By Carla Solomon

What could be better on a Sunday afternoon than cupcakes? That’s exactly what my 11 year old granddaughter, Ariela, requested last weekend. These were quick and easy to make, so she still had plenty of time to go to the skating rink with her friends. Here is the recipe (I helped with the frosting to make sure she didn’t burn herself) :

Follow recipe on cake mix package and bake as directed for cupcakes. I line a cupcake pan with paper liners and spray them with vegetable spray to make them easier to remove from the paper. Check carefully so as not to overbake them.

While cupcakes are cooling, make frosting.

“Seven Minute” or Marshmallow Frosting:
l-l/2 cups white sugar
l/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 egg whites
l/2 cup water
l/2 teaspoon salt
l teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all of the ingredients in the top of a double boiler. Mix for about 1 minute before placing on top of boiling water. Make sure the water does not touch the double boiler. Beat until medium peaks form, at least 7 minutes. Take top off of boiling water and beat another minute or two until frosting is thick and shiny.

Dip cooled cupcakes in frosting or swirl with a large spoon, covering the entire cupcake. Add coconut
if desired and garnish with a cherry. You may also garnish chocolate cupcakes with a sprinkle of cocoa powder and/or shaved chocolate.

Low Fat Zucchini Chocolate Muffins

My friend Elana gave me this recipe and she was right that the kids can make them but they are good enough for adults to enjoy as well. At only 92 calories each these are worth making.


1/3 cup boiling water
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola is good!)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, pour boiling water over zucchini. Add all other ingredients and stir just until well combined. Line muffin pans with paper muffin cups, and use a 1/4 cup measure to pour batter into cups. Bake for 30 minutes. Yields 18 muffins.

Number of Servings: 18

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie


Here’s a recipe for kids that combines that perennial favorite peanut butter and jelly. I must have had a deprived childhood because I actually don’t like peanut butter and jelly but I don’t want to let my taste preferences get in the way and some of my kids really enjoy it.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie

1 store-bought 9-inch graham cracker crumb pie crust
½ cup strawberry or raspberry jam or preserves
¾ cup pareve whip
1-1/2 cups tofutti cream cheese
¾ cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar

Spread jam over crust and freeze until firm – about ½ hour. Whip the pareve whip on high until stiff peaks form. Beat the cream cheese and peanut butter in a separate bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar, then fold in whip. Spoon this mixture into the waiting crust and smooth the top. Cover. Freeze or refrigerate until ready to serve. If frozen, remove to room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Decorate with drizzled chocolate or roasted peanuts if desired.

Yummy Kid’s Cookie

5 egg whites
2 cups confectioners sugar
4 1/2 cups cereal (cornflakes or rice krispies)
1/2 cup coconut
1 bag chocolate chips

Beat egg whites until stiff. Mix in all other ingredients. Refrigerate batter for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place 2 tablespoons batter for each cookie on cookie sheet leaving space between cookies (about 12 per tray). Bake for 13 minutes.

Linzer Cookies


Two of my children (it was a group effort) made these beautiful cookies for Yom Tov. They look very professional – and taste good too!! They only require the time and patience to roll out and cut the dough – better for kids, harder for busy moms! For easier shaper, you can purchase special Linzer cookie cutters at

Linzer Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/4 cups flour
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup raspberry or strawberry preserves
Confectioner’s sugar

Cream together margarine and sugar. Beat in egg then remaining ingredients. Continue beating until well mixed. Form the dough into two balls and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 ball of dough and cut out whole shapes. Place on prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, roll out 2nd ball of dough and cut out shapes with a design in the middle. Bake. Roll remaining scraps of dough together and make a few additional cookies.
Once cookies have cooled, spread a thin layer of preserves across whole cookie. Top with cookie with hole in the middle. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Chocolate Chip Pie


I know that this is an easy recipe for kids because mine just made it. It’s a great Succos dessert and especially delicious warm with vanilla ice cream, either pareve or dairy. This recipe can easily be doubled – and in fact I recommend it!

