Cookie recipes aren't something you'll typically find here at Casual Kitchen. But after having an absolute blast assisting my 14-year-old niece in making today's Mint Melts recipe, I realized a fundamental truth: yes, cookies might not be all that healthy for you, but they are a perfect teaching tool to get your kids interested in cooking.
Think about it--cookie recipes are easy. Kids of almost any age can participate. Very young kids can do basic tasks, like measuring flour or getting eggs and butter out of the fridge. Older kids, say nine- or ten-year-olds who have already had some practice baking, can do most of a basic cookie recipe by themselves under adult supervision. And of course, people of all ages love to play with--and eat--delicious, squishy cookie dough.
Some of my most vivid childhood memories involve working with my mom in a kitchen filled with the aroma of baking cookies. And these early experiences ultimately led to my lifelong curiosity and interest in cooking.
If you have kids, try making a batch of Mint Melts with them and see how much they enjoy it. The recipe has an interesting and unusual process step that kids will love, and of course the end product is absolutely delectable. And you never know, you might inspire a future cooking genius!
3/4 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1 12-ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 6-ounce package of Andes Candies
1) Heat butter, sugar and water over low heat until the butter is fully melted. Add chocolate chips and stir until uniformly melted. Cool 10 minutes, then pour into a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs.
2) Sift together dry ingredients (except Andes Candies), then mix with the liquid ingredients. Refrigerate dough for one hour. While the dough is being refrigerated, take the Andes Candies and cut each one in half with a sharp knife.
3) Roll teaspoon-sized balls of dough and place on a greased (or foil covered) cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 350F.
4) Remove from oven and immediately top each cookie with half of an Andes mint candy. When the candy has melted on top of the cookie, swirl the mint over the top of the cookie to complete the mint frosting.
Makes 40-60 cookies, depending on size.
A couple of brief recipe notes:
1) The unique and interesting part of this recipe comes when you put the mint Andes Candies on each cookie. I'll include a few quick photos to demonstrate. And make sure you have all of the Andes Candies cut in half and ready to go ahead of time; you don't want to be scrambling to prep them after the cookies come out of the oven.
As soon as you take the cookies come out of the oven, place half an Andes candies on each cookie. Then, wait just a couple of minutes...
...and as the Andes Candies melt, take your finger and smush it around on top of the cookie:
Make sure everyone licks their fingers repeatedly during this part of the recipe--it will help your family's collective immune system.
2) I'd ruin Casual Kitchen's entire reputation as a healthy food-related blog if I didn't include a brief warning on the health detriments of cookies. So here goes: Cookies are horribly energy-dense and they should not be eaten to excess. Just a half-dozen cookies from a typical cookie recipe can add up to 400-500 calories--which means that just a few inattentive moments of mindless eating, and all of a sudden you need to do a four mile run to get back to even! These little buggers can be dangerous.
Ah, but who says you have to eat them all? Enjoy a few, but then bring the rest of 'em to the office. Let your coworkers do the four mile runs.
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