Your challenge this week: what better way to show you care than with a gift of chocolate! This week, introduce your children to the joy that is making chocolate bark. Melt it, drizzle it, decorate it with marshmallows and give it to friends in bags with bows.
This challenge encourages the following values:
Kindness, Gratitude, Generosity, Resourcefulness, Patience, Commitment.
What you need to complete your challenge this week:
- Firstly, chocolate, and it helps if it’s the decent stuff because it melts better and tastes better.
- Treats and sprinkles, these can be chopped dried fruit, desiccated coconut, nuts, sweets, mini marshmallows, sprinkles, coloured granulated sugar etc, let your imagination run wild.
- Baking parchment, a spoon and the fridge.
- Clear sweetie bags and ribbon or string
- Choose some lucky recipients
If all else fails…
Buy a box of chocolates and share them with friends. What is important here is the show of thought, making people aware that you are thinking of them and modelling these demonstrations of thought and kindness to your children.
Food for thought for the grown-ups:
Cooking with really young children is a great opportunity to introduce a bit of sensory experience and play into their lives. Consider the senses, touch, taste, smell, sight and even sound, think popping candy! It’s an activity that lends itself to learning basic counting, using fine motor skills and just increasing their confidence. Bigger children will like to get on with this themselves, give them everything they need and let them get creative. Keep an eye and give them guidance if they need it but they’ll have a great sense of accomplishment and pride if they do it themselves. Give your child options, you’ll be the one doing most of the preparation so choose appropriate ingredient choices for the age of your child, stick with dried fruits if you want to keep it a little healthier. Just use sprinkles or go the whole hog with mini marshmallows, popping candy and edible glitter!
Here is my quick guide to making chocolate bark?
1. Break the chocolate into a bowl.
2. Set up a bain-marie and melt the chocolate really slowly.
3. Take a big piece of baking parchment (no bigger than the shelf in your fridge)
4. Drizzle the chocolate randomly all over the baking sheet.
5. Sprinkle or arrange your decorations.
6. Transfer the sheet into the fridge carefully and leave for a good few hours.
7. Remove and break into pieces.
8. Arrange the pieces into the bags and tie with the ribbons.
Its a really simple process but lots of fun to do.
And for the children:
There are lots of sensory elements to this activity as well as ways to strengthen some of those values that are already becoming embedded in their little personalities. Sit together and break up the chocolate, count the pieces together, show them (obviously keeping them a safe distance from the heat source) the melting process in a bain-marie. When they are sitting ready with their sheet of baking parchment and their bowl of melted chocolate let them drizzle the chocolate using a spoon, help them to concentrate the chocolate in a specific area by drawing a circle or a square on the back of the paper if that helps. It needs to be lacy but thick enough to be able to break up nicely once it’s cold so bear that in mind. Put all the different decoration ingredients into little bowls and let them get creative. Allow them to taste and smell the toppings before they sprinkle them on. And of course, let them lick the chocolate bowl when they’ve finished – it’s the best bit.
So go for it…
Buy the best quality chocolate you can afford, choose suitable decorations for your children and enjoy the results. Make sure you save yourselves a bit but let the children choose who to gift their creations to and let them feel for themselves what its like to make other people happy.