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Kids in the Kitchen: Chocolate Smash Cookies

(Family Features) - What's more fun than kids in the kitchen? With the growing number of cooking classes, culinary camps and cookbooks targeted to those younger than 16, the next generation of chefs is clearly interested in what's cooking.

Now that school is back in session, parents can use the kitchen as a valuable classroom for teaching the basics of measuring and mixing. Cooking with kids also gives parents an opportunity to talk about the nutritional benefits of ingredients like whole grain oats. Adding quick or old-fashioned oats to a recipe can boost the nutritional value of homemade goodies since they're both 100 percent whole grains.

Kids' Cooking Tools - Getting Started

Get the kids ready to cook with their very own kitchen utensils - a measuring spoon set, spatula, measuring cups, wooden spoon and apron - just like mom and dad use. Having the right tools will encourage kids to spend more time in the kitchen and make hands-on learning a tasty experience for the whole family.

Great-Tasting Culinary Crafts

Use this recipe for Chocolate-Honey "Smash" Snacks to introduce kids to the joy of cooking and allow them to reap the delicious rewards of being mom's sous chef. An adult can prepare the gooey chocolate-honey mixture at the stove while kids have fun breaking up handfuls of pretzel sticks and mixing them with oats, raisins and peanuts. After combining all the ingredients, it's time to "smash." Have the kids spread, smash and smoosh the chocolaty-oat mixture to the edges of a cookie sheet and place it in the fridge. When the mixture's firm, kids can break it into crunchy bite-size pieces - it's a snap.

Kids will love making - and eating - these tasty oat-packed treats. For more kid-friendly recipes, visit and get cooking.

Chocolate-Honey "Smash" Snacks

2-1/2 cups thin pretzel sticks, broken into 1-inch pieces

1 package (10 oz.) peanut butter-flavored chips

2-1/4 cups Quaker oats (quick or old fashioned), uncooked

1 package (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup raisins

3/4 cup honey

1 cup dry roasted peanuts (optional)

1. In large bowl, combine pretzels, oats, raisins and, if desired, peanuts; mix well. In large saucepan, combine chips and honey; heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until chips are melted.

2. Immediately pour over oat mixture, stirring until all dry ingredients are evenly coated. Spread and "smash" onto foil-lined cookie sheet, working the mixture to the edges of the sheet (mixture will be 3/8- to 1/2-inch thick, depending upon size of cookie sheet). Place in refrigerator until firm. Break into pieces. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Makes about 4 dozen

Cook's Tip: Substitute 1 package (11 oz.) butterscotch-flavored chips for peanut butter-flavored chips.

SOURCE: Quaker Oats


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