Last week my two youngest sons experienced a summer lull. I prefer to say summer lull rather than use the dreaded b-word. When I was a child (an only child, I might add) my mother went to great lengths to avoid my use of the b-word. She shuttled me to camps, swimming lessons, library clubs, and friends' homes all because she hated it when I said, "I'm bored." She detested it so much that she couldn't even utter the word bored and, therefore, referred to it as the b-word.
Now that I am all grown up and the mother of four children, I have acquired my own aversion to the b-word, but have adopted another positive approach to these summer lulls. When one of my children sluffs over to me and mutters, "Mom, I'm bored" I take a deep breathe, smile, and say something cheerful like "Oh great! In Chapter 18 of the book Don't Sweat the Small Stuff it says that all human beings should allow themselves to be bored occasionally in order to achieve greater peace in their lives." At this point the b-word child usually glazes over and wanders off in order to avoid further quotations from my latest book selections. If they remain in my presence for more than thirty seconds, however, I often turn to my next approach which is to cook something.
The recipe we chose during our most recent summer lull was from my youngest son's cookbook Snack Attack! He received it from his little friend for his 3rd birthday. Oh, be still my parental heart. . . a kid's cookbook as a birthday gift! What a fabulous idea! And my son loves it! He often picks it from our book shelf as his before-bed story time selection. He'll cuddle up beside me and chirp, "Wet's wead about wecipes!" We always start by reading the handwritten inscription from my son's friend and his mom. It says, "Happy Birthday! We got you this book because we know you love to eat snacks. We hope every time you use this book to make a snack you think of us. Enjoy!" This is another way that recipes create loving memories, awwwwwww, so sweet. Although my son would totally dig it if I read him every single ingredient, utensil, and step in this cookbook, I force him to choose just one chapter of recipes such as "after -school favorites" or "travelin' food".
The Stop 'n' Go Cookie Pops come from the chapter called "travelin' food". My sons love them because they're on a stick and who doesn't love any food more when it's on a stick? I love them because they require basic pantry ingredients and the dough is very forgiving. They are a cakey chocolate cookie dough that is shaped into a rectangle, poked onto a stick, and embellished with colorful candies. Although the example on the recipe shows these cookies in the shape of a traffic light (hence the name Stop 'n' Cookies), my kids have made them into squares, circles, hearts, and blobs. This cookie dough lends itself very well to all types of creative possibilities.
So the next time you encounter a summer lull and your kids get that look on their faces like they just might utter the dreaded b-word try cooking something fun, easy, and delicious, such as Stop 'n' Go Cookies.
Stop 'n' Go Cookie Pops
very closely adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Snack Attack
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
red, yellow, and green candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
- Turn on the oven to 350 degrees. Put the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and slat in the medium bowl. Save until step 4.
- Cut up the butter using a table knife. Put butter in a large bowl. Beat with the electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds or until butter is softened. Stop the mixer.
Add the sugar. Beat on medium speed until combined, stopping the mixer occasionally and scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Stop the mixer.
- Add egg and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until combined, stopping the mixer occasionally and scraping the bowl. Stop the mixer. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until combined.
- Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, beating as much of it in as you can with the mixer. Stop the mixer. Stir in as much of the flour mixture as you can with a wooden spoon. If necessary, use your hands to work the remaining flour mixture into the dough.
- For each cookie, shape 1-2 tablespoons of dough into a rectangle on the ungreased cookie sheet (we used a silpat lined cookie sheet). Push a wooden stick halfway into a short side of each rectangle.
- Press red, yellow, and green candy piece into each rectangle for the lights of the stoplight.
- Put the cookie sheet in oven. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are firm. Use hot pads to remove cookie sheet from oven. Let cookies remain on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Makes about 26 cookies.
Dough also works well for other cookie shapes such as hearts, circles, and blobs.
Linked to the following link parties: Summer Link Party, Favorite Summer Activities, Made By You Monday,