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Classroom Birthday Treat Ideas - Help Needed

flourgirl Dec 6, 2007 12:38 PM

My soon-to-be 7 yr old son would like to bring in a treat for his classmates to celebrate his birthday, which is at the end of December. I need help thinking of something that meets the school's nutritional policies and also doesn't contain eggs or nuts (classroom allergies.) As far as the nutritional policy goes, the main concern is that sugar not be the first ingredient.

I'm trying to avoid baking anything, partly due to the "no egg" restriction (I know there are vegan recipes) but I have a ton of baking to do this month and I just can't add one more thing to the list.

I've already thought of stuff like popcorn, but because of the classroom allergies, the kids get popcorn at every single classroom party.

Any ideas anyone?

  1. Chris VR Dec 8, 2007 04:39 PM

    I just posted this on another thread, but I think these would be great

    http://bunnyfoot.blogspot.com/2006/04...

    I have a birthday this week for my son and might give it a shot, although since I just have to keep it nut free, I might cheat a bit and replace some of the ingredients with dairy.

    But really, any vegan recipe would work, so try Googling.

    1. p
      piccola Dec 7, 2007 04:53 PM

      What about wacky cake? I'm pretty sure there are no eggs and peanuts, and it works for me every time.

      3 Replies
      1. re: piccola
        r
        Rick Dec 8, 2007 08:39 AM

        Geeze, I was in school in the 80's like some posters and we never had these restrictions. Though not the equivalnt of a cake, I think the pizza suggestion would be great.

        1. re: Rick
          flourgirl Dec 8, 2007 12:01 PM

          Yes, things have changed a lot. It is unbelievable how many kids have food allergies, some of them quite severe. My son has had nut-free classrooms the past two years. (And this year, there is a child who is allergic to BOTH nuts and eggs, the poor kid.)

          I love the pizza idea, except that the kids have lunch every day in the lunchroom. So I'm leaning more towards a sweet treat. But my son's birthday party is tonite and we are doing pizza for that.

          1. re: flourgirl
            t
            torty Dec 8, 2007 04:46 PM

            Well in keeping with the "kids love pizza theme", how about a sweet pizza. Thinned sweetened cream cheese as the base, a bright colored jam dotted over, and lots of colorful sprinkles. Would work room temp. If making own dough add a little sugar and a hint of cinnamon, or if store bought, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

      2. maplesugar Dec 7, 2007 09:28 AM

        I second the Cinnamon pita chips, perhaps with fruit pieces and a sweet cream cheese dip

        1. 512window Dec 7, 2007 09:17 AM

          If you do reconsider baking, try the gingerbread recipe from the Joy of Cooking. It is egg free!

          1. chelleyd01 Dec 7, 2007 08:30 AM

            be the coolest mom ever...party cut plain pizza and 100% juice boxes, cold in a cooler. It goes over huge every single time.

            1. flourgirl Dec 7, 2007 07:45 AM

              There are so many great suggestions here - I really appreciate it. So far I'm leaning towards the angel food cake with macerated strawberries. (My son isn't crazy about chocolate, which I should have posted in the beginning. So that rules out all of the fruit dipped chocolate variations.)

              3 Replies
              1. re: flourgirl
                j
                jlafler Dec 7, 2007 08:53 AM

                Angel food cake is made with egg whites, though. :-( They're essential to the cake's rise, so you can't leave them out.

                1. re: jlafler
                  s
                  spellweaver16 Dec 7, 2007 02:02 PM

                  Shoot, I didn't even think of that.

                  1. re: spellweaver16
                    flourgirl Dec 8, 2007 04:18 AM

                    Me neither - I never make angel food cake and didn't even stop to think about what was in it.

              2. r
                rockycat Dec 7, 2007 05:42 AM

                Frozen chocolate-dipped bananas or, for the no front toothers, banana slices.

                Chocolate coated dried banana clusters are easy and tasty but are much higher sugar than you would think.

                1. ArikaDawn Dec 7, 2007 05:15 AM

                  You could make cinnamon and sugar pita chips, which sound crazy unhealthy, but if made with whole wheat pitas and only a conservative amount of sugar they aren't so bad, and serve with fruit dip. They can also be used as the base for fruit pizza in which case the cinnamon sugar can be skipped altogether.

