food

How to be an epic dad this Christmas.

You’ll enjoy yourself.  I promise.

If you’re anything like me, Christmas is a glorious challenge.

All the people and things you love competing for your attention and time.  Not a bad problem to have.

One temptation is to be a bit old school.

We all know this one – the well deserved ‘me’ time – catching up for some beers with old mates, reminiscing with cousins, watching the Boxing Day test, social media, fiddling about on the iPad, reading a book.  All good stuff.

The trick to a happy, well rounded Christmas is balance.

Simple to say – harder to do.

Last year I discovered a way to:

  1. Win mega brownie points.
  2. Do something fun with the kids.
  3. Do something a little bit different, and completely in keeping with the season.

Nippers LOVE to cook.

More than likely, the missus loves to see you cook.

And best of all, you’ll enjoy yourself.  I promise.

Along with my friends at MyFoodBag.com.au, I’ve come up with three recipes, each a little more complicated than the last.

Pick one that suits your skill level, make sure you delegate as much as you can to your kids.

And let me know how you go.

For the novice.

Fruit Santa Sticks

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Ready in: 5 minutes

What you'll need:

Green grapes

Banana, peeled and sliced

Strawberries, stem removed

Mini marshmallows

Bamboo skewers

How:

1. Wash grapes and strawberries and pat-dry with a paper towel.

2. Thread skewers with one grape, one slice of banana, one strawberry and one mini marshmallow.

For the bloke who can heat stuff up in a microwave.

Christmas chocolate cherries

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ready in:  25 minutes

What you'll need:

200g cherries

200g chocolate, broken into small pieces

How:

Line a tray with baking paper.

1. Wash cherries and pat-dry with a paper towel.

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2. Transfer chocolate to a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir. Continue heating in 20 second intervals, stirring as required.

3. Pick up cherries by the stem and dip into the bowl of melted chocolate. Transfer chocolate dipped cherries to prepared tray. Repeat with remaining cherries and chocolate.

4. Refrigerate chocolate dipped cherries for 10-12 minutes, until chocolate is firm. Keep chilled until serving.

For the bloke who can heat stuff up in an oven.

Christmas tree brownies

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ready in: 1 ½ hours

What you'll need:

Brownies

1 ½ cups sugar

2/3 cup cocoa powder

½ cup plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 eggs

180g butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla

Decorations

75g white chocolate, broken into small pieces

4 candy canes, chopped into 2cm pieces

Red and green M&M’s or Smarties

How:

Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease and line a 20cm x 28cm baking tin with baking paper.

1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, plain flour and baking powder. Add the eggs, butter and vanilla, stirring well to combine.

2. Pour brownie mixture into prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

3. To cut brownies into Christmas trees, use a sharp knife to divide the cooled tray into three rows lengthways. Cut each row into triangles.

4. Transfer white chocolate to a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir. Continue heating in 20 second intervals, stirring as required. Spoon melted chocolate to a snap lock bag with the corner snipped.

5. Decorate each triangle with a candy cane for a trunk, white chocolate tinsel and M&M or Smartie ornament balls.

What do you love doing with the kids at this time of the year?

Want more? Try:

Parents, sun safety rules have changed.

These 21 Christmas baking fails on Pinterest will crack you up.

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