Chocolate Chip Pie
2 eggs
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 store-bought graham cracker pie crust

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Blend all ingredients in a kitchen aid or with a hand mixer. Don’t worry if there are a few clumps of margarine. Pour into crust and bake 30 to 45 minutes until top is brown. Cool on wire rack if you can wait that long to try it!

Date Bars

Makes 16
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups chopped pitted dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted margarine diced, room temperature


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8×8-inch metal baking pan. Bring 1 ½ cups water to simmer in medium saucepan. Add dates; simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.

Combine flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl; stir to blend. Add margarine. Using fingertips, rub in until moist clumps form. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread date mixture over. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture; press gently to adhere. Bake until brown at edge and golden brown and set in center, about 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into bars and serve.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes


1 box of 12 flat-bottomed ice cream cones
1 yellow or chocolate cake mix
Vanilla or chocolate icing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set cones inside muffin pans. Prepare mix according to package directions and pour into cones. Bake for about 30 minutes (check package) and cook on wire rack before removing from pan. When cones are completely cool, spread icing over top and decorate with sprinkles.

Fruit Filled Ice cubes for kids and Coffee Ice Cubes for Mommy’s Iced Coffee

When fruits are to be frozen in the cubes, fill the tray one-third full with water, then partially freeze. Add the fruit then freeze. This will hold the fruit in position. Then add water until the tray is about three-fourths full and finish freezing.
Any pure food coloring can be used to color ice cubes by adding to the water before it is poured into the tray. Be sure to use the right amount of coloring, for delicate tints are always more attractive.
Garnished cubes should be frozen slowly to prevent expansion and cloudiness.

Decorated Ice Cubes

Mint leaves, watercress, and candied fruit make very delightful decorating material for ice cubes. Simply put them on the ice cubes and add just enough water to freeze into place.
Decorated and garnished cubes should be frozen slowly, by leaving the freezer control on one of the “warmer” positions. Fast freezing causes rapid expansion which destroys the desired attractiveness

And for the best Iced Coffee:

Use cooled leftover coffee or cooled coffee made just for this purpose. Pour into ice cube tray and freeze. Add to iced coffee drink and as they melt in your coffee it will stay concentrated and delicious and not have that watery taste of most iced coffee.

Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Summer’s not quite over yet so here’s an easy – and delicious – project to get you through those last long hot days.

1 large bag of pretzels; pick a shape you prefer (we like the knotted loops)
1 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate
1 cup White Chocolate
1 cup Peanut Butter

Chopped Nuts
Multi-Colored Sprinkles
Chocolate Sprinkles
Mini Chocolate Chips

Melt chocolates separately in microwave (about 2 minutes on high). Stir well. Dip pretzels in chocolate. Coat with topping of your choice. For peanut butter pretzels, melt chocolate and peanut butter together (equal amounts). Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place pretzels on top on waxed paper and refrigerate until set. Then pretzels can be stored carefully in plastic containers. These are a great gift. They are also nice at a vort or shalom zachor – or just for eating!

Fruit Cake

Large seedless watermelon
Other fresh fruit, such as melon balls, kiwi slices, and berries

Start by slicing the watermelon into wedges and then arrange them in a stack of circles (rinds facing out) to create a cake shape, as shown. Decorate the cake with the other fruits.

Breina’s Challah Napkin Rings


We recently admired these napkin rings at a friend’s house Friday night. “My daughter, Breina, made them”, the hostess told us proudly. They tasted as good as they looked and are a great project for tween girls!

Breina’s Challah Napkin Rings

The challah recipe I use is (using a KitchenAid mixer with a bread hook):

7 ½ cup flour
¾ cup sugar
1 pkg rapid-rise yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 cup very hot water
paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls
tin foil
Pam “Baking” spray or other spray pareve “butter”
Cake/cookie decorations
1 more egg

Put the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into the bowl.
Break and check the eggs, putting them into a glass measuring cup.
Add oil to the measuring cup until the total of eggs + oil adds up to 1 cup of liquid.
Add the liquid to the bowl where you have the dry ingredients.
Start the mixer using the bread hook to mix everything together.

