Holiday baking for kids

12 December 2011 - 22:38 By Hilary Biller
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Help the school break to fly by with a baking adventure - and loads of sugar

Q. I'm looking for a recipe for the most deliciously addictive caramelised popcorn. I know it is made in a microwave oven in a brown paper bag, and I thought it would be a good way to occupy children in the school holidays. - Lily, Durban North

A. I know the recipe well, perhaps too well! The easy part is making the caramelised popcorn. The difficult part is finding the large brown bag. In Johannesburg, you can buy brown paper bags of all sizes at a wholesaler called Westpak in Randpark Ridge, or at baking supplier Linda's Bake and Pack in Westdene. The school holiday is a long one though, so in case you can't find bags, or if you want to try more recipes, I've included two other sweet dishes that children can make. I can't offer any guarantees on the effect all the sweet stuff will have on them, but baking will fill a few hours, and these treats make excellent gifts when packed into glass jars or decorative boxes.



60ml ( cup) golden syrup

15ml (1 tbsp) water

250ml (1 cup) sugar

15ml (1 tbsp) bicarbonate of soda


Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper. In a large saucepan, heat the syrup, water and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. It is ready when a spoonful dropped into a saucer of ice-cold water hardens instantly.

Remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda, stirring quickly as the mixture will foam up. Pour into a baking tray and leave to set, then break into bite-sized pieces to serve.

Caramelised popcorn


3 litres (12 cups) popped popcorn

250ml (1 cup) brown sugar

125ml ( cup) butter

60ml ( cup) golden syrup

2.5ml ( tsp) salt

2.5ml ( tsp) bicarbonate of soda


Place popcorn in large brown paper bag. Combine sugar, butter, syrup and salt in a 2-litre glass dish. Cook in the microwave, uncovered, on high for 2 minutes.

Stir, then cook for 2 more minutes on high. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and pour the hot syrup mixture over the popcorn in the paper bag. Roll up the opening of the bag to seal and shake well. Place in the microwave and cook on high for 1-2 minutes.

Remove bag and shake. Cook for another 1-2 minutes on high and shake again. Cook for another 45 seconds on high, then shake. Pour contents of bag into a bowl and allow to cool before eating.

Turkish delight


280ml water

45ml (3 tbsp) gelatine powder

500g caster sugar

2.5ml ( tsp) tartaric acid

10ml (2 tsp) rose water

A few drops of pink food colouring

100g chocolate (optional)


Pour 80ml ( cup) of the water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatine over this and leave to dissolve. Pour the remaining 200ml water into a heavy-based saucepan. Add the caster sugar and stir over a low heat until dissolved.

Soften the gelatine mixture in the microwave on medium for 1-2 minutes. Add the gelatine and tartaric acid to the sugar syrup and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the rose water and pink food colouring.

Pour the mixture into a greased or sprayed 18cm-square tin and leave to set. When set, cut into squares or rectangles and place on a cooling rack with paper underneath. If using, melt the chocolate and pour it over the Turkish delight to coat well. Leave to cool and set completely.

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