Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Minecraft Party: Emerald Ores

This how to make those emerald ores from Kate's Minecraft Party

Very easy. First, you need a recipe for a dry and crumbly confection. I brainstormed with my mother-in-law and she suggested cornbread. Because it's really easy to make bad, dried-out cornbread, even by accident, right? 

You can make yours from scratch, but we used a box mix. This one was 52 cents a box. 

I made some modifications:
  1. I substituted plain water for the milk (same amount) called for in the recipe. No point wasting good milk - it's just liquid, afterall, that we want.
  2. I added a heaped tsp of baking powder. The amount is not important.
  3. I added black food coloring.
  4. I baked it for twice as long as recommended, to make sure it got really hard and dry.
  5. I added emeralds (of course).

The emeralds in question are these glass gems from the dollar store. I thought (briefly) about using the more exciting-looking plastic jewels you can buy in craft stores but wasn't sure they'd hold up in the baking process. 

Let's make those ores!

First, throw the gems in a container and spray them with cooking spray, then toss to coat evenly. This will prevent the cornbread from sticking to them and instead crumble off cleanly later.

Line baking trays with parchment paper. Don't bother to grease; the parchment paper will be sufficient, and has the double plus of allowing you to lift everything out easily later to cut apart. Mix the batter, adding as much food coloring as you like. I used 8" x 8" trays - one per box of mix.

Leave for 15 minutes or so to let the rising agents (the added baking powder and whatever else is in the mix originally) work. The batter will puff up slightly. Preheat your oven to whatever temperature is indicated in the box instructions.

Press gems into the puffed-up batter. 

I pressed mine under the surface, but not all the way to the bottom of the pan. 

Then I smoothed the batter over them to hide them.

The upside of using a real edible (except for the gems) recipe is it all smells very good when baking! And if the guests are daft enough to somehow get it in their mouths, there's no harm done.

You can bake yours as long as you like to ensure everything dries out, but I prefered baking it for just twice the recommended time, then cooling slightly and cutting into squares (each containing one gem) while not too brittle.

Then I laid the squares out to dry completely, their individual edges exposed for greater drying surface area.

We left ours to dry overnight. After that, we found that one batch was still somewhat "chewy", so we baked that batch (in separate squares as is) for another half hour or so. 

On the day itself, the kids got a bucket and went to mine ores. They crumbled away the cornbread coating

 and extracted the gems,

then traded them with the Villagers for other treasures. 


  1. That looks pretty ingenius to me!

  2. You have the best paty-ideas! Great stuff!!!

  3. hurray for the emerald idea ! I have to prepare an Explorer party, and wanted to make these http://www.survivingateacherssalary.com/diy-make-your-own-dinosaur-egg-dig-tutorial/
    but dinosaurs were not quite in my theme ... so the emerald will do the trick perfectly !
    Thank you again for all of your ideas and sharing !

  4. Very clever! I'm a huge fan of parchment paper for baking. Wise call using glass instead of plastic gems.

  5. This is such a fabulous idea. I am borrowing it to use with my grandchildren. I am planning a visit a park with great trails and I am including a scavenger hunt. Mining for gold/gems is a great addition! How long in advance do you think I can make the cornbread ores? I am thinking that 3-4 days will be ok. The staler the better? Right? Thank so much. I love your blog. You are incredibly creative.


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