As the mixer works, slowly drizzle in the hot water until you have “enough.” (Too much water makes it too sticky, so add it slowly and let it get mixed in.)

Let it mix until it looks good.

Transfer the dough into a glass bowl, and cover it with saran wrap for at least an hour. Depending on weather, it may need longer to rise.

While the dough is rising, prepare the paper towel rolls (toilet paper rolls):
Cover each roll with foil on the outside, folding the excess into the middle of the roll.
Smooth it out so it looks like a silver roll.
Now, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the dough has risen, take three small pieces of dough and roll them between your hands into snakes; then, braid the three snakes together.

Spray one silver roll lightly with the baking spray, and wrap your braided dough snake around the roll. This is the only hard part: on what will be the ‘bottom’ or underside of the napkin ring, you have to join the ends of the snake and mush them together. They can overlap a bit. Tear off any extra braided dough and re-use. You can get at least two snakes onto a toilet paper roll, and at least three on a paper towel roll, possibly more (but avoid putting them too close together, as they will rise).

Place the rolls with the snakes onto a baking sheet heavily dusted with cinnamon.

While they are rising, sprinkle colored baking sugar or other decorations on the snakes.

If you like, once the snakes are on the rolls, you can brush them with an egg wash, which will make the decorations stick better onto the snakes.

Using this recipe, we can make 8 skinny napkin rings and still have enough for two modest challahs, or 10 bigger napkin rings and one nice sized challah.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, but check at 35 minutes because sometimes the skinny napkin rings start to get toasty by then and can come out.

Remove the entire roll with the napkin rings on it from the baking sheet, and let to cool on cooling trays.

When they’re not too hot to touch, you can slide the silver rolls out of the middle of the napkin rings. This can also wait until they are cool if necessary.

Arrange the napkin rings on your guest’s plates with a decorative napkin in the hole.

Step back and enjoy your glorious Shabbos table!

Jello Fruits

orange-jello-photo Ingredients


Orange gelatin



1. Cut the oranges in half from top to bottom and spoon the fruit from each half, leaving the peel intact. Prepare the gelatin according to the package directions, then pour it into the peel halves, adding fruit pieces if desired.

2. Set the halves into ramekins or a muffin tin to keep them from tipping and carefully place them in the refrigerator. Let the gelatin set according to the package directions.

3. Once they’re ready, remove the orange halves from the refrigerator, cut them into wedges, and serve. Tip: For a colorful twist, try using other citrus fruits and gelatin flavors, such as grapefruit, lemon, and lime.

5 Minute Chocolate Cake




4 tablespoons flour 

4 tablespoons sugar 

2 tablespoons cocoa 

1 egg 

3 tablespoons milk 

3 tablespoons oil 

3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) 

A small splash of vanilla extract 

1 large coffee mug (Microwave Safe)


Spray the mug with nonstick cooking spray. Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. 
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. 
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. 
Put the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! 
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

Cooking with kids


Yogurt Parfaits

These are all the rage – they can be a dessert treat using frozen yogurt or a healthy breakfast using the regular kind. The amounts are up to you (or your kids!)

yogurt, plain or vanilla

granola or other crunchy cereal (we like Honey Bunch O’ Oats)

fresh fruit – cut up peaches, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, depending on your preference

indulgent options – chocolate chips, coconut, peanuts, m&m’s, oreo cookie crumbs

In tall glasses (or parfait cups), layer yogurt then a topping, yogurt then a topping, yogurt then a topping. It looks too good to eat. This can also be fun at a party.

Easy Cookies

These are easy cookies and my son’s favorite. Everyone always asks for the recipe!

1 box Duncan Hines classic yellow cake mix (aren’t you glad they’re pareve again?)
½ cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup coconut
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together, either with an electric mixer or by hand. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes – until top is no longer shiny. Let sit on cookie sheets for a few minute; then remove to wire racks to finish cooling. Eat one now or there won’t be any left for you to try later!

