Today we welcome our guest blogger, Marla. Marla is currently the Vice President of Service for the Adat Ari El Sisterhood, overseeing the Kiddushim and Sisterhood Kitchen. She is also the Religious School Cooking instructor and volunteer extraodinaire!
I love to cook and bake, and when my children were small, we always had a lot of fun baking together. Of course baking with your mom is something that a kid can only do if mom has a house and a kitchen. What about kids whose families are homeless? A lot of homeless families live at L.A. Family Housing in North Hollywood California, and I started thinking about how much fun it would be for them to have a chance to bake. So, this summer I went to L.A. Family Housing once a week and baked with the children who live there. There were kids of all ages, from 4-15. Some of them had spent time in the kitchen with their parents when they had a home, and others had never cooked or baked at all. We had a lot of fun making cookies, cupcakes, cobblers, and for the finale, Strawberry Shortcake! Now that school has started, the baking at L.A. Family Housing has ended, but you might want to so some baking with your children. They will love making something sweet and delicious that they can take to school in their lunchboxes or have for an afternoon snack. Here is an easy and delicious recipe that is perfect for little hands.
Disappearing Delights (Dairy)
This recipe can also be found in California Kosher.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 oz melted margarine (not butter)
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add egg and melted margarine to form a course meal. Pat into greased 10x15 jelly roll pan. Then make topping.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional) (my own addition, not in original recipe)
Mix topping ingredients and spread over crust. If using coconut sprinkle a little over the top. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool on wire rack and score for 2 inch bars. To avoid crumbling cool thoroughly, cut into bars and remove each one carefully.
Notes: I leave out the coconut and walnuts and add chocolate chips when baking with children because kids usually don't like coconut, and if you use walnuts you may run into nut allergy issues. Although it is easy and fun for the kids to pat down the dough for the crust, you may want to help them spread the topping because it tends to stick to the crust if you spread it too much. Although it won't change the taste of the finished bars, they will look a little messy if the topping and crust get mixed up. In any case, this is an easy and fun recipe for kids to make, and it will taste delicious even if it doesn't look perfect in the end. The children will be so proud to help you put the cooled bars on a plate and then hand the plate to mom or dad and say "look what I made!"
Don't forget, anyone can cook!