Raspberry Pecan Pinwheel Cookies

photo: Con Poulos


Easier and faster than rugelach, my kids felt like professionals when these cookies came out of the oven. Pretty enough for company, tasty enough for kids to love, these cookies are a great addition to your cookie repertoire.

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package store-bought cookie dough (sugar) or 2 store-bought pie crusts that can be rolled out
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
Sprinkle a clean work surface with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Roll out the cookie dough on lightly floured surface or unroll one piecrust, place it on the cinnamon-sugar mixture and press gently to help the mixture adhere to the crust.
Spread half the jam evenly over the cookie dough or crust and sprinkle half the pecans over the top. Starting at one end, tightly roll the dough into a log. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Trim the ends of each log, then refrigerate for 15 minutes. Cut into 1-in.-thick slices and place on their side (so that the full flat side is down) on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 2 in. apart. Bake until golden brown, 20 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.

Frozen Chocolate Bananas

photo:dessertstalking.com

These are a great treat to make with your kids because 1) they are easy to make, 2) they are pretty healthy (Hey, even chocolate is good for you!) and 3) you can enjoy them too!!

2 just ripe bananas
4 popsicle sticks
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons oil
½ cup topping of your choice – chopped toasted pecans, chopped toasted walnuts, granola, sprinkles, toasted coconut…

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut each banana half and insert popsicle stick into the cut end. Place on baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes. Melt chocolate with oil in microwave and stir until smooth. Roll each banana half in the chocolate, then sprinkle with desired topping. Return to baking sheet and freeze until set – about ½ hour.

Ice Cream Bon Bons

This ice cream treat has become my daughter Sarah’s signature dessert. They are adorable, easy to make and so refreshing for kids and adults on a warm, summer Shabbos. The key to success though is to temper the chocolate properly.

12 chocolate wafer cookies, (we use pareve oreo types, but you can use flat circle wafer cookies too)
2 pints pareve ice cream or sorbet (try lots of great flavors)
12 whole almonds (optional)
26 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening or canola oil

Set a wire rack over a baking pan. Arrange the wafers, top sides on rack, spaced evenly apart. Using a 2-inch ice-cream scoop, scoop a ball of ice cream or sorbet onto each wafer. Place an almond on top of each scoop of sorbet. Transfer pan to freezer for 20 minutes.

In a double boiler, or a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Melt chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from heat. Let cool slightly.

Remove baking pan from freezer. Generously ladle melted chocolate over the bonbons, covering entirely. Return the baking pan to the freezer for 30 minutes more or overnight. Serve.

Ice Cream Bars

photo: cooksrecipes.com


In the summertime, big kids and little kids want frozen desserts. Try this one that imitates your favorite ice cream bar. This way you don’t have to wait for the truck!

½ cup melted butter
1 pound Oreos, crushed
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups evaporated milk
½ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ gallon vanilla ice cream
2 cups roasted, salted peanuts

Mix together melted butter and Oreos. Press into bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Refrigerate until firm. In a sauce pan, stir together powdered sugar, chocolate chips, evaporated milk and butter. Bring to boil. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool. Soften ice cream slightly and spread over crust. Top with peanuts and then cooled chocolate mixture. Cover and freeze.

Another great frozen dessert that everyone loves is Frozen Peanut Butter Pie. This is actually the perfect ending to a Shabbos meal.

Easiest Father’s Day Burger

Makes 4 burgers
1 to 1-1/4 pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons steak sauce (such as A.1.)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1 to 2 tablespoons finely minced onion

Lots of good toppings: mustard, barbeque sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and buns

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mixing thoroughly with your hands or a wooden spoon. Shape into 4 patties by hand, making the center of each just a little thinner than the edges. Refrigerate until ready to grill.

Have mom or dad do the grilling: Start your grill, and when it’s good and hot, grill the burgers to the desired doneness, flipping once. About 4 minutes each side.

Serve with all the sauces and burger fixings.

Easy Dessert For Kids

This is a super easy dessert recipe to make and is in the dairy spirit of Shavuot recipes. But I promise you it won’t only be the kids eating it.