Taco salad

Olives and any kind of chip are always very popular in my home. This salad has both plus is so simple to make that my kids not only request it but usually make it themselves.

Taco Salad

1 can green or black pitted olives
3 tomatoes, diced
¼ of a red onion, chopped
3 heads romaine lettuce, washed and chopped for salad
2 avocados, diced

Tortilla chips, broken in pieces


1 ½ cup mayonnaise
7 oz. good quality salsa
1/3 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder

Mix dressing ingredients together and shake well. Pour over salad right before serving. Add chips and toss again. Serve immediately.

* Serving note: I like to serve this salad in small clay pots (yes, the ones you put plants in). Wash them thoroughly and put a little foil in the hole in the bottom so nothing drops out while serving. The terra cotta color gives a rustic and ethnic appearance. In the spring and summer they are very inexpensive at stores like Home Depot, Target, Walmart or any nursery.

Cooking with Kids – Pizza

Everyone loves pizza, kids especially. I think my son would eat it every night if I would allow it. Here is a basic recipe that older kids can make themselves. Everyone can participate in spreading the sauce and sprinkling on the toppings.


For 2 large pizzas:

2 cups warm water
2 rounded teaspoons dry yeast
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour
corn meal


In a large bowl, proof yeast in water. You will see it bubble up – this is fun for everyone to watch. Whisk in olive oil and salt. Stir in flour, 2 cups at a time until dough is no longer sticky. Knead until smooth – 5 minutes at the most. Drizzle olive oil around bowl. Roll dough in oil until coated. Cover bowl with a towel and let rise until doubled – about 1 hour. Divide dough in half and roll into balls. Cover and let rise for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle cornmeal over bottom of pizza pans. Shape dough to fit pans – stretch and flip and pretend you’re an Italian chef. (Or just put it on a lightly flour surface and keep pushing it out) Now you are ready to put on the toppings. We like a sauce-less pizza with feta cheese and mozzarella. Or cover with pizza sauce, then mozzarella cheese (or pizza cheese) and the toppings of your choice. We have a lot of fans of plain here. I like it with olives, black and green. I also like the vegetarian pepperoni.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Cooking with kids – Cookies

These are easy cookies and my son’s favorite. Everyone always asks for the recipe!


1 box Duncan Hines classic yellow cake mix (aren’t you glad they’re pareve again?)
½ cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup coconut
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together, either with an electric mixer or by hand. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes – until top is no longer shiny. Let sit on cookie sheets for a few minute; then remove to wire racks to finish cooling. Eat one now or there won’t be any left for you to try later!

Cooking With Kids

Oreo Cream Cheese Truffle Pops


1 package chocolate sandwich cookies
1 container cream cheese (can use Tofutti cream cheese)
1 package chocolate chips
2 T vegetable oil
decorative toppings
Melted chocolate


Blend cookies and cream cheese in food processor till smooth. Refrigerate until firm. Put a lollypop stick in the truffle.

Roll into small balls. Freeze the balls. Melt chocolate with oil. Dip frozen balls into melted chocolate or drizzle with melted chocolate. Dip into toppings.

Cooking with kids

marshmellow-popThis is a fun snack for kids and a cute party activity. It’s also messy and allows kids to be creative. It requires adult assistance.

Marshmallow Pops


24 large marshmallows
24 wooden skewers
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
½ cup multicolored sprinkles
½ cup chocolate sprinkles
½ cup chopped peanuts
½ cup coconut
½ cup mini white chocolate chips


wherever your imagination takes you…

Thread one marshmallow onto each skewer. Place on baking sheet and freeze until firm – 10 – 15 minutes. (For marshmallow “kebabs”, place up to 4 marshmallows on the skewer). Coat each marshmallow with the melted chocolate, spreading evenly. Sprinkle desire coating over one side of each marshmallow (I advise keeping wax paper underneath as you do this unless you are a glutton for punishment!) and refreeze, plain chocolate side down. Marshmallows are ready to eat after 30 minutes.