Yesterday Lorraine over at Not Quite Nigella described the special treat of being given 20 cents to buy something at the school fete and tossing up between honey joys, pikelets, toffees and other assorted goodies, eventually choosing whichever was the biggest. This reminded me of another nostalgic gastronomic occasion – kids’ parties, where the unfettered appetites of small children are allowed to run wild.

When I was a child, my parents would let me and my brothers have a party with our friends every second year, and we’d always get to choose a cake out of the Australian Women’s Weekly Kids’ Birthday Cake Cookbook, which, incidentally is one of The Age’s most influential Australian Cookbooks. The cake, be it a train, a Disney character, a doll or a swimming pool filled with green jelly (this was way back in the olden days before blue jelly was invented) would take centre stage amongst the mini frankfurts, party pies, sausage rolls, butterfly cakes and fairy bread on the table. This was one of my favourites, I think I had it for my 5th birthday.

Kids’ parties were never the place to worry about nutrition. Many a picture of me graces the family albums wearing a crooked party hat and an insane sugar-fuelled grin, my mouth smeared with tomato sauce and a trail of hundreds and thousands down the front of my party dress. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fairy bread is another of the few Australian/New Zealand recipes, along with Pavlova and Lamingtons that are entirely unique to their region. It’s something you just take for granted and never give a second thought until someone presents a plate of it to you, and then it takes you back to that place of sugar-fuelled madness not exclusively reserved for children. I have wanted to post a recipe for fairy bread for a while but it’s so easy to make it hardly seemed worth recording. Then I realised that there are probably thousands of recipes that have been forever lost because people thought they were ‘too obvious’ or ‘just common sense.’ To be fair, fairy bread has appeared all over the web, even on U.S. superblog The Kitchn, an arm of Apartment therapy so it’s in no danger of being lost any time soon. But I still want to post it myself, because I love it.

The key to fairy bread is soft, mass produced bread- no other kind will do. Also, make sure you use hundreds and thousands, the round, crunchy rainbow sprinkles rather than the flat ones. Always be sure to spread the butter all the way to the crust. And finally, rather than sprinkling the hundreds and thousands over the thinly-buttered bread, pour them onto a plate and dip the bread in, allowing the sprinkles to stick.

Fairy bread
1 loaf of fresh, soft, white bread
Softened butter (or margarine if you must)
1 large packet of hundreds and thousands

Pour the hundreds and thousands into a plate or flat bowl. Spread as many slices of bread as you like with a layer of butter.

Dunk the bread into the hundreds and thousands, butter side down. Shake off any excess. Cut the bread into four triangles.

Serve to whoever is closest. It’ll be demolished in 5 minutes flat.

What’s your favourite childhood party food?

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18 Responses to Fairy Bread

  1. I’m pleased to see you left the crust on. Unlike those precios kids that chucked a tanty if their mummy didn’t take the crust off. And it’s butter all the way. Bugger the Meadow Lea.
    I think another favourite of mine was those little wafer cones filled with marshmallow!
    john@heneedsfood recently posted…John Dory with dried tomato salsa grilled veg

    • Lau says:

      Gotta have the crusts, they’re so soft anyway what’s the point in cutting them off? I was also a big fan of sausage rolls. Anything with tomato sauce!

  2. MelbaToast says:

    Man, I used to love fairy bread and I was so jealous of all the fairies that got to eat it every day. Great post!
    MelbaToast recently posted…Misschu- Darlinghurst

  3. teehee i heart fairy bread!! and definitely love your method of dunking the bread into the 100’s & 1000’s and not just sprinkling them on!
    chocolatesuze recently posted…Taste of Sydney 2011 6

  4. Andrea Hogan says:

    I need to add, that the quality of the hundreds and thousands also makes a difference…. I made this recently and the hundreds and thousands were crapola! Teach me for buying the cheapest bag….

    • Lau says:

      I’ve also made that mistake, in fact I nearly made it again yesterday when I was buying them at the IGA. The black and gold or whatever were about fifty cents cheaper and at the last second I remembered how terrible the really cheap ones can be (although not always) and went for the slightly pricier ones.

  5. Sher says:

    I love fairy bread!

    My fave childhood treat was choc crackles!! I make the adult version of Mars Bar slice all the time – it’s so so good!

    • Lau says:

      Mars bar slice is to die for and so simple to make! I was never much of a chocolate crackle girl to tell the truth. More of a honey joys girl.

  6. Nikki says:

    Great stuff. My only comment is that the Dutch also have something quite similar to fairy bread, & adults eat it. They have packets of only pink or only blue hundreds&thousands, & people eat the appropriate colour for the birth of a child. They also have hagelslag, which is like chocolate sprinkles, & adults eat this on bread for lunch! Seriously, you can buy single serve packets to take to work, to assemble for lunch.

    • Lau says:

      I had heard of hagelslag (admittedly, in researching fairy bread) but never of eating pink or blue sprinkles for the birth of a child. That’s really cool I feel like I should start my own sprinkle-related tradition.

  7. Lau, you’re a woman after my own heart! Fairy bread! Now I haven’t seen that for a few years now! We did do a kid’s themed party for adults a few years ago and of course fairy bread had to make an appearance! :)
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted…Bompas &amp Parr Jellymongers- Elena Arzak &amp Anna Gare- Melbourne Food &amp Wine Festival

  8. so has anyone come across a healthy version of the fairy bread that looks and tastes the same? although there’s probably no point
    Simon Food Favourites recently posted…Hendrick’s Gin: ‘Gold Rush Tea’ cocktail to celebrate Australia Day (26 Jan 2012)

  9. Brilliant! Though I prefer the straight flat sprinkles:)
    I made fairy bread for an international dinner at the university where I did my exchange. Everyone else actualy bothered to make something which required effort, but I just made fairy bread. EVERYONE loved it! :)
    Miss Kimbers @ Fruit Salad and Mixed Veg recently posted…Black Star Pastry, Newtown

  10. Kathy says:

    Can fairy bread be made the night before and stored in an air-tight container? I’m having a Girl Scout troop make them for an international event that happens the following day….

    • Lau says:

      Hi Kathy, I wouldn’t recommend making this the night before. The key is freshly buttered soft white bread, so I would make it to order/just before eating. Maybe the girls could make it on the day? That in itself could generate some interest…

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