24 ice cream sandwiches
2 (8-ounce) containers frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Caramel sauce

Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with ice cream sandwiches. Spread with 8 ounces (1 container’s worth) of whipped topping. Add another layer of sandwiches and the rest of the whipped topping. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and walnuts and drizzle with caramel sauce. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours. Cut into bars while frozen (this and the eating are the only adult part of this job!)

Like this easy dessert recipe? Try another of our Shavuot recipes that the kids can help with!

Vanilla and Chocolate Root Beer Float

1 really cool root beer float glass
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
2 – 4 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 cup root beer
Whipped cream or topping
Chocolate sprinkles or chocolate shavings
Straw

Place 1 scoop vanilla ice cream in the bottom of a glass. Drizzle 2 tablespoons chocolate sauce over the ice cream. Slowly, pour the root beer on top of the ice cream mixture (pour slowly because it will foam up). Add the other tablespoon or two of chocolate syrup into the root beer. Top with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

Baked French Toast


1 large challah
8 eggs
3 cups vanilla or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (optional, you may omit)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

Cut challah into one-inch cubes and set aside.

Beat eggs in a bowl. Add yogurt, syrup, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, and cinnamon, mixing well. Add cubed bread and stir, coating all pieces. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the French toast for 30 minutes or until golden. Top with a little extra yogurt and serve.

Mounds Bar Brownies

Cooking with kids doesn’t have to only involve desserts but they definitely get more excited when it does! And I figure that anything that gets them used to being in the kitchen is fine with me. Parents need to do the melting here but kids can do the mixing. I bought a box of Mounds bars for a family vacation and came home with way too many. It was either cook with them or eat them all myself…

Mounds Bar Brownies
2 Mounds candy bars (this doesn’t come close to using up what I have but it’s a start!)
½ cup shortening
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt together candy bars and shortening (I use a microwave; you can also use a low heat on the stove top). Remove from heat and stir in all remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 9-inch square pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Cut into bars while still warm. Don’t blame me if you eat too many…

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa

Serves 4

With so many snow storms hitting the East Coast this year, I have needed to get very creative with hot cocoa. My kids love the Hot White Chocolate Cocoa but this was a new hit.

4 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
10 ounces chocolate, chopped
½ cup creamy peanut butter

Warm milk and cream in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add chocolate, and whisk until melted and combined. Continue to warm mixture until thick, about 3 – 5 minutes. Whisk in peanut butter until smooth.

Broccoli Cornbread Muffins

Sometimes the line between cooking with kids and cooking for kids gets blurred. This is actually a recipe that kids, even young ones if an adult chops the onions and melts the butter, could put together themselves. It does have broccoli in it but maybe if they make it themselves…

1 (8-1/2 ounce) package cornbread or muffin mix
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed (if you can only find 16 ounce, just remove some of the broccoli and steam it for your lunch over a baked potato or filet of salmon)
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 small onion, chopped
2 eggs
½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stir together cornbread mix, broccoli, cheese and onions. Make a well in the center. Whisk together eggs and butter – it doesn’t matter how long you whisk so you can keep young children occupied with this task almost indefinitely. Pour into bowl and stir until just all ingredients are just moistened. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes – until golden. Let sit for about 3 minutes before removing from pan.

Stone Soup

As a prelude to making this recipe with your kids, read Marcia Brown’s STONE SOUP. It tells the story of three hungry soldiers who come into a village and cleverly trick the peasants into sharing their food–by making a lavish soup out of seemingly nothing but stones. Like the soldiers’ soup, this recipe turns basically whatever vegetables you have on hand into a hearty meal. My kids loved plopping a real stone into the broth, as we’ve described below, but if your pantry’s low on stones, you can let the potatoes fill that role.

Ingredients
1 stone, big enough that it won’t get lost in the soup (quartz is a good choice because it won’t break down in cooking)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped fine
1 large carrot, cut into coins
3 medium red-skinned potatoes (unpeeled, and cut into halves)
1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 large garlic clove, pressed
6 cups chicken broth (or a combination of broth and water)
1 medium zucchini, diced large
1 medium yellow squash, diced large
1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 cups cooked elbow macaroni, or other soup pasta (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Croutons

Instructions

The first step is for your child to scrub and wash the stone thoroughly. Then, for an extra cleaning, she can drop it in a pot of water to boil while you prepare the rest of the soup together.

