Last week, I promised the kids we would make Banana Ghosts. I bought my white chocolate and bananas and chocolate chips.
I cannot recall where I first saw them but I had made chocolate covered fruit and pretzels before and so I did not do any research before diving in.
At least you can learn from my #craftfail because at the end I will tell you what finally worked!
I am not particularly crafty. No, really. I am an educator who is a kid at heart and has great faith in the power of play and art.
Believe me when I say that my five year old daughter makes more professional-looking crafts than I do. Of course, she may one day be an artisan.
What I am good at is creating or expanding on projects that facilitate learning and development.
So, along with the successful craft experiences I set-up for the kids, we also have the more than occasional spectacular crash and burn (although no one actually gets burned because I am very particular about safety).
Back to the Banana Ghosts…
First, I ignored my instincts to use a double boiler and ended up with brown, caramelized sugar when I cooked the entire bar of white chocolate in the microwave too long.
Back to the grocery store.
I searched a little and landed on Amy’s teach mama post for “Super Easy, Super Spooky Halloween Treats“.
So, I tried again in the microwave and melted, stirred, melted a little more, stirred…and it melted but was still a bit too thick. I added (cold) milk. I know…I know…I wasn’t thinking. Of course, the whole thing crystallized into sugar. At least it was still white this time!
This time I was smart and only used half a bag of white chips. So, I still had half a bag and tried again. It worked. Kind of.
They were tasty, at least.
The kids approved enough to want to make them again. And my daughter encouragingly said, “That’s okay mommy. They were yummy, anyway. And I’m sure you’ll do better next time!”
So, we bought another bag of chips and this time I thought about it a little and came up with this (most photos are from our earlier, failed attempts):
- 3 banana
- 1/2 bag of white chocolate chips (or white melting chocolate)
- 1 tsp. butter
- chocolate chips or “confetti” sprinkles
- wax paper
- plastic wrap
1. Cut your bananas in half. Don’t give your three year old a knife or he will cut the banana into many tiny pieces. Or do. Just make sure you have extra bananas. Stick a Popsicle stick in the bottom part of each of the cut bananas. Wrap the bananas in plastic wrap and freeze for about 30 minutes to an hour.
2. In a shallow, wide, microwave-safe bowl, melt the chips and butter on 50% power for one (1) minute. Stir. If the chips are still solid, try again for 15 minutes (on 50% power!), stir.
3. If the mixture is smooth but too thick, add HOT water, a little at a time, to dilute the mixture.
4. Carefully roll the bananas in the white chocolate. You may need to use a spoon to spread the chocolate over the banana. If you are doing this with a three year old, you may lose some of the bananas right away to snacking.
5. Add eyes and a nose using the regular chocolate chips or the confetti sprinkles. You could also add raisins if you prefer (or if you want to delude yourself into thinking it will make the treat healthier).
6. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours or you can put in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour again if you want to be able to eat it faster.
Well, if you mess up like I did, you learn all about the chemical reactions of sugar to heat!
With my young children, we just left this as a cooking activity. With older children, though, you might want some more in-depth exploration:
- History/Culture: What are “ghosts”? Is the concept of a wandering spirit found in other cultures? What do various cultures believe happen to the souls of the departed?
- Language Arts: Discuss oral traditions. Why do people still pass along stories through telling them? What types of stories are still passed along this way? How does story-telling affect the story? Try telling age-appropriate ghost stories. Experiment with different stories and techniques of telling the stories. Do pauses make the story more frightening? Does lighting matter?
Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Home Arts, Taste · Tags: Cooking with Kids, Dia de los Muertos, Ghosts, Halloween, Kids in the Kitchen, Storytelling