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5 HEALTHIER FESTIVE SWEETS TO PREPARE WITH YOUR TODDLER

on October 19, 2022

Most Indian households are busy preparing for each festival. That includes preparing mithai for the occasion. This article lists down five sweets your child will love. If you are looking to get your tot involved in the kitchen, these recipes are perfect for that.


We Indians are very particular about our sweets. Traditionally, they signify happiness and prosperity. No festival is complete without some sweetness! With an impressive range in taste, texture, colour, and size, traditional mithai often takes the limelight on occasions like Diwali. 

While children love traditional mithai, parents often worry about the amount of processed sugar they contain. This article is a toddler-friendly take on a few festival sweets. Why we love these sweets is because your tiny helper can assist you in the kitchen, if you and they wish to. 


1. Nankhatai

It is that staple sweet made at every home, especially during Diwali. Because of its mouth-melting character, nankhatais are loved by children and adults alike. For this reason, we have not tweaked this recipe. 

Ingredients (for 18 servings):

  • 1 cup of plain flour,

  • Half a cup of gram flour,

  • 2-and-a-half tablespoons of semolina, 

  • Half a cup of powdered sugar,

  • A pinch of salt,

  • A pinch of cardamom powder,

  • Half a cup of ghee, and

  • Sliced pistachios and almonds (for garnish).

To make nankhatai at home, preheat the oven to 160°C. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre and pour in ghee, that is at room temperature. Knead the mixture until it starts to ball up together. Add more ghee, if required. 

Scoop the dough into balls. Place the balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 18 minutes.

How can your kid pitch in:

  • Since this is an easy sweet to make, your child can be involved in the entire preparation process. This includes mixing all ingredients by hand and rolling the dough into balls. After washing their hands first, of course.

2. Besan Ladoo

Because of its status of having zero complications during preparation, this sweet is a must-have for festivals, especially Diwali and Holi. 

Ingredients (for 10 ladoos):

  • 1 cup of gram flour, 

  • Three-fourth cup of jaggery powder,

  • 3 tablespoons of ghee,

  • Half a teaspoon of cardamom powder, and

  • Water.

First, dry roast the gram flour in a heavy-bottomed pan till it becomes fragrant. As the flour cools down, melt jaggery in water. Sieve the jaggery syrup to remove impurities. Heat the syrup until it becomes sticky. 

Add the flour, ghee, and cardamom powder to the syrup; mix until they are combined well. Wait until the mixture cools down a bit. 

Roll into small balls when the mixture is still warm. 

How can your kid pitch in:

  • Enlist your child’s help to roll the ladoos.  

3. Gajar Ka Halwa

If there is any dessert that is synonymous with one’s childhood, it is carrot halwa. The sweet smell of carrots cooked in ghee with a tinge of cardamom elicits happy memories. 

This recipe uses coconut sugar, which has a lower glycemic index than white refined sugar. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of grated carrots,

  • 1 cup of milk,

  • Three-fourth cup of coconut sugar,

  • 3 tablespoons of ghee,

  • One-eighth teaspoon of cardamom powder,

  • Handful of cashew nuts, and 

  • 1 tablespoon of raisins. 

To prepare this toddler-friendly gajar ka halwa, fry cashew nuts and raisins in a tablespoon of ghee. Take them off the heat when the cashew nuts turn golden brown and the raisins plump up.

In the same pan, saute grated carrots until they don’t smell raw anymore. Add milk to them and cook on a low flame for about 10 minutes. Continue stirring. Once the milk reduces and the carrots are cooked well, stir in coconut sugar and cardamom powder. Cook until all the milk is reduced, and then add the remaining ghee and stir.

When the mixture thickens, add the fried cashew nuts and raisins.  

How can your kid pitch in

  • If your child is older and experienced in the kitchen, you could ask them to help with peeling and grating carrots. These aprons will make sure their clothes remain clean even if the task is messy.