In another large pot, heat the oil, then sauté the onion on medium-high for 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the celery, carrot, potatoes and red pepper, sautéing for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, and then add in the broth. Using a spoon, fish the stone out of the other pot, add it to the soup and bring to a boil. Add the zucchini, squash, corn and pasta, cooking another 8 minutes or until the zucchini is the desired softness. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Before serving, sprinkle on the croutons, then ladle–minus the stone–into individual bowls.

Serves 6 to 8.

Pancakes

Children of all ages (including me) love pancakes. In general, I am a purist. I like them plain with (dare I reveal?) pancake syrup (and not real maple syrup). I think my kids like them that way also. But if your children are more adventurous, you can sneak in some blueberries. The pancakes look beautiful and you’ve added a nutritional component. Or, you can forget about nutrition and sneak in some chocolate chips (in the same quantities as the blueberries) instead. I confess to using a mix in times of desperation but here’s a delicious homemade version.

1-3/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking power
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup melted butter
½ teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (optional)

Stir together all the dry ingredients. Whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream, melted butter and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Whisk together until just blended. Gently fold in blueberries (or chocolate chips!), if using. Melt margarine in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. For each pancake, ladle about 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot skillet. Cook the pancakes for about 1-1/2 minutes on the first side or until you see bubbles form. Then flip and cook them about half as long, until the second side is golden brown. Serve immediately. Save the best for yourself!

Double Peanut Butter Cups


1 recipe Classic Peanut Butter Cookie dough
48 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped
(or 48 Hershey’s Kisses)

1. Preheat the oven to 375º F.
2. Shape the dough into balls using a tablespoon-size cookie scoop and place the balls into ungreased mini-muffin tins.
3. Bake the cookies until they are just firm, about 12 minutes.
4. Remove the tins from the oven to wire racks. Immediately press a peanut butter cup, right side up into each cookie so the top of the peanut butter cup is almost flush with the top of the cookie. Let the cookies cool in the tins completely before carefully removing them.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
1 cup dry-roasted peanuts

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup smooth peanut butter (preferably a commercial brand, such as Skippy)

Place the nuts in a food processor and pulse 5 to 8 times to chop fine (they should look like very coarse sand).
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl and beat them together with an electric mixer on medium until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chopped peanuts.

Notes: Be sure to use non-stick muffin tins. Don’t overfill or they’ll be hard to remove – I found this out the hard way with 5 or 6 of my cookies. If you don’t want too much peanut butter, you can use Hershey’s Kisses instead of peanut butter cups, just insert them pointy side down.

Warm Red Punch


Here’s a nice warm drink to enjoy after an afternoon in the snow. It can also be a relaxing after dinner treat (adults might like to add a little rum) or even with your Friday night meal. It couldn’t be easier and you kids will be excited that it contains candies!

Warm Red Punch
1 (32 ounce) bottle cranberry juice
1 (32 ounce) can pineapple juice
1/3 cup red-hot candies (like Hot Tamales)
2 cinnamon sticks

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 2 to 5 hours.

Vanilla Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 48 cookies

I love the combination of the dried cherries and the chocolate chips in these cookies. But what is really great is that the vanilla cookie dough is suitable for any added ingredient like M & M’s, butterscotch chips, dried apricots, or a mixture of toppings that your kids will love.
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted margarine, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped dried sweet cherries, craisins, M & M’s or any other dried fruit or nut that your kids will enjoy

Directions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until evenly combined; set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat together the margarine and sugars over medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate and cherries until they are uniformly distributed.

Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet. Bake until the cookie edges are golden brown, about 14 minutes. Leave the cookies on the baking sheets on racks for 3 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining dough. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely before serving.

Do It Yourself Marshmallow Cocoa Dippers


I saw this idea in Good Housekeeping magazine and I thought it was perfect for this section. It is super easy, attractive, fun and, of course, delicious.

