J has been taking an art class at a friend’s house since the end of October. Sadly, we only have one class remaining. She gets to paint and glue plastic jewels (which she LOVES) and I get to see friends. The class is an hour and half and includes a snack/lunch break for the kids.
At the start of classes, we signed up to take turns as “snack mom”. Each week of art has a theme and it turns out that snacks were also themed accordingly. I signed up for Jackson Pollock week and crossed my fingers that I could come up with something creative for a meal — after all, this is (kids) art class!
I knew I would make decorated sugar cookies for dessert. After some internet searching, I decided to make an artist’s palette and splatter design à la Mr. Pollock. Deciding what to serve for lunch proved to be a little more challenging as I wanted one stand-out item on the plate. I found a rainbow pasta recipe which looked easy, portable and kid-friendly.
I made the cookies first since I let them dry over night and needed two nights to work on them. Actually, it was three nights total. The first night I baked and cooled the cookies. The second and the third were spent decorating. Here is the sugar cookie recipe. I made 4″ round cookies for the painter’s palette and 2″ squares for the splatter design. Surprisingly, I don’t have a painter’s palette shaped cookie cutter in my arsenal of 100+ cutters.
I made chocolate royal icing for the palettes since they had to be brown. I added a bit of brown food color to make them a deeper brown. I didn’t want my palette to look like balsa wood.
For the white royal icing, I used some that I had frozen from Halloween. Yes, it really does freeze well!! I had it stored in two zip top bags and let it thaw on the kitchen counter. It may have taken 30 minutes to soften, which was really quick.
After piping and flooding the round and square cookies I let them dry overnight. The next night was the fun part! I took the remaining white icing and divided it into five bowls. I made red, yellow, green, blue and purple for the “paint”. It was flood consistency as I wanted it thin enough to splatter across the white cookies.
By now you are probably wondering where all the photos are of the cookie decorating process. Well, I was too tired to stop and take photos. And at night the light is very bad for picture taking. So sorry!
I used a toothpick to drip the colors onto the painter’s palettes. For the splatter, I lined up all of my cookies next to each other in a giant square. Then I dipped a spoon into the icing and let it drip onto the cookies. It was a lot of fun to do and super quick.
During J’s art class, the kids each made a splatter paint picture…or at least as close as three and four-year olds can come to replicating Pollock’s style.
Oops, almost forgot to talk about the spaghetti. So here’s the dichotomy of my rainbow spaghetti. I used organic spaghetti noodles and then soaked them in artificial food dye. Am I the only one that finds this humorous?! I do have natural food coloring that I will use if I ever make them again.
Is it a surprise that I made a couple changes from the original recipe? Here is my version:
- 1lb Spaghetti or linguine noodles
- Food color (four or five colors)
- Boil noodles according to package directions
- While noodles are cooking, mix food color with ½ cup of water in a color-safe bowl. (One that won't soak up the dye -- not a wooden bowl.)
- The amount of food color needed will vary depending on the intensity of color desired and if it's gel or liquid food color. I used ⅛ of a teaspoon of gel per bowl.
- Drain and rinse with cool water (that step was painful for me...I never rinse my pasta!)
- Divide pasta evenly among bowls and make sure the water covers most of the noodles.
- Let sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even color distribution.
- Gently rinse noodles to remove excess food color.
- If serving immediately, mix noodles together and toss with butter or olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- If saving for later, stir in a few drops of olive oil to each color of noodle to ensure they don't stick together. Keep colors separate until you're ready to serve so the color doesn't run. Store in bowls or baggies in the refrigerator.
- Note: One pound of noodles was about a half pound too much for 10 preschoolers.