                  1. coney with everything Dec 7, 2007 04:26 AM

                    I like the fruit ideas that other posters mentioned--something like Edible Arrangements would do (or just get one of their products). If they can have dairy, a cream cheese or caramel dip would be popular.

                    1. a
                      anzu Dec 6, 2007 10:26 PM

                      Hi. I'm back b/c I said I'd post the eggless cake recipe:
                      1.5 c flour
                      1 c sugar (I halved this, but I tend to like my things not as sweet.)
                      3 TBSP cocoa
                      1 tsp NaHCO3
                      1/2 tsp NaCl
                      6 TBSP vegetable oil
                      1 TBSP vinegar
                      1 tsp vanilla
                      1 cup cold H2O

                      Sift dry ingredients into 9x9 inch cake pan. Make a well in center; pour wet ingredients. Mix with a fork (a few lumps are ok. Don't overmix. The combo will bubble a little). Bake for 25-30 minutes @ 350 degrees.

                      An egged cake would taste better, but I tried this recipe when one of my friends was going vegan for a while, and it worked, so I kept it for when I need to bake a dairy-free cake again.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: anzu
                        flourgirl Dec 7, 2007 03:32 AM

                        Thank you, anzu - I really appreciate this. Even if I don't end up baking for his party, my son is friends with the child with the egg allergy so I will definitely keep this for future reference.

                        1. re: flourgirl
                          a
                          anniemax Dec 7, 2007 01:29 PM

                          It looks like the wacky cake (aka: crazy cake, stir crazy cake, dump cake, etc) recipes that became popular during WWII, due to rationing of dairy, eggs & sugar. Wacky cakes are very popular on allergy sites, as they are very forgiving, even if you have to substitute out several things- just about any fat will work, as will various flour substitutes, just about any type of vinegar will work too (white distilled, apple cider, rice, etc). Different flavors can be made too- spice was very popular back in the war years, though chocolate seems to be the most common now. I'm allergic to corn, so I make it with apple cider vinegar and either homemade vanilla extract or finely ground vanilla bean.You can double the recipe to make a larger cake or even make cupcakes with it. Here is a good recipe with lots of variations from Kids with Food Allergies: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/...

                          I asked my Mom if she remembered Wacky type cakes, since she graduated high school in 1944, but she didn't. It finally dawned on us why- she lived on a farm, so dairy & eggs were readily available as they had their own- sugar & coffee were the only ration coupons they used. One of the vintage cookbooks I recently got from the early 1940's has several 'Victory Cake' recipes I want to try, just to see how they work with limited ingredients.

                          Something else that would different and fun for the kids would be homemade marshmallows. They are not that hard to make, especially if you have a stand mixer- I made 4- 3 pound batches in the past 2 days...or should I say nights, since that's when I normally make yummy stuff like that.

                      2. bards4 Dec 6, 2007 10:05 PM

                        As a teacher, I always asked parents that if they were going to bring something, please bring the SAME thing for everyone. You wouldn't believe how much time and energy gets invested in a little birthday celebration.

                        Now, speaking as a READING teacher, I encourage the idea that instead of treats, the birthday child brings a book to the class, it gets read aloud to everyone, and then it gets donated to the classroom library. A special bookplate inside the front cover could commemorate the event, and then every time someone reads the book, they are reminded of your son and his birthday. It's less fleeting and has much less sugar.

                        But if you need to bring food, how about bringing a type of food that is in the story that is being read, like Monsieur Saguette and His Baguette -- you could bring a baguette to show the class, and then slice it up and eat it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: bards4
                          Glencora Dec 7, 2007 07:16 AM

                          You reminded me of my son's 2nd grade Halloween party when someone brought pumpkin cookies and bat cookies. The teacher later said that having the SAME THING for everyone makes her life much easier. It's hard when someone wants a bat and ends up with a pumpkin.

                        2. Quine Dec 6, 2007 09:51 PM

                          My first thought was something easy for you and fun for the kids. Make shortbread cookies (see this recipe http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Scottish...) They taste great. And since they are so plain looking. bring along some tubes of frosting and let the kid decorate their own. Pressing colored sugars (the large piecs) into the shortbread before baking is also nice.

                          If you can get approval, you can "hide" a coin/token in one of them and at child who gets it, get a special prize or title.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Quine
                            janetofreno Dec 6, 2007 10:29 PM

                            I don't think I would try the hide a coin trick...I would be too worried about a kid choking on it!! Maybe hide a chocolate chunk or something like that....

