooned it on, even the deviled eggs.  I am NO expert on decorating.  I just found a couple of things that work and go with them to help present snacks more appealingly to my kids and the kids at my daughter’s preschool.

The piping technique goes a long way towards making aesthetically pleasing snacks for kids.  Try it!

1.  Keep the right tools in a handy place so you’ll grab them to use.  They really aren’t that hard to use, and the kids just love the piped effect.  wpid-IMAG2272-1.jpgEven better, they love to pipe it themselves!  You’ll have more help than you want!  Wal-Mart has what’s needed.  Try it!  Just pick these up on your next grocery run!

  • an 8 or 10 inch non-disposable decorator’s bag
  • large mouthed tips so the nutbutter will be able to squeeze through (like a 199 or 32)
  • a plastic coupler and ring

When you’re done, just take it all apart and soak it in a bowl of warm soapy water until you have time to tend to them properly–sometimes mine soak a couple of days.  Also, if I am making something for someone with a severe food allergy to something I commonly use in my bag (nuts, eggs, etc),  I don’t use my old bags.  I’ll use a new bag or a disposable bag.

2.  Pipable items:

  • Nutbutters–I mix in some honey, vanilla, and a dash of salt to make it a mixture thin enough to pipe yet thick enough to hold a shape.  Spoon it into the bag and pipe some on apples, celery, dates, or some of your choice of crackers.

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  • Jams–dot a smiley face on top of a pancake!  Accent with some dried fruit!
  • Cream cheese dip (we make ours from dripping homemade yogurt until it’s really thick and for a treat add some vanilla and honey)–pipe stars or again, a smiley face on top of a pumpkin or blueberry muffin.
  • I’ll bet pate would even pipe onto celery or homemade crackers!  If any kid’s expected to eat patee, surely they deserve it piped!
  • Egg yolk filling, such as in deviled eggs

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  • Icing (such as a meringue based frosting or chocolate palm shortening frosting)

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It really doesn’t take that long!  And the kids love it!  So long for now…

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2 thoughts on “Sprucing up the Spreads

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