Large marshmallows
Straws
Melted Chocolate

Sprinkles (the magazine calls for red sprinkles but you can use whatever color you like – it’s nice to match them with the color of the straw!)

Stick the straws inside the marshmallows, being careful not to let them poke all the way through. Lay out a bowl of melted chocolate, a plate of sprinkles and waxed paper. Did marshmallow in chocolate to coat and then did just the bottom and slightly up the sides in the sprinkles. Place on waxed paper (maybe sitting on a cookie sheet to give it a solid bottom) to cool. Dip inside your next steaming mug of hot chocolate

Guacamole Chicken Wraps

Serves 4

The lettuce lines the flour tortilla so that the tortillas do not get too soggy. My kids love eating these with their hands and they are full of protein.
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ripe peeled avocado
1/2 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
4 green leaf lettuce leaves
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
2 cups shredded skinless, boneless grilled, roasted or barbequed chicken

Place first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; mash with a fork until smooth. Stir in tomato.
Place 1 lettuce leaf on each tortilla; spread about 1/4 cup avocado mixture on each lettuce leaf. Top each serving with 1/2 cup Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken. Roll up. Wrap in foil or parchment paper; chill.

Sugar Cookies

foodphotoblog.com

Kids seem to never tire of making sugar cookies – or at least they never tire of decorating him. I like this recipe because they don’t require icing but can easily be decorating with all the different colored sugars.

1-1/4 cups shortening
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon lemon extract
4-1/2 cups flour
1 cup soy milk mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar

Cream shortening with sugar, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. Beat in eggs, vanilla and lemon extract until well combined. Alternately add flour and soy milk-vinegar combination, beginning and ending with the flour. Cover and chill for 3 hours. Divide dough in half and roll until about ½-inch think. Cut into rounds with a 2-1/2 inch cookie cutter – or even easier, just use a glass turned upside-down. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with decorative sugar. Bake for about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Onion Rings Chicken on a Stick

I actually can’t believe I tried this recipe as it calls for the packaged chips version of onion rings. I don’t think I have ever bought them before but they actually give terrific crunch and flavor to this recipe. And believe it or not, they are much lower in calories and fat than if they were fried. These are 196 calories and 3.5 grams of fat for two skewers. My kids were really excited that I was willing to try it and enjoyed the chicken with high hopes that I would let them have the left over onion rings as a snack.

Serves 5 kids

4 boneless, skinless, chicken cutlets cut into strips
1 ounce (about 15) Onion Flavored Rings from the package (alternatively, you could use canned fried onions)
½ ounce (about 7 chips) sour cream and onion potato chips (pareve)
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 dashes garlic powder, or to taste
2 dashes salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg or 1/8 cup egg substitute
Chicken skewers (if wooden, soak for 30 minutes in water)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Carefully slide each chicken strip lengthwise onto a skewer. Set aside.

In a large sealable plastic bag, combine the onion rings, potato chips, and all the seasonings. If you like, add extra seasonings to taste. Seal the bag and crush contents until reduced to a coarse breadcrumb-like consistency. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Prepare a large baking sheet by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk egg into a small bowl. Take a chicken skewer and dunk it in the egg, evenly coating the chicken. Gently shake off the excess liquid and then lay chicken skewer in the seasoned crumbs. Rotate the skewer pressing it into the crumbs to evenly coat the entire piece. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the chicken skewers.

Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, carefully flipping skewers about halfway through cooking, until chicken is cooked through and coating is crispy. Cool for a few minutes. Eat plain or with duck sauce for dipping.

Hot Chocolate

credit: onsugar.com

It’s slowly inching up on that time of year again – the time when hot chocolate is the drink of choice and nothing says a cozy and inviting kitchen like a nice, steaming cup waiting on the counter. While my children have been known to use a mix for a quick hot cocoa as they fly out the door in the morning, for the more leisurely moments it’s nice to make the real thing. Here is a recipe for a super-rich hot chocolate that can be made for those special family occasions.

Hot Chocolate

4 cups half–and-half or whole milk
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon corn syrup
Whipped cream for the top (this should not be considered optional!)