  • You could also task your child with adding ingredients. 

4. Karanji

 

A Maharashtrian snack, karanji is a type of dumpling often made during festivals. Countless variations of this stuffed pastry – some sweet, some savoury – are also popular in other parts of the country.  

This is a healthier version of the snack because it is air-fried or baked, instead of the traditional route of deep frying. 

Ingredients (for 14 servings):

For the stuffing,

  • Half a cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut,

  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds,

  • A handful of almonds,

  • A handful of cashew nuts,

  • A handful of raisins, 

  • Half a teaspoon of cardamom powder,

  • 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar,

  • A pinch of nutmeg powder, and

  • Half a teaspoon of ghee.

For the pastry,

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour,

  • 2 tablespoons of ghee,

  • A pinch of salt, and

  • Half a cup + 1 tablespoon of milk.

First, prepare the stuffing. 

  • Fry the desiccated coconut in ghee in a pan until it turns golden brown. Set it aside.

  • Roast sesame seeds in the same pan till they pop and change colour. Set that aside as well. 

  • Grind or chop the dry fruits. 

  • In a bowl, add the roasted coconut and sesame seeds, chopped/powdered dry fruits, and the rest of the ingredients needed for the stuffing. Mix everything together. Keep it aside. 

For the pastry, do the following:

  • Heat the ghee lightly. 

  • Mix the flour and ghee lightly with a spoon. 

  • Add milk in parts and start kneading the dough. The texture of the dough should be smooth, but tight and firm.

  • Cover the dough with a moist cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes. 

  • After the resting time, divide the dough into two parts. Roll each part into a log and cut into six equal sections. Roll and flatten each slice in hand; using a rolling pin, roll out the slice into thin, small circles. 

  • Add a spoon of the stuffing to the centre of each circle. Apply water over the edges; carefully bring together the edges. Gently press till they are sealed. With fingertips, pinch and pleat the pressed edges.

Apply some oil or ghee on each karanji. You can either bake or air fry them at 175°C for about 30 minutes, turn them halfway through, and continue to cook till they are light golden brown. 

How can your kid pitch in:

  • Believe it or not, everything about preparing karanji is familial. You could encourage your child to join with the whole family to stuff and press each karanji before they head to the oven or air fryer. Remember, there will be mess ups.     

5. Black Halwa

 

While not a sweet that is part of the North Indian festivities, this South Indian traditional mithai can be considered healthy because of the absence of refined white sugar in it.  

Ingredients (for 15 servings): 

  • Half a cup of grated dark jaggery, 

  • 3 cups of thin coconut milk,

  • 1 cup of thick coconut milk,

  • Half a cup of rice flour,

  • 2 teaspoons of ghee,

  • 3 tablespoons of chopped cashew nuts, and

  • Half a teaspoon of cardamom powder.

To prepare black halwa, whisk the grated jaggery with the thin coconut milk until it dissolves. Add and whisk rice flour to this mixture. Pour it into a pan and stir on low flame. When the mixture starts thickening up after 10 minutes, pour the thick coconut milk into the pan. It will continue to thicken up.

After 20-25 minutes on low flame, the mixture will take a brown colour. Stir in one teaspoon of ghee. The mix will turn glossy and be easy to stir. Add another teaspoon of ghee and mix well. 

Add chopped cashew nuts and cardamom powder. Continue stirring for 50 minutes until the mixture releases ghee and turns black. Transfer to a greased container. Once cooled, you can cut the halwa into desired shapes. 

How can your kid pitch in

  • You could take turns with your child to stir the mixture. For obvious reasons, you have the lion’s share of the work.    

  • You could have your child cut the halwa into their favourite shapes. Lunch Punch Sandwich Cutters might just do the task.

In this fast-paced world, you might not have the luxury of time and space to prepare traditional mithai at home. That’s alright. It is perfectly fine if you choose to get them from the store. You do you.  

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