Gelbstein’s Bakery Frogs

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Consider yourself warned: Forecasts caution that this week, swarms of green frogs are scheduled to invade downtown Lakewood and make their way into hundreds of homes and schools. This particular species of frog is known to occupy domestic territory such as kitchens, tabletops, counters, and even human stomachs! But before you make plans to leave town for the weekend, it might be comforting to know that these frogs will originate in Gelbstein’s bakery, and are not only harmless, but also taste delicious!

For the past ten years, on Erev Shabbos Parshas Va’eira, the famous  Gelbstein’s Bakery of Lakewood, New Jersey, has added an adorable frog cupcake to their showcase of 500+ types of baked goods.

This year, the innovative owners have allowed me to “take you to the back of the bakery”, where you can see firsthand how these little guys are made. Hey, if Gelbstein’s would have been around a few thousand years ago, I’m sure the Mitrzriyim would have been a lot less bothered by the second plague….

 This species of frog is probably the only one that doesn’t start off as a tadpole. Instead, it starts its life as a delicious, freshly baked vanilla cupcake. The process begins pretty much the same way it would in your own kitchen (although perhaps on a somewhat larger scale!) Eggs and flour are measured, weighed and combined with other ingredients in an industrial sized mixer, beat to form a perfectly creamy batter….

 …. poured into cupcake tins, popped into the oven, and baked to golden perfection.

 Now is when the fun part begins!

The cupcakes are flipped bottoms-up. Using a cookie cutter, the excess cake is trimmed off the sides. This will form the body of the frog.

Next, they are topped with a dollop of specially prepared pink butter cream. Don’t worry, although this pink icing gets completely concealed in the next step, it has an important job later!

 

The cupcakes are given a quick dip in a green-fondant bath and emerge transformed.

Bakers Tip:

Poured fondant is available in baking supply stores and is  easy to use.

Heat the fondant and add some green food coloring and you’re good to go.

The weird white lumps of cupcake are beginning to look like frogs!

 With precision, a small cut is made into the top of the frog to reveal the pink icing and form the frog’s mouth. Four small dabs of black and white icing and the frogs have eyes, a swish of red icing and the tongue appears….

…..and they’re complete! So what’s the consensus? Too cute to eat?

 

Eats ‘N Crafts

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When I attended Kosherfest this year, it was with intention of finding new and exciting products  to pass on to my readers.

To my delight, I encountered  the Paskesz candy company  first. Right away, I knew I was off to a good start!  Once again Paskesz has put on the market a new and original candy that’s sure to be a big hit. For one who  enjoys  creative  food crafting , these new  Eats ‘n Crafts are a winner for you! (Not to mention they taste great too!)

Edible lanyard, lacing cookies, weaving, pom poms… the ideas are endless. The  following  are some actual samples that I have tried. (Some have instructions, while others are pictures only.)

Remember- the sky’s the limit and let your child’s imagination soar!

Eats ‘N Crafts is available at your local supermarket or it can be ordered from www.onlykoshercandy.com/

Cookie Lacing

Supplies:

  • Cookie dough
  • Large cookie cutter
  • Straw
  • Eats ‘N Crafts

Directions:

  1. Roll out the cookie dough.
  2. Using  your  cookie cutter, cut out shapes.
  3. Use a straw to make holes for lacing. Move the straw around a little, in a circular motion to enlarge the hole. If the hole closes up during baking,  repoke the hole as soon as you remove the cookis from the oven.

   4. Tie a knot at one end of the Eats ‘N Crafts and begin “stitching” the cookie.

Cookie Weave:

Supplies:

  • Larger size sandwich cookie
  • Melted chocolate
  • Toothpicks
  • Eats ‘N Crafts

Directions:

  1. Open up the sandwich cookie and remove the cream filling.
  2. Place ½ tsp of melted chocolate in the center of one half.
  3. Arrange 12 tooth picks as in photo. Allow to dry completely.
  4. Place another ½ tsp of melted chocolate over the toothpicks.

    5.Cover the cookie with the other half of the cookie. Allow to dry completely

    6. Knot together 8 strands of Eats ‘N Crafts.

    7. Begin weaving  the Eats ‘N Crafts around the cookie, keeping all knots to the back.  When done, tuck the end of the Eats ‘N Crafts   to the back end.

Indian Bead Stitch

Here is a fun, easy and impressive looking design. As a young girl, I used to enjoy doing this with telephone wires.

Supplies:

  • 3 or 4 strands of Eats ‘N Crafts

Directions:

  1. Knot the strands of Eats ‘N Crafts together on one end.

 

Each one of the strands will  “take turns” wrapping the other strands.

   2. Take one strand of the knotted Eats ‘N Crafts and wrap it around the other   strands (about 1”).

3. Next, take another one of   the strands and wrap it around the other strands. Continue until   pattern is complete.  Knot all strands together at the end.

Easy Finger Crocheting

My grandmother taught me to crochet with my fingers when I was 5 or 6 years old. I used basic yarn to make bracelet after bracelet. Learning how to make a crocheted chain is the first step in learning how to crochet. This is a fun and easy stitch to teach young children.

