Friday, February 25, 2011

Project Lunch: Cinna-chips and Taco del Bar

For this month's Kids Cooking Class, I opted to do a taco bar and have the kids make cinnamon sugar tortilla crisps. Since I didn't want the kids cutting tomatoes or lettuce, and I didn't want to be standing there cooking the ground beef while they ran around like maniacs, I prepped all the taco fixin's in advance. I decided to grate the cheese in advance too, even though most of the kids are capable of grating their own cheese on a stand-up grater. It just takes them each about a thousand years to get enough cheese to put on a single taco, and they don't like to end their turn and let someone else go next. Plus you get 1,000 little grubby nose-picking hands on the brick of cheese. I got corn taco shells and small flour tortillas so they could choose soft or crunchy tacos.
My hostess, Miss Cassie had such a great snack spread, so most of the kids (and moms) were full by lunchtime. Ah well. Since there would be very little actual cooking this time, I let the kids play for a while first, then tried to gradually get them started on using cookie cutters to make shapes from larger flour tortillas. I brought a wide variety of cutters, but tried to limit them to metal ones (plastic just isn't gonna cut it on tortillas [pun intended]) and shapes without tiny fiddly bits sticking off of them, since little bits cook faster, plus tend to tear more when getting them out of the cutter.

Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps
Difficulty: So easy a monkey could do it.
Total time: 15 minutes or less (depending on how many you're making, of course.)

Large Flour Tortillas
Butter, milk, soy milk, rice milk, oil, or water.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 or 400 F. Use cookie cutters or kitchen shears (or let your child use safety scissors) to cut flour tortillas into fun shapes. Or just fold and tear them into triangles and such.
It was really hard for the kids to do this by themselves. I let Z pick out a cookie cutter shape and place it on her tortilla, then I pressed down and shimmied the cutter and tortilla to cut all the way through.
Tip: Don't lift the cutter until the outer tortilla is completely separate.
I kept some of the larger scraps to make chips for myself later.
Photo by Cassie
Step 2: Lightly spread or brush butter onto tortilla shapes. [You can just butter the whole tortilla at the beginning, which makes it all easier, but then you have to wash the cutters!]
Instead of butter, you can use milk, rice or soy milk, oil, margarine, water... anything moist so the sugar mix can stick! I like the golden crispiness that butter gives these.

Step 3: Combine cinnamon and sugar in whatever ratio you prefer. I've read a recipe that uses 2 Tbsp sugar to every 1 tsp cinnamon. 
I tend to use more cinnamon, since I find that it's more visible this way, and then Z is content with having less sugar on her stuff. Works great with cinnamon toast and fruit, as well as cereal. She can SEE the cinnamon, so doesn't insist we add enough until she can see the hard-to-see sugar!

Step 4: Sprinkle as desired on buttered tortilla shapes. Spread tortilla shapes onto foil- or parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet. 
[You can put them on cookie sheet before or after sugaring them. Depends how many more times you plan on using the same cookie sheet to make more. You wouldn't want too much extra sugar burning under batch #3 on the foil from the first batch!]

Step 5: Bake at 400F for around 4-6 minutes, or 350 F for 8-10 minutes. On bake, I never got any burnt ones, even when I forgot about them for a few extra minutes. You can probably broil them at 400F for around 3 minutes, but would want to watch them closely!
Photo by Cassie

Not surprisingly, the cinnamon crisps were more popular than the taco bar, and absolutely every child not only tried the crisps, but liked them. Z and another boy both ate them raw, both with and without cinnamon sugar, but we made extras for them that got cooked.

My favorite part about the cinnamon crisps is that they are so easy to make, and a quick, fun, on-the-fly cooking activity. When I made my tortilla sandwich for my Her Favorite Things MTM, I whipped up some of these for myself with the tortilla scraps.

You're seeing cookie cutter shapes from my Fox Run Marine Life, Dinosaur and Farm Animal sets, crown from Princess set, flowers and a bunny from my Wilton Easter set, Martha Stewart Noah's Ark set, a smaller dinosaur from a set I got at Kitchen Collection, plus some random ones from sets at Daiso.


  1. I love the cinamon tortilla crips. I think we are going to make them today!


  2. I have a fruit salsa recipe that serve with my homemade cinnamon chips. Would you like it?

  3. @kellyb - Yeah! I love fruit, and I like salsa, if it's not too spicy! The hostess for my cooking class had some kind of dip that I thought was hummus, but apparently it was for apples! Omnomnom! I love sweets! Especially if I can put them on OTHER sweets!
    @MeloMomma - Let me know how they turned out! All the MOMS who tried them loved them, and I like them much more than greasy churros or the cinnachips they sell at taco places!


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