In a heavy saucepan, combine half-and-half and chocolates. Stir in corn syrup. Cook, stirring or whisking constantly, over a low-medium heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into mug and top with whipped cream. Serves 4 to 6, depending on the size of the mugs and the appetites!

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies

These yummy cookies allow your children to participate in many different aspects of the preparation. They can form the dough into balls. They can stir together the filling. They can fill the cookies. They can flatten the cookies. And, of course, they can eat the cookies.

¼ cup peanut butter
1-1/2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon nondairy creamer or soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda. Cream together the margarine, sugar, brown sugar and ½ cup peanut butter until fluffy. Beat in egg, soy milk and vanilla. On low speed, beat in flour mixture. Batter will be thick. Form the dough into 32 balls and set aside.

For filling, stir together powdered sugar and ½ cup peanut butter. Shape this mixture into 32 balls also.

Slightly flatten each chocolate ball and top with peanut butter ball. Pull chocolate dough over peanut butter to cover completely and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake for 8 minutes or until just set. Cool on pan 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

Jelly Beans

jelly-beansforkids
Kids (of all ages!) love jelly beans. True confessions: they have always been one of my favorite candies. And now that Jelly Belly is kosher, there is a flavor for every palate – and some that don’t seem suited to any! This is just a fun cake that you can make with your kids, incorporating this treat. And if a few don’t quite make it into the cake…well that’s part of the pleasure of the fun of making it!

Jelly Bean Cake

3¼ cups flour, divided
¾ cup jelly beans
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, softened
4 eggs
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons nondairy creamer, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ cups powdered sugar
3-4 drops food coloring of your choice, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss together ¼ cup flour and the jelly beans. Cream together margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Beat in 1 cup non dairy creamer and vanilla. Add remaining flour and baking powder and mix until combined. Fold in jelly bean mixture. Pour batter into greased 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and finish cooling on rack. Whisk together powdered sugar and remaining nondairy creamer. Add food coloring, if using, one drop at a time until desired color is reached. Drizzle over cake.

First Grade Pickles

Pickling

In my son’s class this year his fantastic teacher Mrs. Lesser had the children make pickles to hands-on experience how a chemical change works. The kids loved making the pickled vegetables, had trouble waiting for them to pickle and gobbled them up after the science fair where they displayed them and explained their project.

Mrs. Lesser generously shared the recipe with GKC. Try it with your kids.

First Grade Pickles
Select small cucumbers (or other vegetables) that are 4-5 inches long.
Buy enough to fill 5 quart size jars.
For 5 jars you will need:
2 cups vinegar
1/2 cup pickling spice
10 cups water
¼ cup salt
Fresh dill (optional)
Garlic cloves (optional)
Prick cucumbers at the ends with a fork and soak overnight in cold water.

Drain and dry thoroughly.
Scald jars and put a bunch of dill in the bottom (if using).
Pack cucumbers (or vegetables) in tightly.
Add a garlic clove or more depending on personal preference.
Put more dill on top.
Combine vinegar, pickling spice, salt and water (you may heat this to a boil if you want a more subtle flavor and pour over cucumbers while hot).
Pour over cucumbers.
Seal immediately.
Let stand in a cool place for 6 weeks before using.

Enjoy!

Peppermint Fudge

Summertime provides lots of opportunities for cooking with kids. It can be a fun activity – where you decorate cookies or cupcakes. It can be for the sake of a refreshing treat, like last week’s popsicles or it can even be dinner (killing two birds with one stone!). This fudge recipe is the perfect for kids. It’s very simple although it does require the stove and a mother’s supervision. This is the peppermint version but you can replace the peppermint extract with vanilla extract and choose pretty much any topping or add-in of your choice. I like walnuts; your kids probably want to add m & m’s!

pic-cooking-kids

Peppermint Fudge

4 cups sugar
1 (10 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 cup butter
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow fluff
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
2/3 cup peppermint candies, coarsely broken

Combine sugar, milk and butter in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, still stirring for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly whisk in chocolate chips, marshmallow fluff and peppermint extract. Stir until smooth. Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch pan. Sprinkle with candies, cover and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares.