St. Patrick's Day is a great excuse to make leprechaun bait with young children (or older children for that matter). This mix is an addictive combination of Lucky Charms cereal, pretzels, and green M&Ms tossed with some white chocolate to get you in the holiday spirit.
My kids are definitely Irish: Connor and Brianne. There's Irish blood on both sides of our family. My husband has red hair and fair skin. My older child was born the day before St. Patrick's Day and my husband was born soon after. We're pretty freakin' Irish.
It's a weird holiday to have to explain to a four year old though. "It's when this country named Ireland first learned about God" was the best I could come up with without explaining patron saints, belligerent drunks, and inappropriate pinching. I went the historical context route. Just when I thought I had escaped the worst of it, C asked, "So what do the leprechauns have to do with God?" I seriously couldn't answer because I honestly have no clue, but getting into the Irish diaspora and/or commercialism just seemed a bit much for a four year old, so I just explained that now we celebrate God coming to Ireland by pretending there are leprechauns who plant gold at the end of rainbows. Just typing this makes me realize how messed up I'm making my child. This makes no damn sense.
We're pretty split on our feelings toward this holiday. John loves it because I think it brings him back to his rowdy days in college and beyond. I could honestly care less about the holiday because it's never carried much meaning for me, more annoyance than anything. Weird, drunks pinching you? Nah. And yes, I've been to Savannah to celebrate, which was fun and all but crowds aren't exactly my thing either. What I *can* get behind is this addictive stuff to make with my kids.
What is leprechaun bait?
I don't know who originally came up with leprechaun bait for St. Patrick's Day (wasn't me), but I saw it one year on Pinterest and have been doing it with the kids for a couple of years now. It's been particularly fun at their ages (2 and 4) because Connor can count while Bri can sort the cereal from the marshmallows. Bri continues to be here for the eating though and has a significantly lower productivity rate. My girl.
In fact, this kept them so entertained I was able to cook dinner while barking orders at them. Bri practiced categorizing and her colors while Connor was tasked with counting out 50 pretzels, cereal, and marshmallows (again, for absolutely no reason other than practicing his counting skills and occupying time so I could put food in the oven and pee).
What ingredients do you need?
- Lucky Charms
- mini pretzels
- green M&Ms
- white chocolate bar (I use a Ghirardelli white chocolate bar I buy at Giant and melt in the microwave.)
Simply lay out the cereal, pretzels, and M&Ms on a baking tray, drizzle the chocolate over the mixture, then pop in the refrigerator to harden up a bit. You could always adjust the chocolate to mixture ratio, too. I'm pretty conservative with the chocolate here because I like it to be more of a background flavor. You'll want to up the chocolate if you want a clumpy, chocolatey mixture.
These babies love making it as much as they love eating it (and that's a lot).
(PS: The above pictures are a half batch of the recipe below)
St. Patrick's Day Leprechaun Bait
- 4 cups Lucky Charms cereal
- 2 cup mini pretzels
- ⅓ cup green M&Ms
- 4 oz. white chocolate
- Combine Lucky Charms cereal, pretzels, and M&Ms in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave on 50% power in 30 second increments until completely melted.
- With a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the mix and gently toss with a spoon to coat as much of the mixture as possible.
- Spread out mix on a baking tray and stick in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes or until the chocolate hardens.
I hope you have a great St. Patrick's Day!