Just like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take on evil forces to save New York City, you can rise to the challenge of hosting a TMNT-themed birthday party for your child. All it takes is some ninja know-how to throw a party that’ll have them seeing green!
There are sure to be some next-generation fans when the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie hits theaters Aug. 8 and today’s kids experience what ’80s babies learned a few decades ago: human-sized, pizza-eating, bad-guy-beating turtle ninjas are just plain awesome. There is little doubt your own eager ninja will request a TMNT-themed party after seeing the film, and we’ve got you covered with more than a half shell of ideas to make it a memorable birthday bash.
When throwing a turtle power-themed party, it’s important to remember one thing: Think green! From having the guests dress in all green to providing everyone with mini green turtle shells (i.e. green Frisbees tied on with string), green is this party’s signature color.
When it comes to the recipes, keep it playful and hands-on. Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello love their pizza, so have the kids make personalized pizzas and provide various veggies to encourage them to make different designs and faces. For those looking to keep things healthier, green apples with turtle masks are just the ticket. For kids who are nuts about bread, you can’t go wrong with individual turtle bread snacks. Finally, for dessert, create some simple yet delicious turtle shortbread cookies or some “toxic ooze” Jell-O treats topped with Cool Whip!
Makes 1 loaf
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup warm water
½ cup hot milk
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Dry currants for decoration
1. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, and remove from heat. Add butter to the milk and stir until melted. Let it cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the cooled milk mixture, egg, salt, and 2 cups flour; mix well to combine. Add the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, approximately 8 minutes. Cover dough with a wet rag and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Divide dough into seven pieces: one round 2 inches in diameter, five rounds 1 inch in diameter, and the remainder in one large round.
4. Place the large round on a lightly greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Shape four of the 1-inch rounds into ‘feet’ and one into a ‘tail’ for the turtle. Shape the two-inch round into a ‘head’ for the turtle. Attach each piece by flattening the end that attaches to the body, wetting it slightly with water and pinching it under the turtle’s ‘body.’ Press raisins into the turtle’s head for ‘eyes.’
5. Cover the turtle with a damp cloth and let rise for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Finally, use scissors to make a cut for the turtle’s mouth. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Makes approximately 8 pizzas, depending on the number of biscuits in package
1 can refrigerated biscuits
1 cup pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package sliced pepperoni
1 green and yellow pepper sliced
1 can of sliced olives
1. Press each biscuit into a 6-inch round. Place on two large, greased cookie sheets. Have the kids top each with pizza sauce and then decorate their pizzas with toppings such as pepperoni, green and yellow peppers, and olives for eyes.
2. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until bottoms are deep golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
Turtle Shortbread Cookies
Makes 12-16 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Wisk together flour and salt in a bowl. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, and continue to beat until pale and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides of bowl, approximately 2 minutes more. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers.
2. Separate half the dough into another bowl. In the second bowl, add green dye until it blends smoothly. Turn out dough, forming into two disks; wrap each in plastic separately. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
3. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll out the green disk to a ¼-inch thickness and cut out turtle-like shapes using desired cookie cutter. Remove the inner part of the turtle near the stomach, cutting out a circle for the turtle shell. Using the un-dyed dough, fill in the empty circle and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Reroll scraps and cut more shapes.
4. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Bake until firm and golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
5. Top turtles with chocolate syrup to create desired appearance.
Toxic Ooze Jell-O
Makes 24 Jell-O molds
4 packages of sugar-free lime gelatin or Jell-O
4 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water
1 jar unsweetened organic applesauce
Low-fat Cool Whip
Sugar-free sprinkles (optional)
1. In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in cold water and applesauce. Pour into small plastic cups with cooking spray. Refrigerate for 8 hours overnight.
2. Pop out Jell-O molds and top off with low-fat Cool Whip and sugar-free sprinkles (if desired).
Cornelia Guest is the owner of Manhattan-based catering company Cornelia Guest Events.
For more information, visit corneliaguest.com.