One of our small holiday traditions is that we bake at least one home made dessert. Hard to beat the price on buying things like pumpkin pie at the store, so we try to make something that is fun, different, or hard to find. Or perhaps all three. This year the big request from my daughter was for chocolate pie. Now when I hear that I’m thinking along the lines of French Silk. Good pie. Rich though, best eaten in small portions!
I start browsing the cookbooks at home, thinking about making a pie crust (none of that frozen crust for a ‘home made’ pie!) and the chocolate, glancing at the cabinet with all the baking supplies including the real bakers chocolate to see if I had the ingredients. Making pie crust isn’t hard. Making good pie crust is hard. It’s good hands-on cooking for kids, but it’s guaranteed to make a mess.
I then remembered the lesson that seems so hard to master, kids rarely care that the pie crust is good or that you used real chocolate, they just want to make something, to feel the ownership. I’m not teaching them to cook, I’m teaching them to want to cook. That means making it fun and not worrying too much about how well it turns out.
- One approximately 4oz ramekin or similar per person. Plastic,glass,whatever you have, it’s not going in the oven
- 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, more or less. Put a bunch of graham crackers in a ziplock bag, let the kids pound away (Oreos would work too)
- 2 tbsps butter, more or less. Melt in the microwave
- Mix the butter and the crumbs until sticky (add more butter as needed), then press into the ramekin around the bottom and sides
- One big spoonful of whipped cream (the store bought kind). Probably a tablespoon or so, dropped right on top of the “crust”
- One individual serving of Jello Chocolate Pudding, poured right on top of the whipped cream. Not full enough? Use two!
- Put another spoonful of whipped cream on top and spread around, a fake meringue
- Add 8-10 milk chocolate chips in whatever pattern they like
- Refrigerate for an hour
As you can see the nice part about this recipe is that there isn’t much to get wrong, and plenty of room for creativity. They loved doing it, and couldn’t wait to get done with turkey and stuffing to get “their” dessert out of the fridge. A success in all the ways that matter.