Every year, I look forward to the no-excuse-needed Chinese New Year (CNY) goodie feasting. As you can probably guess, I am a huge snack monster (who stole cookies from the cookie jar all the time when I was little lol).
I didn't want to keep my toddler away from all the happy feasting that is so pertinent to enjoying Chinese New Year, so I explored ways to make healthier CNY snacks which are sugar-free. These sugar-free chocolate tarts are a creative twist to the traditional pineapple tarts.
I roped Miss 21 months into the tart making process and she enjoyed the hands-on experience... in addition to the cookies of her labor!
Sugar Free Chinese New Year Tarts for Toddlers!
Adjustments Made to the Usual CNY Tarts
- I used organic ingredients where possible.
- Most of the sugar comes from the pineapple jam so I decided to replace pineapple jam with 100% cocoa filling that is sweetened with honey. In short, instead of pineapple tarts, I would be making chocolate tarts.
Sugar-free CNY Tart Recipe
I have been using my aunt's recipe for years, and modified it this year for a healthier, sugar-free, toddler-friendly version. Thank you DGG! Heaps of butter is involved, so it's an extremely buttery, flaky tart that I love!
Here are the ingredients needed:
- Plain flour 400g
- Unsalted butter 350g
- Egg yolks 3 large ones
- Salt 2g
- Cold water 28g
- 1 beaten egg yolk as egg wash for the pastry
- 100% baking cocoa (roughly 200g)
- Heavy whipping cream (roughly 100g)
- Honey (add to desired sweetness)
I use a 2:1 ratio for baking cocoa to heavy whipping cream to obtain a smooth creamy chocolate ganache. After chilling the chocolate ganache, it solidified into a soft paste which could be spooned easily into the dough ball as its filling.
Making of dough
- I recommend using a food processor for the dough because it's unbelievably fast! In fact I'll weigh and place the flour, butter, egg yolks, salt and cold water directly into the food processor bowl, then turn it on and watch the ingredients combine. Without a food processor, following the following steps.
- Place flour, salt and butter into a mixing bowl.
- Knead butter and butter to form a texture similar to crumbly breadcrumbs. Be mindful not to over-knead as heat from warm fingers will melt the butter.
- Add egg yolk and water to form a pliable dough. Again don't over-work the dough.
- Refrigerate for minimum of 4 hours, ideally overnight.
Making of Chocolate Ganache Filling
- Break up cocoa block into small blocks and place in a mixing bowl.
- Heat up heavy whipping cream in a pan till the first bubbles appear.
- Pour heated heavy whipping cream into the mixing bowl of cocoa blocks.
- Stir the mixture of cocoa and cream until all the cocoa melts.
- Add honey and continue stirring. Taste to ensure mixture has reached desired level of sweetness.
- Refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours before use.
Molding of Tarts & Baking
- Heat oven to 350 fahrenheit / 180 degrees celsius.
- Use a weighing scale to weigh out 9g of dough.
- Roll into a ball and then use a rolling pin to flatten it out.
- Place filling in the middle of the dough ball and wrap it carefully in the dough.
- Chill the tarts in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before putting egg wash on the pastry and baking them in the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Let the tarts cool down before serving.
Once tarts have cooled down, place the tarts in an air-tight container.
They can be lightly warmed in the oven before serving, or you can consume them at room temperature.
Tarts can stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
Tip to contain mess: These delicious, buttery chocolate tarts crumble easily so serve them to your toddler in a snack bowl if possible. It might be easier for your toddler to use a spoon instead of biting off the tart in her hand.
Benefits of this Activity
- Quality bonding between parent and child
- Fosters cultural appreciation and introduces children to traditions and rituals associated with Chinese New Year
- Manipulating the dough is great for fine motor development and hand-eye coordination
- Being involved in the food creation process helps children understand how food is made and where it comes from, appreciate the food they eat and generally become a less picky eater
- Helping out in the kitchen provides children with a sense of accomplishment as they feel their contributions are being valued
If you enjoy making Chinese New Year goodies with your little one, try your hand at cornflake cookies too! Given the success of this baking session with Miss 21 months, I would most definitely incorporate cookie-making as one of our annual Chinese New Year prep rituals!
For more CNY toddler activities, check out @miraculove_sg (Instagram), save our pins or join A Toddler Activity A Day Facebook Group.
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.