Dessert Map

Cookie Map (5)

Maps were a big topic in Travis’s First Grade classroom last year, so as he transitions off to Second Grade, we decided to put a delicious endnote on the curriculum. This cookie dough map not only offered a little late summer learning, but made for a delicious dessert, too!

To start, prepare the dough from two boxes of chocolate chip cookie mix. You can also use refrigerated dough from the store or your favorite homemade recipe. Either way, it’s a great excuse to bake together!

Travis helped press the first batch of dough down onto the a baking sheet as a giant island.

Cookie Map (1)

He then used the second batch of dough to make topographical features, constructing mounds that could be mountains or hills and adding smaller cookie “islands” along the rim of the sheet. Bake according to package directions.

Cookie Map (2)

Once the cookie cooled, it was time to add a few more geographical features. Chocolate sauce was perfect for oceans, rivers, and mountain lakes. Travis got a bit impish with this step, drowning his land in goopy syrup.

Cookie Map (3)

He wanted to add chocolate sprinkles, too, which were more for fun than a specific geographical element. Perhaps they were plants or people on his island! Either way, it was time to dig in for the delicious result.

Cookie Map (4)

Note: Because this cookie is likely to be much thicker than a standard cookie (thanks to all those mountains!), you may find that it doesn’t bake all the way through. You can also expect the mountains to spread down and out as the cookie bakes. As a result, we found that the most delicious part was our edges and low-lying islands, while the rest was really more for fun than for eating.

Cookie Map (6)

Banana Nice-Cream Sundae

A base of frozen bananas makes this decadent “ice cream” sundae almost healthy. The same can’t necessarily be said of the toppings, though!

To start, peel and chop 4 bananas and freeze. Transfer the banana pieces to a blender and puree until smooth, along with 2 to 3 tablespoons water.

We spooned the banana “ice cream” into bowls, then set up a buffet bar of toppings! Travis and Veronika chose from a mix of: chocolate rice cereal, non-dairy whipped cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and maraschino cherries. Kids can pile on the works, or just pick their favorites.

If you want to stick with healthier toppings and the fresh fruit theme, try adding raspberries or other berries instead. Thanks to High Five magazine for this delicious idea!

Blueberry Granita

This fresh fruit sorbet is the perfect treat on a summer day!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup lemonade
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze.
  2. Every two hours or so, scrape with a fork, then return to the freezer. Ours was the perfect consistency after about 8 hours.

Broiled Pineapple with Vanilla Yogurt

The contrast between warm broiled pineapple and frozen vanilla yogurt makes this dessert a treat for the senses!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup non-dairy vanilla yogurt
  • 2 cups pineapple, cubed
  1. Spoon the yogurt into a freezer-safe dish and freeze for one hour. Stir, then freeze for an additional 30 minutes or so.
  2. Meanwhile, arrange the pineapple cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, to desired tenderness. The edges should be lightly browned.
  3. Spoon the frozen yogurt over the warm pineapple. For maximum contrast in temperature, this dish is best served immediately.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Pie

Cookie Icebox Pie (3)

This chilled dessert feels just right on a hot night, just layers of vegan whipped topping and chocolate chip cookies. For something truly decadent, use double the ingredients listed below, and repeat the layers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) container frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
  • 6 ounces vegan chocolate chip cookies
  • Mini chocolate chips, for garnish
  1. Spread half of the whipped topping in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Top with the cookies, breaking into smaller pieces as necessary to evenly cover the surface.
  2. Top with the remaining whipped topping. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 6 hours, and up to 12 hours.
  3. Just before serving, decorate the rim of the pie with mini chocolate chips.

Cookie Icebox Pie (2)

Orange Coconut Sorbet

Orange Sorbet (2)

This icy treat is a cinch to make, with just three ingredients and a little time in the freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  1. Combine the orange juice, coconut milk, and agave in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze. Every 2 hours or so, fluff with a fork and then return to the freezer until the mixture reaches desired consistency. We loved ours after about 8 hours, when it was almost like an orange slush. Give it closer to 10 or 12 hours for a smoother sorbet.

