Delicious. Simple. Fun. And something you can do together with a young friend or relative. This project automatically divides itself into two easy steps which makes it good for small children. It allows them to play for a while in between so they get a nice break between focused efforts.
To get started, have everyone first put aprons on; if you don’t have aprons, do it the way my grandmother did back in the thirties: fold a clean tea towel or dishtowel into a triangle, wrap it around your middle and fasten in the back with a safety pin. If you are thin enough you can tie it.
Put the cinnamon mixture into a salt shaker that has been washed and dried thoroughly. Be sure it has big holes. I have one dedicated to cinnamon-sugar at home. Do your cinnamon toast work at the kitchen table – it’s a good height for your short helpers to stand on chairs and work efficiently. Wipe the kitchen table and dry it thoroughly with a towel, then lay out slices of your favorite bread. Spread salted butter evenly and rather thickly across the entire surface. Of course your little ones will not do such a great job, but you want to know what the goal is, which is, a fun time for all. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly and generously across the top.
Select your favorite cookie cutter shapes. Best to choose shapes that are squarish or roundish, rather than long and thin, or with edges sticking out like whiskers or branches; these things tend to get broken. Cut out as many pieces as you can out of each slice of bread. Place everything on a cookie rack (the kind you cool cookies and cakes on after they have come out of the oven) including the out-takes, and bake in a 300˚ oven. Watch your toasts carefully! They should take about fifteen minutes, but the amount of time depends upon the thickness and freshness and type of bread you are using, and the size of your shapes. You want them to be completely dry and crispy, not just toasted on the outside. Take one out occasionally to check. Remove from oven when completely dry and slightly brown. During the baking, do a little cleaning up so your table will be ready for part two. Be sure to have the children help with the cleaning, so they become accustomed to the idea that after the fun comes the putting away. After cleaning, the children can be off playing, giving them a break before applying themselves to the next step of the project.
To package my toasts I used a flower-top box in red to make a super-bright party favor. Form the boxes all at once. Then, when the boxes are all made, carefully place the toasts inside them. Fold the top down, and allow the flower to poof up a little. I used small square shape labes in Boxicle style, Spice. I also used diamond shape favor tags.
Now stand back and admire your lovely packages. Award your child with one of their very own, and put the rest out on the table to be ready for your party!
…Oh, but you ask, what do you do with the out-takes? You munch on them! Or you save them to serve to your proud family for dessert that night!
Guidelines for Simple Gifts:
• Plan ahead. Think about and decide what you want to do well in advance so you can do the shopping portion of the giftmaking along with other errands. Have all materials and ingredients on hand when it is time to make the gift.
• Packaging. Pretty packaging makes any gift special. Arm yourself with a supply of small boxes or cellophane bags and ribbon. We also recommend having your own personalized tags or labels on hand. Use generic wording so they can be used on a multitude of items. For example, mom’s tags and labels say “with love from Grammie.” With no reference to what the item is, they can be used on anything!
• It is not the item itself that is special; it is the idea that you think enough about a person to prepare something personally for them. Sometimes your gift doesn’t even have to be handmade; but hand-assembled. Follow this monthly series and you will see examples of both.