                            1. re: janetofreno
                              Chris VR Dec 8, 2007 04:45 PM

                              FWIW I got one of these at a party my Spanish teacher held in 7th grade. The ones with the special treat (it was an M&M) got to be "King" and "Queen" for the day. I was very shy and I knew I'd be teased mercilessly after class if I was "Queen" and when I bit into that cupcake and found the M&M I first panicked and then ate it without saying anything, figuring I could pretend I hadn't gotten it. She knew it was me and pegged me anyway. Man, I still remember that as an awful memory.

                              1. re: Chris VR
                                janetofreno Dec 10, 2007 07:41 PM

                                Yes, the custom is Mexican (and maybe Spanish too?) centered around the "Dia de Los Reyes" (Day of the Kings, or January 6th; the day that the three Magi supposedly arrived in Bethlehem...). On that day it is customary to serve a cake with some sort of trinket baked in (sometimes its a tiny ceramic baby representing the Baby Jesus; sometimes its just a coin or something similar...). The person who gets the piece of cake with the "baby" is declared "King" (or Queen) of the day. My friends from Mexico said that it also meant you had to throw the next party (if you got the trinket; but they said that after I got it, so maybe they just wanted a party..:-)

                                I think its a great custom; I just don't think its such a good idea for six and seven year olds who might not be prepared...especially if the trinket is large enough to create a choking hazard....

                                The M & M would at least alleviate my choking concern....

                          2. ArikaDawn Dec 6, 2007 09:38 PM

                            You could make parfaits with fruit, yogurt, and granola.

                            1. j
                              jlafler Dec 6, 2007 07:39 PM

                              Re nut allergies: coconut, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds are usually okay, and can be good substitutes for tree nuts in some recipes. My sister put pumpkin seeds in our Thanksgiving stuffiing in place of pecans. Best to check with the teacher to make sure these items are okay, though.

                              1. s
                                spellweaver16 Dec 6, 2007 07:21 PM

                                This is a cute idea:
                                Spear large marshmallows on pretzel sticks and dip in chocolate. Check all of your packaging to make sure there isn't a nut warning, because you never know when cross-contamination can happen in a factory.

                                Also, store-bought angel food cake with macerated strawberries over the top, or just plain fresh fruit, and whipped cream.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: spellweaver16
                                  flourgirl Dec 7, 2007 03:30 AM

                                  Hmmm, the angel food cake with strawberries might work. I'm staying away fom just doing fresh fruit, because like popcorn, they are getting that at every classroom party because of the allergies.

                                2. j
                                  Jacey Dec 6, 2007 04:47 PM

                                  I know you have a lot of baking and cooking to do, but here are some fun ideas for your son's birthday.

                                  Dip pretzel rods in chocolate and roll in M&Ms or some other candy

                                  Make a trail mix of pretzels, chocolate covered soy nuts, M&Ms and some type of honey chex cereal

                                  Dried fruit dipped half way in chocolate

                                  Pudding and bring whip cream--A take on this is make a huge bowl of chocolate pudding (and mix with berries--do 7 y/o eat berries?). Write happy birthday with whip cream on it. Then you (or the teacher) can scoop out each serving.

                                  Cut up lots of apple and pear slices and pretzels. Then on each table have the teacher place little dips of chocolate, carmel and soy nut butter.

                                  A take on the popcorn--make regular popcorn but jazz it up by drizzling with chocolate, carmel or marshmellow fluff

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Jacey
                                    b
                                    brandygirl Dec 6, 2007 05:18 PM

                                    I am an elementary school teacher and was surprised once when a student brought a fresh fruit salad which was a huge hit with the class. Another popular idea is pizza. You can get inexpensive pizzas from Domino's or Papa John, and the kids love it.

                                    1. re: brandygirl
                                      d
                                      Diane in Bexley Dec 7, 2007 04:36 AM

                                      This post reminded me of a dessert I made several years ago. You can make homemade pie dough, or buy the disks. Spread flat on tart pan or pizza stone. Bake it off. Combine cream cheese with vanilla & powdered sugar. Spread on top of pizza for topping. You could do this in advance. Brings bowls of sliced fruit, orange sections, red or green grapes, pineapple, kiwi fruit, pears, etc. Let the kids decorate the fruit pizza and cut into slices. If you are really into it, you might try cutting out rounds with a 3 in biscuit cutter and make individual pizzas. Kids love to make their own creations. Good Luck!