Directions:

1) Make a slip knot at one end of a strand of Eats ‘N Crafts.

2) Place your finger in the knot and pull the longer string to make sure the loop is snug.

  3) Take the longer string and wrap it over your finger, above the loop and around.

4) Carefully bring the bottom loop over the top loop until it is all the way over.

5) Use the longer string to ensure the remaining loop is snug around your finger. The new loop you formed will now be the bottom loop.

6) Repeat the process, pulling the bottom loop over the top loop.

Zipper Stitch

Supplies:

  • 2 strands of Eats ‘N Crafts for core strands (zipper tracks)
  • 1 strand of Eats ‘N Crafts for working strand

Directions:

  1. Tie all strands together at one end.

  2. Turn the working strand over the first core strand and under second core strand toward the right. Pull taut.

  3.Then turn work strand   over the first work strand and under next work strand toward  the left. Pull taut.

 4. Repeat  until  you reach desired length.

 5. Tie a knot at the end.

This post is sponsored by Paskesz.

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

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Photography by Todd Trice

Fun to make and fun to eat, this idea is perfect for that cold, frosty winter day. Design your chocolate on a stick, swirl in boiling hot milk, then watch how it transforms into a luscious, fudgy hot cocoa – Irresistible!

This article appeared last year in Mishpacha Magazine- Family First. The feeback I received was outstanding. Some told me it was the perfect  treat for their freezing cold children after they spent lots of time playing in the snow, others used them as a party favor, while there were those who wrapped up a couple and sent them as a gift.

However you use them, they are sure to bring a warm cozy feeling to the cold winter days up ahead!

Yields: 12

Supplies:

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler, then pour chocolate into small plastic shot glasses.
  2. Decorate with toppings, then place dowel in the center of the chocolate. (Waiting until the chocolate begins to harden (approximately 5 minutes) will make it easier keep the dowel in place.)
  3. Freeze until solid, then remove from shot glasses. (You may have to crack the cup to remove the chocolate.)
  4. When ready to serve, place in boiling hot milk – Enjoy!

Hanukkah Gelt Necklaces

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Gelt Necklaces-where style and tradition meet!

Standing at the Paskez booth at Kosherfest last week, I noticed chocolate Chanukah Gelt in a variety of colorful wrappers.

Always on the lookout for Chanukah party ideas, keepsakes, and crafts, I realized that there was potential for a great craft. Mimicking the Susan  B. Anthony necklace,  I found out that these colorful gelt coins, when paired with a matching chain, make an adorable necklace! They can be made very basic and simple with just string, or for a more detailed activity, you can  create the necklace chain as well, using Jump Rings.
Along this concept,another fun idea is to make keychains for the boys.Either way everyone will walk away from your Chanukah party with sweet memories!

Supplies:

Choose one of the following for a chain:

Directions:

  1. Spread the bail so that it fits over the chocolate coin.
  2. Pinch the bail onto the chocolate coin and thread the chain through the top of the bail.

If you are using the jump rings, simply connect the pieces and attach to the bail.

For an added touch, place the necklace in a small gift box.

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, which means I earn a very small commission if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting EstherO in this way.

 

 

 

 

Fall Tree Cookies

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As we are surrounded by fall’s beautiful foliage outside, how about bringing some color, creativity and fun indoors as well.

Perfect for a long Sunday afternoon – you wont  be”leaf” how much your children will enjoy creating these “tree”ts.

Supplies:

Directions:

1.Roll out the cookie dough (1/4” thick).

2.Using the cookie cutter,  cut out the dough. (You can add some more dough to the bark of the tree to make it larger.)

If you would like to make your tree stand, use a knife to cut a straight edge on the bottom of the trunk before baking.

3. Bake the cookies and allow to cool.

4. Melt the candy melts according to the directions on the package.

5.Use a spoon to smear melted candy melts on the top part of the tree.

6. Sprinkle fruity pebbles on top. Allow to dry.

7. Melt the chocolate  in a double boiler or microwave.

8. Dip the trunk of the tree into the chocolate.

If you would like the cookie to stand on the plate, place ½ tsp of melted chocolate on the plate. Position the cookie on the melted chocolate and put a small , heavy object behind the tree to hold in place until it is completely dry.

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, which means I earn a very small commission if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting EstherO in this way.

 

 

 

 

Edible Artist Pallete Mishloach Manos

Photography by Dan Engongoro

This artistically designed “Palette” is bursting with color, and sure to delight both young and old. Though somewhat time consuming to prepare (although I do provide suggestions for short cuts), it is not as hard as looks!

