Make time in the afternoon to play some of those old favorites, Candy Land, old maid or checkers—or just spread a blanket beneath a tree and read the children a Nancy Drew book or one of the Hardy Boys while sipping lemonade and nibbling on a brownie.
Every child and adult loves brownies. And brownies always taste better to children when they bake them themselves. It is a wonderful project to do with a grandchild. Start with a package mix—it’s easier and quicker—and just follow the basic directions on the box.
For a fun change, make M & M Brownies by sprinkling 3/4 cup of M & M candies evenly over the batter about 10 minutes before the end of the baking time.
Or how about Rocky Road Brownies—just spread the batter from a package of brownie mix in a prepared pan; sprinkle with 1 cup of miniature marshmallows and 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Bake and cool, then drizzle with chocolate syrup.
Triple Chocolate Brownies are always a hit. Prepare a 9-inch-square baking pan according to the directions on the package. Stir 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips into the batter spread in the pan, and then sprinkle evenly with another 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips. Bake, cool, then drizzle with 1/4 cup of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Coffee Brownies are a treat with a mocha icing. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of instant coffee granules in the water used for the batter. Bake the brownies and cool. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of instant coffee granules in 3 tablespoons of water. Put in a large bowl with 1/2 cup of room-temperature butter, 2 1/3 cups of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread over the uncut brownies.
Here’s another one the kids will love. Put the brownie batter into a 9-inch pan and then stick a Rollo candy piece in the center of each piece before it is baked. A Rollo candy piece is a chocolate-covered caramel that comes in a roll. After baking, cut the brownies in squares.
1/4 cup of butter, melted
1 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
Mix butter, sugar and egg together in a bowl. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Stir in the vanilla and pecans; then spoon into a greased 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 minutes.
S’mores are the classic campfire dessert. For each S’more, set 4 squares of a milk chocolate candy bar on a graham cracker. Toast a marshmallow over the coals of the campfire; slip onto the chocolate, and top with a second graham cracker.
And here’s a Brownie S’more: Bake a brownie mix ahead in two greased 9-inch square pans or on a 15 1/2 x 12-inch baking sheet, baking for 15 minutes. When ready to make Brownie S’mores, cut each pan of brownies into 24 pieces; place two 1-inch squares of a milk chocolate candy bar on each brownie in one of the pans. Toast marshmallows over hot coals of the campfire. Slip toasted marshmallow onto each chocolate-topped brownie and cover with another plain brownie; press down slightly.
Toasted marshmallows are a must when sitting around a campfire. Chocolate Drops are a nice twist. Cook 1 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 1/2 cup of milk to the soft-ball stage; remove from heat. Place marshmallows on ends of sticks and dip into the hot chocolate mixture, then twirl in the air until cool, being careful of the hot chocolate drips.
And there are always Shaggy Dogs: Melt milk chocolate candy bars, adding milk to make a thin syrup (one small candy bar plus about 1 tablespoon of milk makes enough syrup for about 2 marshmallows). Put shredded or flaked coconut in a flat dish. Toast marshmallows on fork or stick over the campfire, and then dip in chocolate and then in the coconut.
Summertime is too precious to waste. Take your grandchildren on an RV outing. Skip TV and all that electronic stuff. Walk along the river with them and talk about rivers, perhaps following one on a map. Then find some wild daisies and string some together to make a necklace for a granddaughter’s teddy bear. If you are near the beach, pack a picnic and do a little beachcombing. Or find a lake and toss in a line—maybe you’ll catch a fish for supper. Remember those macaroni necklaces we made at summer camp?
Use a little imagination, be flexible, and have a willingness to venture out and try new things with that grandchild. And remember, brownie lovers come in all sizes and ages—Grandpa will be just as thrilled as the children with those wonderful brownies.
HINT OF THE MONTH: The rich, moist, all-American chocolate brownie can be one of two types—the chewy, fudgy kind or a cake-like bar with a fluffier texture.