Spend quality time with your children around the kitchen
and together you can easily whip up these sinfully delicious cookie bars
loaded with all (...or some) of your leftovers Halloween chocolate candies
I hope you had a fantastic Halloween, and a relaxing, sugar-free Sunday. I meant ... sugar-filled Sunday! We all know what really happens the day after Halloween. The kids go crazy with all the goodies they have collected, and want to eat them all.
The general rule in my house is to let the kids play, count, and compare their treasures. But they can pick only a few pieces to eat. I try to make the rest disappear. Well, not all of it! I would never get rid of chocolate candies. You all know that I LOVE chocolate. I could never say no to a melt-in-your-mouth piece of the finest chocolate, maybe filled with crunchy hazelnuts, and silky gianduia milk chocolate. Are you thinking about those fancy Italian baci too?!? So delicious!
Today I baked with one of my boy these fantastic cookie bars filled with leftover Halloween chocolate candies. This recipe is a great way to use those candies, and it's easy enough that your kids can do it by themselves, or maybe with a little help. You can let your kids decide which chocolate bars to use. From Snickers to Milky Way.Or Reese's Cups and M&Ms. Let them go wild! Just set the limit to about one and a half cups of candies cut in pieces for a batch of these cookies.
My kids love when they get to help in the kitchen. It gets very messy, but it's so much fun. Cooking is a great learning opportunity, and an amazing way to bring the family together. Sometimes it's hard to spend quality time with the children, when they are so busy with school, homework, sports and all that after-school activities.
After today's crazy baking experience I can honestly say that I need to bake more with my boys and work on their cooking skills. Neither of them could be the next MASTERCHEF JUNIOR. Not a chance, at least for the moment! Have you seen what the kids on the show can actually cook?!? Simply amazing!
In the finale of the last season, the remaining two contestants had to make a three course meal in only 90 minutes. One of the boys made an Italian inspired menu, starting with herbed homemade ricotta cheese, with roasted beets and pumpernickel bread. Yes, you heard correctly! Ricotta cheese made from scratch. I have never tried and never even thought about making it, until I saw this episode. If an 11 year old can whip up ricotta, I certainly can do it too. Well ... maybe :)
Next on the menu, there was an impressive dish of beef cheek ravioli with pan gravy and shaved Parmesan. And for dessert a perfectly creamy sweet risotto (rice pudding style) with figs and verjus. Probably you wish you knew what "verjus" is, right?! Not even my laptop spell-checker knows it really. But I do! And I learned it from the show, of course!
MASTERCHEF JUNIOR is super fun and exciting, for both adults and kids. And it's very inspiring, with all those impressive and mouthwatering dishes. I've actually decided I need to be one of the judges on the show! I can really see myself sitting next to Gordon Ramsey and sharing the fork ;)
So make sure to watch the new season of MASTERCHEF JUNIOR. It's starting this Friday November 6, 8/7 c on Fox.
Just one word of advice before the next show: make sure not to watch on an empty stomach. It will make you hungry,for sure!
Ingredients: to make an 8x12 inches (20x30 cm) baking pan, cut in about 16 bars
- 4 oz (115 gr) of unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup packed (200 gr) of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 2 cups (300 gr) of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- a pinch of salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups (about 200 gr) of Milky Way and Crunch bars, or other (Snickers, Butterfingers, Reese's cups, ...)
- 1/4 cup (40 gr) of M&Ms for decoration (optional)
Preparation time: about 40 minutes
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). Melt the butter in a double boiler, or in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds. Let it cool, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. In a large bowl add the eggs and sugar. Mix well.
3. Whisk in the melted butter.
4. Blend in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
5. Stir in the two cups of chopped chocolate bars.
6. Press the dough to the bottom of a 8x12 inches (20x30 cm) baking pan, covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle the top with the M&Ms if you wish, to give a colorful twist to the bars. Press the candies down a bit with your finger, so they won't roll around.
7. Bake at 350° F (175° C) for about 20-22 minutes. Take the cookies out by pulling up on the parchment paper, and cut in pieces. To have perfectly cut bars, make sure to wait for the cookies to cool down a bit. Or if you don't mind... we didn't mind and couldn't wait to taste this - just go ahead, cut and enjoy! I made 16 bars, about 2 by 3 inches each. You could also cut smaller portions and make 24 bars ( 2x2 in ).
What are some of your favorite ways to cook with kids? Leave a comment for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!
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