Having a two-year-old in the house for a week was a revelation. I hadn’t taken a thoughtful walk down the kiddie cereals and biscuit aisles of the grocery store for years and I had no idea that the world now revolves around boxes.
Before you take umbrage, I have nothing against store-bought treats for kids. It’s just that I like to expend a little kitchen time for and with them and it’s not easy to compete with vanilla-cupcake-flavoured goldfish crackers.
I may not be able to make magical little shapes but there’s nothing stopping me from turning out tasty morsels that are quick and easy and will appeal to all hands, no matter what their ages.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Crispy Treats
I’m not one bit embarrassed to offer you a recipe based on cereal. In fact, I’ve got a family-sized box to get rid of so standby because this may not be the last in the next couple of months.
Kids love these but there will be larger fingers reaching for the plate, too. Cut them into sticks instead of squares to make them even easier to hold onto. You’ll get at least 16 cookies from this pan.
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 cups white miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup corn syrup
1-1/4 cup peanut butter chips
5 cups rice crisps cereal
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
Melt butter in a large, heavy-
bottomed pot. Add marshmallows and stir over low heat until they break down. Remove from heat and add corn syrup and peanut butter chips; stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Immediately add cereal and chocolate chips and stir to coat the cereal uniformly. Working quickly, press into a well-greased nine-inch square pan. Greasing your hands will make this a bit easier. Cool before cutting.
Granola Bar Ice Cream Sandwiches
And again, I’m not embarrassed. I had all three ingredients in the cupboard and this solution seemed neater than handing over a bowl of ice cream to be eaten with a granola bar as a spoon.
Think about it.
You can make one of these or 16, if that’s the size of the box you bought and depending on how much ice cream you have in the freezer.
Chewy granola bars — any flavour but not too large
Hazelnut chocolate spread — 2 tsp. per sandwich
Slightly softened ice cream — 2 tbsp. per sandwich
Coat one side of a pair of granola bars with the hazelnut chocolate spread. Top with the ice cream, pushing to the edges. Marry two bars with ice cream in between. Freeze until firm.
The combination I liked best was S’mores granola bars with vanilla ice cream, but consider caramel bars with butter pecan or chocolate bars with chocolate ice cream.
For the grownups there’s always coffee ice cream, of course. You can also substitute peanut butter or caramel for the hazelnut chocolate spread.
If the mess won’t cause you great grief, hand over the ingredients and let the kids loose in the kitchen for an afternoon of pure fun.
I don’t know what it is about dough that attracts little fingers but they can have fun in the bread pan for hours.
These classic pull-apart sticky buns are perfect for dessert but great for a breakfast on the run, too. They are especially delicious, however, fresh out of the oven.
If you would like to make your own bread recipe feel free — I would go with brioche if I were starting from scratch.
You can use those biscuits in a tube if you prefer a more tender result, but I like the chewiness of bread.
1 lb. (1 loaf) bread dough or touton dough
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Cut the dough into 35 to 40 pieces of roughly the same size, although some variation is not at all a bad thing.
Shape them into balls — don’t worry about getting a perfect shape because the baking will reshape them anyway.
Melt the butter in a small bowl, just big enough to roll the dough balls in.
Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon in a second bowl.
Dip each ball in the butter than roll to coat completely in the sugar cinnamon mixture.
Place in a well-greased tube pan but don’t pack them down.
Continue until all the dough is used up. Pour any remaining melted butter over the top and sprinkle in the rest of the sugar mixture.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 F for 40 minutes or until the sauce around the edges is golden and bubbly.
Turn out onto a big plate and allow to cool enough so nobody will get burned, then let them have at it.
Cynthia Stone is a writer, editor and teacher in St. John’s. Questions may be sent to her c/o The Telegram, P.O. Box 86, St. John’s, NL, A1E 4N1.