                                      1. re: Diane in Bexley
                                        p
                                        Pandora Feb 26, 2012 06:15 PM

                                        This sounds like a good idea for my kid's birthday at preschool. Her school doesn't really have any restrictions on sweets and I've seen a crazy number of cheap Safeway cakes - yuck. Since I'm always the one complaining about the amount of candy and sweets in her classroom, I'm looking to set an example of something tasty, but not junky. Anyone have any idea if this would travel well? I'd probably smear the cream cheese on in the am and drop it off in the around 8 ....it would have to be ok for an hour or two before it was served. To complicate matters, we are undergoing a kitchen remodel so any pie crust baking would have to happen in the toaster oven. I'm thinking I'd just make a couple rectangles rolled out and let the teacher slice it up.

                                    2. re: Jacey
                                      j
                                      jlafler Dec 6, 2007 08:22 PM

                                      I like the pudding idea. You can make it without eggs, and it's something nearly everyone likes.

                                    3. a
                                      anzu Dec 6, 2007 04:09 PM

                                      Gosh. I grew up in the 80s, and bringing birthday treats to class was much less of an ordeal than it sounds today! No eggs kindof eliminates baking! I have a no egg chocolate cake/cupcake recipe that is really easy; let me find that and post it later, but as another idea, can you make chocolate-dipped fruit? (Strawberries, bananas, etc.)

                                      Or just plain fruit? Or cheese and crackers? Gosh, that is hard. . .

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: anzu
                                        chefschickie Dec 6, 2007 04:19 PM

                                        whatever happened to mini candybars...... or Marshmallows on a stick.. hahaha, guess I'm getting old.... :))

                                      2. 4maxwelz Dec 6, 2007 02:11 PM

                                        Rice Krispie Treats?

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: 4maxwelz
                                          enbell Dec 6, 2007 03:55 PM

                                          My thoughts exactly. Also root beer/cream soda floats with frozen yogurt or soy dream.

                                          1. re: 4maxwelz
                                            ArikaDawn Dec 6, 2007 09:37 PM

                                            You have to be careful with those though because some kids cannot have the gelatin for religious reasons.

                                            1. re: ArikaDawn
                                              flourgirl Dec 7, 2007 03:21 AM

                                              Good point about the gelatin - my son's class potentially has some children that might fall in this category.

                                              1. re: flourgirl
                                                enbell Dec 7, 2007 02:35 PM

                                                They make veg marshmellows without it

                                                1. re: enbell
                                                  flourgirl Dec 8, 2007 04:16 AM

                                                  This is good to know. :)

                                          2. 2m8ohed Dec 6, 2007 01:59 PM

                                            I was thinking of caramel apples for my own kid's upcoming 7th. But then it occurred to me that kindergarten and first grade are prime no-front-teeth years. But sliced apples dipped in caramel might be cool! In the past I have ordered pizza for the whole class for lunch, which is popular and not too expensive.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: 2m8ohed
                                              stellamystar Dec 6, 2007 02:18 PM

                                              Will you be there for the treat part? Because you could do a chocolate fountain w/ fruit as the dipping sauce (just get the cheapy chocolate fountain from Wal Mart!).

                                              Geez.....I remember when my mom came to school and made homemade pasta for everyone (it was also a lesson on cooking). Another time she made cherry tarts. We had ONE girl who was allergic to wheat on both occasions, and she just had the cherries. When we had pasta, my mom brought her something..don't know what it was. But, she didn't seem bothered.

                                            2. Glencora Dec 6, 2007 01:04 PM

                                              I used to take cupcakes! And it wasn't that long ago. I guess times change, though. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head are those fruit roll up or fruit by the foot thingies. They do have real fruit in them and they're fun for kids to play with (and get all sticky.) Or maybe fruit juice popsicles, if the weather's not too cold for that. Pretzels are boring. Maybe the yogurt-covered ones?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Glencora
                                                flourgirl Dec 6, 2007 01:27 PM

                                                Believe me, if it wasn't for the egg allergy in the classroom, I would have brought in cupcakes, and the heck with the "nutritional policy". (My son's school actually isn't completely rigid about this - but they definitely encourage people to abide by the policy.)

                                                But your fruit roll-up suggestion is a good one - and I'm adding it to the list of possibilities. Thank you! :)

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