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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Cooking with Kids: Frozen Yogurt & Berry Bark

Now that Ava and Lola are back at school it's just Mathilde and I at home together most days (apart from her two half days a week at preschool). She's at a really curious age at the moment and is always eager to learn how to do new things, like writing, painting pictures of animals and, most recently helping me cook. 

Lately, it feels like every time I step into the kitchen Mathilde is there, hot on my heels ready to help out. I love that she's eager to learn and is really taking an interest in how food is made, but there are so many aspects of cooking that can be just a little dangerous when you're only three. To encourage Mathilde's interest in cooking I've been thinking about simple recipes that don't contain any, well... actual cooking! Simple recipes that she can prepare fairly autonomously without the need to use an oven or stove. 

One such simple recipe that Mathilde and I made recently was Frozen Yogurt & Berry Bark. A healthier, frosty take on the classic chocolate bark, this tasty treat is super easy to make and you really can use any toppings that you can imagine. Trust me, Mathilde was coming up with all sorts of crazy combinations - all based on chocolate, of course! I decided to stick with something a little healthier though and went with berries. 

For this recipe we used Bellwether Farms sheep milk yogurt as the base. We're big dairy lovers in our home and consume an awful lot of whole milk, cheese and yogurt. I never thought I'd make the switch from cow milk products, but after trying the sheep milk yogurt, and reading about the benefits, I've got to say that I'm converted. Whole sheep milk has more protein, good fats and vitamins and minerals than either cow or goat milk. It is also more digestible due to having 100% A2 protein. That part is especially important to me, for as much as I love milk, my body struggles with digesting the A1 protein found in most cow milks. You can read more about the health benefits of sheep milk here, but let me just say, it tastes pretty good - and judging by Mathilde's face, I think it's safe to say that she agrees!

As I mentioned above, you can make this recipe with any toppings you like. You can also make it with any flavor of yogurt you like. I decided to go with plain yogurt as the tartness of it goes well with berries.

Here's a look at how Mathilde and I (but mostly Mathilde) made our delicious frozen yogurt and berry bark. You can find a printable recipe card at the end of this post.

What you'll need:
1 16oz tub of Yogurt (We used plain Bellwether Farms Sheep Milk Yogurt)
Strawberries (hulled and cut into quarters)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
Large freezer safe container such as a deep baking tray
Baking Paper

Line the tray with baking paper. If the paper doesn't stay in place well I find that a quick spray of canola oil spray underneath the paper will hold it in place until the yogurt weighs it down.

Add the vanilla to the yogurt and mix through thoroughly. If you're cooking with a toddler it's a good idea to transfer the yogurt to a larger bowl first to avoid it being stirred over the sides of the tub.

Once the vanilla essence is mixed through, start spooning the yogurt into your prepared tray and then smooth it down with the back of a spoon to make it even. It's not necessary, but you may find that swinging your tongue from side to side might help with concentration for this part - or at least it did for Mathilde! Look at that little tongue! 

Don't forget to lick the spoon when you're done with it! We all know that licking the spoon is an important part of cooking when you're a toddler.

Time to prepare the berries. The blueberries and raspberries can be used whole, but the strawberries will need to be hulled and, depending on the size, cut into halves or quarters. Our strawberries were quite large so we cut them into quarters. This was the one step that I helped out with, although I did let Mathilde cut a few with our kid safe knife. 

Now for the best part! Sprinkle the berries all over the top of the yogurt. You can make patterns if you like or just make it random like we did.

Once the yogurt is covered in berries it's time to place the tray in the freezer. Depending on how thick the layer of yogurt is, it should take about three or four hours to freeze. You can safely leave it over night if preferred.  

Once the yogurt has frozen solid take the tray out of the freezer and set aside for five minutes. Lift the baking paper out of the tray, and then peel it away from the frozen yogurt bark. If you're a toddler, you might want to press really hard on the berries like Mathilde did to make sure they're definitely frozen!

Now, originally I was going to let Mathilde help me cut up the frozen yogurt bark with her kid safe knife, but it proved a little hard. Instead I used my trusty rocking pizza blade to cut the frozen yogurt bark into pieces. You'll find that it breaks into not so perfectly square pieces, but that's fine. I think it looks better this way anyway.  

Eat the frozen yogurt bark straight away or place it in an air tight container (or freezer bags) and store in the freezer for up to a month. It makes for a tasty after school treat, a sweet dessert after dinner or even a fun and healthy breakfast.

This was such a fun and easy treat to make that we'll definitely be making more in different flavors. I often eat Bellwether Farms yogurt with sliced banana, pistachios and a squeeze of honey for breakfast and I think this combo would make fantastic frozen yogurt bark too. Mathilde is keen to make some with chocolate chips, cheerios and cookie spread or peanut butter. Nutella and strawberries would delicious too. The possibilities are endless!

Have you tried sheep milk yogurt before? As I mentioned earlier, I never imagined myself making the switch from cow milk yogurt, but the taste and health benefits have made it an easy choice. If you'd like to give Bellwether Farms sheep milk yogurt a try (or if you're already a fan) click here for a coupon for a discount on the product at any retailer carrying the yogurt.

Throughout the month of September, Bellwether Farms is partnering with the Whole Kids Foundation. For every cup of yogurt sold, Bellwether Farms will donate $1 to support schools and inspire families to improve children's nutrition and wellness. How fantastic is that?

print recipe

Frozen Yogurt & Berry Bark
  • 1 16oz tub Plain Yogurt
  • Strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
Line a large freezer proof tray with baking paper.Mix the vanilla essence into the yogurt.Spoon the yogurt mix into the lined tray and smooth out with a spoon.Sprinkle the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries over the the yogurt.Place in freezer to set for three hours or until frozen solid. Remove from freezer and set aside for 5 minutes. Remove frozen yogurt bark from tray and peel away baking paper. Place the frozen yogurt bark on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to cut into rough squares.Enjoy straight away or store in air tight container in freezer for up to a month

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