Crafty Kids: How to Make 3 Sweet & Delicious Pantry Staples on a Rainy Afternoon

April showers bring…homemade goodies! While you’re stuck indoors watching the deluges of early spring, stock up on sweet treats that’ll last your family through the summer (presuming your little helpers aren’t “sampling” the whole day through).  Here, we offer recipes for three pantry staples, excerpted from Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love by Cheryl & Griffith Day. 

Raspberry Jam
(Makes 2 pints)

2 1/4 pounds raspberries
3 cups granulated sugar

1. Put a saucer in the freezer, along with three metal spoons.

2. Rinse the raspberries in a colander under cold running water and drain. Put the berries in a large heavy nonreactive saucepan and toss them with the sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring and mashing the berries with a heatproof spatula, until the sugar is dissolved and the berries have released a lot of juice, about 10 minutes. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan, gradually raise the heat to high, stirring frequently, and then continue to cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan so the mixture does not stick, until the jam registers 220°F on the candy thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes after it reaches a rolling boil. The jam will look glossy and dark. To check for doneness, put a teaspoon of the jam on the cold plate and return the plate to the freezer for 3 to 4 minutes. If you can make a line through the jam with your finger that doesn’t disappear, it’s ready. If the jam is still too runny, continue to cook and test until ready.

3. Immediately transfer the jam to a medium-mesh strainer set over a heatproof mixing bowl and force the jam through the strainer; discard the seeds. Carefully skim any foam from the top with a spoon. Let cool.

4. Store the jam in Mason jars or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Chocolate Honey Fudge Sauce
(Makes 2 cups)

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup clover honey
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1. In a small heavy saucepan, combine the cream, honey, sugar, cocoa powder, and half of the chocolate chips, stir together with a heat-resistant spatula, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.

2. Remove from the heat, add the remaining chocolate chips, the butter, vanilla, and salt, and stir until smooth.

3. Let the sauce cool slightly, stirring occasionally, and use immediately. Or cool completely, pour into a jar, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 month. To serve, warm gently in a saucepan over low heat (or in the microwave oven) before spooning it over the ice cream of your choice.

Vanilla Syrup
(Makes 2½ cups)

2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

1. In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the vanilla beans, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the bottom of the pan doesn’t scorch. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

2. Remove the vanilla beans and pour the cooled syrup into a jar with a lid. Add the vanilla beans and cover tightly. The syrup can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Excerpted from Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Angie Mosier.