Vanilla Maple Rice Pudding

Here’s the perfect warm dessert for those evenings that need just a little dose of extra coziness.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups plain unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • Blueberries, for serving (optional)
  1. Combine the soy milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in an oven-proof pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then stir in the rice.
  2. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven; bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring about halfway through.
  3. Serve warm, with blueberries on the side if desired!

Little Passports: Israel

LP Israel (9)

Travis latest package from Little Passports was all about Israel; the activities for this particular country were less hands-on than previous packages he’s received. Still, Travis is always excited for the latest from “Sam and Sofia”!

LP Israel (1)

Through the booklet, he learned about ancient artifacts that have been found in Israel, sea creatures of the Red Sea, shuk shopping markets, and more. Most were age-appropriate for a 1st grader except a tough mystery to solve using Hebrew letter characters.

LP Israel (7)

Souvenir:

I wish Travis had received this particular kit back in December, because the souvenir was a game of dreidel, complete with a spinning top and a set of felt gold coins. Even though it wasn’t Hanukkah, Travis loved playing a few rounds!

LP Israel (2)

Further Activities:

Of course next we needed to color in the flag of Israel, and there was also a coloring page to teach about the holiday of Tu B’Shvat (new years for the trees), which Travis colored quite carefully.

LP Israel alt

Next up was a science experiment to see what salt does to objects in water, as with the salty Dead Sea. The original instructions were to do this activity with an egg, but we used carrots to make it vegan. Fill each of 2 glass cups with 3/4 cup warm water. Add 1 baby carrot to the first cup. Ker-plop, it sinks!

LP Israel (5)

Next, add 1/4 cup salt to the second cup, stirring until it dissolves. We added a second baby carrot… and it floats!

LP Israel (6)

From here, we turned to Little Passport’s blog for a DIY Hanukkah Menorah. To start, cut a large paper plate in half, then mark 8 notches at the top with blue marker. Use the marker to connect these, so you have a series of increasingly smaller U shapes.

Next, we colored 9 clothespins with blue marker and decorated with silver glitter glue; let dry, then twist a small piece of yellow or gold pipe cleaner and use hot glue to attach to the open end of each clothespin. Cut a small paper plate in half; make slits in each half, as well as two slits in the bottom of the larger plate so they notch together to form a stand. Finally, attach the clothespins as the candles!

LP Israel (8)

Recipe:

It was time to end the exploration with dessert. We prepared a recipe for traditional Hamantaschen, a triangle-shaped pastry eaten during the holiday of Purim. Pinching the cookies into triangles took a bit of practice, but soon we had a knack for it!

Hamantaschen (2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons Earth Balance butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup jam, any flavor
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and orange juice.
  3. Whisk the flaxseed into the warm water to make 1 flax egg. Add to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to make circles. Spoon a scant tablespoon of jam into the center of each, then pinch the dough into a triangle, forming three corners with your fingers.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 18 minutes. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Hamantaschen (3)

Apple Pear Crisp

Apple Pear Crisp (1)This easy dessert lets the natural sweetness of the fruit shine. Serve with your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream if your kids like their dessert served a la mode!

Ingredients:

  • 3 pears
  • 3 apples
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance butter
  • Cooking spray
  1. Peel, core, and thinly slice the pears and apples; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, vanilla, flour, oats, and butter.
  3. Spoon the fruit into a 13×9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, then top evenly with the brown sugar mixture. Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes and let cool slightly before serving.

Apple Pear Crisp (2)

Chocolate Pomegranate Dip

Chocolate Pomegranate Dip (2)

Sneak a little pomegranate into your family’s repertoire with this yummy snack dip!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dairy-free chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 and 1/2 cups oat milk
  • 1 cup non-dairy sour cream
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  1. Combine the pudding mix and oat milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until blended.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and beat to combine. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill for 1 hour.

Chocolate Pomegranate Dip (1)

We love this served with fresh fruit like orange segments for dipping! You can also dunk in slices of pound cake. Or just eat it up with a spoon!

Chocolate Pomegranate Dip (3)