You will need:
- marshmallows. Go crazy and make your own marshmallows--that recipe is on my "To Do Someday" list.
- white candy coating. I bought the Ghirardelli brand. I chose this over white chocolate, because white chocolate can be fiddly to melt and then work with.
- food coloring. We used the Wilton gel colors, because Syd wanted about fifty different colors and I didn't feel like fighting about it right then. We do happily use the India Tree natural food coloring on most days, though.
- bamboo skewers. I required that Syd not poke the pointy end into the marshmallows, on account of I didn't want to take anyone to the ER with a bamboo skewer lodged in their jaw, thank you very much.
- parchment paper, aluminum foil, silpat, or other non-stick surface
1. Have the kid divide the candy coating into as many small Mason jars as she wants colors. The Ghirardelli brand comes in small wafers, so this is easy to do.
2. Have the kid put the Mason jars into the microwave and nuke them according to the package directions; this means that she should be stopping the microwave and attempting to stir them often, to judge when they've melted. When the candy coating is melted, it'll stay melted for a long while, so there will be plenty of time to complete the rest of the steps.
3. After the candy coating is melted, have the kid add food coloring to each jar and stir. Syd loooooooves this part! Incidentally, I was surprised at how much food coloring the candy coating required; usually, that Wilton gel stuff goes a long way, but this white candy coating just sucked it up.
4. When all the candy coating is just the way that the kid likes it, the kid can insert the blunt end of a bamboo skewer into a marshmallow, then dip the marshmallow into a jar of candy coating and swirl it around, then place it on the parchment paper.
5. If the kid wants to add second or third colors to the marshmallows (which is really cool-looking!), then each marshmallow should be put on parchment paper in the refrigerator as soon as the first color is completed; otherwise, the candy coating will never solidify in time to add more coats.
One bag of Ghirardelli candy coating was a good amount for one bag of large Jet Puft marshmallows, and between my two kids, another kid who came over for a playdate that afternoon (who I recalled, with much chagrin, making mini cupcakes with Syd the last time she came over--apparently I'm the mom who hypes all my kids' guests up on sugar while they're at my house!), and me and Matt late that night (funny the things that one decides are delicious at 11 pm!), there were just a couple of candy-coated marshmallows left over the next morning, and by 9 am, even those were gone.
Again, this recipe is so junky that I doubt that there's even a point to trying to do it in a healthy way, but it's great for a kid who loves playing around with color, like my kid does, and who loves to cook, like my kid does. She felt AWESOME offering her sister and her friend the treat that she'd made all by herself!
Although I'm also definitely on the prowl for HEALTHY simple snacks that kids can make independently, if you've got any in mind...