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Food & Health

Fun Baking Ideas for Christmas!

The school holidays are here! If you have extra time on your hands for some parent-child bonding, try out these festive treat ideas in preparation for Christmas!

Snowman Cake Pops

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Sponge cake
White candy melts (to melt as coating)
Black confetti sprinkles / Chocolate chips
Orange sunflower seeds
Black edible ink pen
Regular Oreos & Miniature Oreos
Styrofoam block

After you’ve baked/bought a cake and cut them into pops, decorate them with these steps:
1) Separate Oreos and remove the creme center. Use some of the melted coating to attach the miniature Oreo to the regular size Oreo half and set aside.
2) Dip the cake pops and while the coating is still wet, attach the sunflower seed nose and the Oreo hat and let dry.
3) Then attach the confetti sprinkle eyes by dotting on a small amount of coating with a toothpick and attach the sprinkles.
4) Draw the mouths with the edible ink pen and let dry standing in a styrofoam block.

Santa Hat Brownies

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Yields 12-16 brownies
1 pan of your favourite brownies, cooled and cut into desired size and shape (round cutter used above)
12-16 small strawberries, cleaned and hulled
Vanilla-Mascarpone Buttercream

Recipe for buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
Method: Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and mascarpone cheese until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and salt. Add 2-1/2 cups of sugar, half a cup at a time and continue beating until smooth. Add more sugar, if needed to reach desired consistency and sweetness.

Directions for decorating brownies:
1) To assemble, pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream on top of each brownie.
2) Cut off the base of a strawberry so it is flat and place it upside down on each brownie, pushing slightly to secure in place.
3) Top the tip of the strawberry with a dot of buttercream to finish the santa hat.

Santa Face Cookies

Santa shaped cookies
Red piping and flood icing
Medium and stiff white piping icing
Flesh-coloured twenty-second icing
Black candy beads
Pink petal or lustre dust

1) Begin by outlining the hat and beard.
2) Use twenty-second icing to create a face.
3) Immediately drop in two candy beads for eyes, then fill the hat.
4) Let the cookies dry for 4-5 hours, then move on the the next steps.
5) Fill Santa’s beard and add a nose and wait for about an hour before moving on.
6) Use the stiff white icing and a thinner tip to add furry accents to the hat.
7) Use the medium white piping icing to add eyebrows and let the cookie dry completely.
8) Use petal dust and a very small brush to rosy up Santa’s cheeks a little.
9) To finish up, use the stiff white icing and star tip to add a moustache. Start in the middle under his nose and drag the tip out, then, do the very same thing on the other side. Let dry completely.

Pretzel M&M Hugs

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70 square pretzels
70 Hershey’s Hugs chocolates (about 1 full 12 oz package), unwrapped
70 Milk Chocolate M&M’s (red and green Christmas edition)

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
2) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
3) Align pretzels on cookie sheet in a single layer then top each pretzel with one Hershey’s Hug chocolate.
4) Bake in preheated oven for 4 – 5 minutes, until the chocolate is shiny and soft (but not melting, the chocolates should still hold their shape).
5) Remove from oven and carefully place one M&M in the center of each soft Hershey’s Hug and press down on M&M to spread the chocolate.
6) Place in refrigerator and allow to rest until chocolate has set for about 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Reindeer

Large Marshmallows
Lollipop sticks, popsicle sticks, or pretzel sticks
Melting Chocolate
Cinnamon dots or red-coloured jellybeans
Small Pretzels
Pearl Sprinkles (or other candies for the eyes)
Foam block

1) Prepare your assembly line! Break the pretzels in half and get the sprinkle and candy ready. Put the marshmallows on the stick, and push them into the foam block. 
2) Score the top of the marshmallows to make it easier to stick the antlers in. Once your assembly line is set, it’s time to melt your chocolate.
3) Place chocolate melts or chocolate chips in a microwaveable glass bowl. Microwave on high at 20-30 second intervals, stirring each time until chocolate is just melted, but not too hot.
4) Dip a marshmallow into the chocolate, covering it entirely. Use the backside of a spoon to smooth out the side and top, and to remove any excess. Place it back into the foam block and repeat the process on the next marshmallow.
5) After about five or six marshmallows, add the pretzel antlers, by gently inserting them into the scored parts of the marshmallows, and hold them for a few seconds to make sure they are secure.
6) For the nose and eyes, you can either add them when the chocolate is still wet, or finish the whole batch, then dab some melted chocolate onto each piece and attach it to the marshmallow to make the face.
7) Once they are completely dry, tie a small piece of ribbon around the stick like a scarf.

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