My son had a Minecraft themed birthday party back in September, and now my daughter wants one, too! This means I’ll need to come up with some new ideas for Minecraft treats, decorations, and activities. Since I know other parents are looking for similar stuff, I’ll post what I find here. Maybe it will help you with your Minecraft kids, too!
I found this Minecraft cookie cutter set today! I think it will be great for birthday treats, although the decorating will be a bit tricky. The shapes aren’t necessarily recognizable without the colored icing in the right places. Well, except for the Creeper face cookie. I’m pretty sure that will be easy enough.
The cookie cutters are $19.99 at ThinkGeek right now. Let me know if you get them, and how you do the decorating.
Hello, friends! Recently, I threw a Minecraft birthday party for my son, featuring dirt and grass blocks made from crispy cereal. Here is the recipe for those treats, which were delicious, and which scored highly on the Minecraft cred scale with the kids. Enjoy!
1/2 stick margarine
Large box of chocolate Rice Krispies or Cocoa Pebbles (about 8 cups, I think)
2 regular-sized bags of small marshmallows
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup chocolate chips
green icing in a can
green sugar sprinkles
Pam or other cooking oil spray
13 x 9 inch cake pan
In a large nonstick pot, melt the margarine and marshmallows over medium-low heat, stirring so the marshmallows don’t burn. Mix in the corn syrup and keep stirring. Once the mixture is smooth, turn off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips until they’re completely melted and combined.
Add most of the cereal and fold it into the marshmallow mixture. I think I used about 8-10 cups of the cereal, which ended up being the whole box. You want the treats to be chewy, but not so squishy that they won’t hold a cube shape.
Grease the cake pan by rubbing the margarine wrapper all over the inside of the pan, or spray with Pam. Then pour the cereal mixture into the pan and spread it out evenly. It might help to spray some Pam onto your spoon or spatula, and use that to pack the mixture down into the pan. You want to press it down pretty well so there aren’t any big air pockets.
Allow the “cake” to cool to room temperature.
Decorating the treats
Place a cutting board over the top of the cake pan. Hold it in place and flip the whole thing over. Set it on the counter and tap on the bottom of the pan until the whole thing falls out onto the cutting board. Remove the cake pan and use a knife to cut the treats into squares/cubes.
Use your fingers to squeeze the treats into cube shapes and then roll the sides into the chocolate sprinkles. Don’t put sprinkles on the top of the cubes, because we’re going to put frosting on that part.
Use the green icing with the serrated tip (it looks like zig-zags) to make pointy tufts of frosting on top, to look like grass. Sprinkle some of the green sugar on top of the frosting for a little extra sparkle.
Perhaps I get an abnormal amount of satisfaction from a well-done geek project. I also get an unusual amount of satisfaction from a great chocolate chip cookie. This project made me extremely happy, appealing to both my scientific side, and my… well, chocolate side.
I do not have the privilege of knowing Meg Hourihan personally, but I can tell that we would get along! She writes a food blog at megnut.com, and during a recent recipe search, this post caught my eye: A Mean Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Intrigued, I decided to give the recipe a glance. What I found was a wonderful fusion of geekery and bakery.
Meg, a self-described “Food Enthusiast,” had embarked upon a quest to find THE best chocolate chip cookie. She solicited suggestions, and received more recipes than she could use. To simplify her work, she narrowed the list of recipes down to a dozen contenders.
Then, like any good geek, she made a spreadsheet of the recipes. She converted all of the measurements to base 10, averaged the preparation techniques, chilling times, oven temperatures, baking times, etc. She came up with a formula for a “mean” (averaged, get it?) chocolate chip cookie. You can see the complete recipe on her blog. It is quite brilliant.
So, how did the cookies taste? After doing all of the mathematical calculations, measuring, mixing, chilling, and baking (13.04 minutes at 354.17°F), Meg sampled her creation, and declared…
The first bite revealed a cookie crispy around the rim, warm and chewy on the inside. A few hours later, they were firmer, but still tasty. The best chocolate chip cookies ever? I’m not sure, but I baked A Mean Chocolate Chip Cookie. And that’s enough for me.
A happy ending to a unique kitchen adventure! I say, “thank you!” to Meg for her contribution to the canon of kitchen geekery.
What is SPAM good for? Well, it may be an acquired taste, but before “spam” became an online nuisance, it was a food. Remember? And while some snooty foodies will heap ridicule upon those of us lowbrow commoners who consider SPAM a legitimate ingredient, I have to say to anyone who is judging SPAM by its reputation alone, “Try it. You might like it.” Seriously!
For example, here is a photo of some delicious fried rice I made the other day. Maybe I’ll call it SPAM Rice Royale, or something else that sounds tempting and exotic. See the lovely, tender onions and green peppers? The authentic leftover steamed Japanese white rice? Notice the beautifully browned SPAM cubes? That’s the secret! The SPAM must be diced and browned, so that at least two sides of the cubes are carmelized and a bit crisp. That’s what makes this such a tasty treat!
Additionally, I sprinkle the rice with a little bit of seasoned salt, garlic powder, fresh ground pepper, and a splash of Kikkoman shoyu (soy sauce). And if it were up to me, I’d also add some carrots and frozen peas, but Hubby doesn’t eat those. And since I’m so nice, I usually leave them out.
And there you have it. GeekMom’s SPAM Rice Royale. For the record, Hubby is a picky eater, and he had seconds for dinner, and took the rest to work for lunch the next day. Try it. You might like it!
Making a perfect pie crust is a skill that can take years to perfect. How can something made from such simple ingredients be so difficult to master? I don’t know! That’s why I always buy pre-made crusts! But this year, I am going to figure out the magic and mystery behind homemade pie crust.
I have gathered some helpful video tutorials on pie crust making, along with some highly-rated recipes, and put them all together on this page. I’ve included video from Alton Brown and Cat Cora, as well as some home cooks.
It’s amazing how you can conjure such a delicious, tender, flaky, golden, crispy, soft, beautiful crust from just flour, fat, salt, and water. Sure, some people add extra stuff, but the basics are always the same. I’ve never had great success with pie crust. Maybe it’s because I’m too impatient to mix the cold fat with the flour properly. Or maybe it’s because my hands are always warm, so the dough gets sticky and overworked. I don’t know. But I hope I can figure it out this season. Otherwise, it’s back to the frozen crusts for good!