Supplies

  • Plastic artist palette (available at craft stores)
  • Chocolate disc mold (size according to palette)
  • Paint brush
  •  Assorted color foil wrappers
  • Simchas Purim label (available at omg design.com)
  • 6 plain cupcakes (*SHORTCUT-purchase them from your local bakery)
  • Wilton fondant – 6 colors*
  • 2 ½ inch. round cookie cutter
  • 6 pack plastic muffin holder
  • 1 Fiji Artesian water bottle-500 ML
  • 16×20 cellophane bag
  • 3 different color raffia- 1 yard each
  • Low temperature glue gun

Directions for chocolate palette:

  1. Make chocolates molds  and wrap in foil. (*SHORTCUT-Purchase truffles at your local candy store)
  2. Glue foil wrapped chocolate in place using a glue gun.
  3. Add finishing touches by placing label in the center of the palette and gluing paintbrush in place .

Directions for decorating cupcakes:

  1. Roll out fondant-cut circles with the cookie cutter (each color makes approx 8 circles)
  2. Cover the cupcakes ( no additional icing necessary).
  3. Place decorated cupcakes in muffin holder.
  4. Using a glue gun to secure water bottle on far left corner of the cover.
  5. Position palette so that it is leaning against the water bottle and glue in place. Hold in place till dry.
  6. Carefully place in cellophane bag.
  7. Gather and staple cellophane at either side and in the center.
  8. Form bows out of raffia and glue over staples

*Wilton fondant is sold in many vibrant colors. It is sold 4 colors per box.

This article by EstherO. originally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine.

Edible Snowmen

Though we have not had any significant snow yet, this snow themed project will bring that wintery, snowy feeling to your home.  This activity is perfect for all ages, and the best part… there’s no shoveling required!

Supplies:

  • Mini  Francoz  powder donuts
  • Chocolate Sandwich cookies
  • Mini  chocolate sandwich cookies
  • Orange jelly sticks
  • Sour belts
  • Melted chocolate
  • Skewers
  • Edible sugar eyes (baking supplies store)or mini chocolate chips

Directions

1)Place 2 donuts on a skewer.

2)Use a drop of melted chocolate to stick the large and mini sandwich cookie together to form a hat.

3)To attach the hat, gently push the end of the skewer through the tiny hole in the center of the cookies.

4)Using a toothpick, place a little bit of the melted chocolate under the bottom donut to prevent the snowman from slipping down. Allow to dry.

5)For the nose, place jelly stick in the top donut hole.

6)For the scarf, cut a sour belt into long thin strips-just enough so that you can tie the scarf.

7)”Glue” the eyes on with the melted chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

Grape “Pineapple” Centerpiece

With Tu B’shvat just around the corner, here’s a fun idea the whole family can help prepare in honor of Tu B’shvat. With minimal preparation, you can create an original and eye catching centerpiece.

Supplies

  • One large bag of Grapes
  • Toothpicks
  • 6 inch green styrofoam ball
  • Bunch of Leaves – joined together at the bottom with hard plastic/wire (see picture) available at craft stores
  • A wide mouthed vase or candlestick to be used as a base to hold “pineapple”
  • Fake green grass or moss (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Chisel down the sides of the styrofoam ball to create an oval shape ( shape of a pineapple).
  2. Stick the pointy end of the “leaf bunch” into the top of the styrofoam.
  3. Break toothpicks in half.
  4. Starting from the top, working your way around in a circle, fill the styrofoam with grapes attached with  toothpicks.
  5. For a finished look, put fake grass or moss under the “pineapple”.
  6. Place “pineapple” on top of vase/candlestick.

 

 

 

Pudding “Coke”

This adorable snack is loads of fun to create. It is both delightful to look at and delicious to eat.  There’s no secret recipe for this “coke”, so get the kids in the kitchen and let the fun begin.

Coke Glasses

Supplies:

  • Chocolate pudding
  • Glasses or hard plastic cups (coke glasses  available at Dollar Tree -2 for a dollar)
  • Straw
  • Whipping Topping
  • Pastry bag or Freezer Ziploc
  • Star tip

Directions:

  1. Make chocolate pudding following directions on package.
  2. Pour the pudding into the cups and allow to set while preparing whipping cream.
  3. Prepare pastry bag with tip.
  4. Swirl whipping cream starting from the outer rim using circular motion forming  peak at the center.
  5. Place straw in “Coke”.

Recipe for Whipping Cream

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces whip topping
  • 4 TBSP confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Beat whip cream till stiff.
  2.  Add confectioners sugar and vanilla extract. Beat for 30 seconds till combined.

Hanukkah Candy Menorah

I found these sleek looking shot glasses in a number of discount stores. Lined up neatly, they can create a simple, yet striking (and certainly sweet) centerpieces for your Hanukkah party.When purchasing the shot glasses, stick with something simple. The simpler the glass, the more dramatic the projects will look.

Candy Menorah

The pearl candies used in this Menorah come in a large variety of colors. Color coordinate your “Menorah” to match your partys’ color scheme.

Supplies

Directions

1.Layer candy pearls in shot glasses.

2.Using kitchen shears, cut a flame shape out of the fruit slices.

3.Place flames on toothpicks and insert into the candy pearls.

4.Line up all the shot glasses in a neat row (place on tray if desired)For the “Shamash”, raise the center glass by placing it on a glass tea light holder (turned upside down).

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, which means I earn a very small commission if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting EstherO in this way.