Updated on March 25, 2015
April Fool’s Day Food Fun
April Fool’s Day is coming up next week, and here are two fun food crafts to do with the kids or to do by yourself to trick the kids. Now don’t get the impression that I am one of those special people with saintly patience who calmly lets the kids help in the kitchen every day and doesn’t blow a gasket when the bag of sugar is dropped on the floor or when the batter is being stirred so vigorously that it is flying across the room. No, that’s not this mom. (I have mentioned previously that I yell too much and get angry over petty things way too often.) However, I do believe it is good to let the kids help and I mean to let the kids help more often than I do, and some days I can actually follow through and do it. This little food craft right here is a good one to try if you struggle a tiny bit with patience like I often do. This project is easy overall and has many parts with which even fairly small children could help. And if your children are a little bit older, they may be able to do most of it on their own. My 9 year-old was able to do most of this project. Note: I am not claiming that either of these things will taste fabulous to you, but your kids will think they are amazing, especially if they get to help.
One of the first foods I became aware of that my kids hate is chicken pot pie. I know…why would anyone hate chicken pot pie? Comfort food at its most delicious, I say. A few years ago, as I was reading recipes for fun, (everyone does that, right?) I came across this idea for a chicken faux pie that I thought would really get them riled up for April Fool’s Day. I waited for the usual, “what’s for supper?” and then pulled out these mini chicken pot pies to put on the table. I expected lots of moaning and groaning, but somehow they were more astute than I thought. They knew something was up and immediately cut into their pies. They were thrilled to find pudding and candy instead of the dreaded potatoes, chicken, carrots, peas, and gravy. Though I didn’t get the reaction I expected, the kids loved the pies and have been begging me to make them again ever since. Their day finally came, and this time, they were thrilled to participate in the silliness.
Chicken Faux Pie
- 1 refrigerated pie crust (you could also make your own, but refrigerated works well here)
- several mini foil pie pans (I had a hard time finding minis to buy this year but happened to have a few left from a previous year; see instruction 3 below for another method if you can’t find pans)
- 6 mini graham cracker crusts
- a small box of instant vanilla pudding (and milk to make it)
- a bag of Tootsie fruit chews (green, orange, and yellow Starburst or other similar candies could also work)
- 1 banana
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Unroll one sleeve of pie crust. Using an upside down empty foil pie pan as a guide, cut circles out of the dough about 1/2 an inch bigger than the pan all the way around (the crust will shrink some as it bakes). I was able to get four circles out of one crust and then rerolled the extra to cut out two more. Use a fork to crimp the edges of each circle and a knife to cut small slits in the center of each crust.
- Take a small piece of foil and crumple it up loosely to fill the empty pie pan. Take another small piece of foil to lay flat over the crumpled foil. Place one of the prepared pie dough circles on top of the foil on top of the pan. Repeat for each crust circle. The purpose of this step is to be able to bake the crust to look realistic–the right size and shape and with a domed top. If desired, brush a tiny bit of milk over each crust to encourage browning. Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes until browned. Set aside to cool. (Another option: If you can’t find the small pans, I think you could just use your graham crusts as a guide for sizing your circles. Next, loosely crumple a little ball of foil to place directly on a baking sheet and then top with a small piece of smooth foil. Lay your crust circle on top of the foil ball and then bake as directed above. [The purpose of the foil ball is to get a little doming out of your crust to look the most realistic.])
- Make the vegetables: Cut small pieces off the green, orange, and yellow candies. The warmth of your hand should make them pliable, but you can also microwave them for 5-10 seconds if needed. Mold the candies into appropriate shapes for the vegetables. Shape the green candy into small circles for peas. Shape the orange candy into cubes for the carrots. Shape the yellow candy into corn kernels. If you buy the assorted fruit chews, the candy in the blue wrapper (vanilla) is white, so you could also shape them into potato or chicken chunks. Cut the banana into slices and then small cubes or pieces to represent potatoes or chicken. Set the pieces aside, keeping them from sticking together.
- Make the gravy: Follow the instructions on the instant vanilla pudding box to make pudding.
- Assemble the pot pies: Fill each graham cracker crust (or an empty pie pan if you did not use the graham crusts) with pudding and then add an assortment of the candy and banana vegetables to look realistic. You may need to stir a little to make it look real. Top each pan with one of the cooled pie crusts. Chill until ready to serve.
- Alternately: You could forget the mini pies and do the same thing with a regular size pie pan and use the whole crust to make a regular size pot pie. Just put the pudding and vegetable mixture in the bottom of the pie pan and top with your pre-baked pastry crust.
The second craft is mini hamburger cookies. A friend of mine has ordered a batch from me for the last several April Fool’s Days. She takes them to work and her co-workers go crazy for them. And apparently, the joke never gets old because they love them all over again every year.
Mini Hamburger Cookies
- 1 box Vanilla wafer cookies
- 1 package Grasshopper mint cookies (If you still have Girl Scout thin mints or another dark patty type cookie, they would work too.)
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 3-4 drops green food coloring
- red decorator icing (or you could make your own)
- yellow decorator icing (or you could make your own)
- sesame seeds (optional, but I think they add great realism and cuteness to the cookies)
- 1 Tbsp. honey or corn syrup (only needed if you add the sesame seeds)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place approximately 1 cup of coconut into a small bowl with a lid. Add 3-4 drops green food coloring to coconut. With lid on bowl, shake up the coconut and food coloring until the coconut is evenly green. This will be your lettuce. Set aside.
- Place vanilla wafers flat side up on a baking sheet. Top each wafer with a grasshopper cookie.
- When the oven is heated, place baking sheet with vanilla wafers and grasshopper cookies in the oven for approximately one minute. This step is to slightly melt the chocolate of the grasshopper cookie to make it stick to the vanilla wafer. (If you don’t want to heat your oven for this small step, you could use a small amount of frosting to adhere the cookies to the wafers.)
- Once the cookies have been removed from the oven, sprinkle a small amount of green coconut (lettuce) on top of each cookie, concentrating on getting some near and hanging over the edges.
- Let the cookies cool for a few minutes and then add small squirts of red and yellow decorator icing over the top edges of the cookies to look like ketchup and mustard oozing out of the burger. Put a small amount of icing in the center of the flat side of another vanilla wafer and top each burger.
- In a small bowl, mix about 1 Tbsp. honey with about 1/2-1 Tbsp. of water to make a syrup. Doing a few at a time, brush the top bun of each burger with the honey/water mixture using a clean finger or a small clean paintbrush. The syrup makes the sesame seeds stick to the buns. Immediately sprinkle a few sesame seeds over the syrup. Allow the burgers to set up for a few minutes and then enjoy.
If you like this idea, but chicken faux pie and mini hamburgers don’t fit your idea of April Fool fun, I suggest doing a Google search of April Fool’s food, and you will find many more ideas. There are fake out chicken nuggets, cupcakes, sushi, spaghetti, and almost anything else you can imagine. I would love for you to post a picture in the comments of you and your kids making one of these projects, or just a picture of your finished project if you are not comfortable posting yourself or the kids. One piece of advice I was given during the fostering and adopting process was to remember ASAP–as silly as possible. I think this is true for all families; a great way to bond is to let your guard down and be as silly as possible together, so go on and be an April fool and have fun! 🙂