Tag Archives: monster cookies

Mini Monster Cookies and Draw A Monster Game

pile monster cookies close

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a literacy workshop organized by the St. Nick’s Alliance of Brooklyn.  The event was held at Junior High School 126 and was made possible by the Brooke Jackman Foundation which works to improve literacy among the city’s at-risk students.  The children I worked with ranged from grades 3-5.  They had been participating in the program after school for 8 weeks, and the night I came to speak was the night of their graduation from the program.

hush_bookI read (actually I sang it!  lol) Hush Little Monster to them and talked about the process of making the book.  I spoke about how revising and editing both the text and the pictures was a big part of the process.  For example, originally, it was supposed to be a Halloween book.  Then the publisher decided to change it to a good-night picture book.  So we had to change the ending which originally read: “So scream little monster, small and green, for tonight is Halloween!”

30-31

Now the ending reads: “So hush, Little Monster, not a peep!  The sun is coming out; now it’s time to sleep.”

peep

After some Q and A, we all did an activity I created called Draw A Monster Game.  I made three sets of colored cards with different characteristics pasted on top.  Pink cards have general shape words (e.g. big, tall, hairy, etc.), Green cards have characteristics (e.g. antennae, fangs, wings, etc.), and Yellow cards have emotions (e.g. sad, happy, shy, etc.).

cards

Each student chose one Pink card, two Green cards, and one Yellow card and used those to create a monster.  I brought a ton of art supplies, ranging from pens and crayons and markers, to collage materials, such as sequins, glitter, feathers, dried pasta, yarn, etc.  Some parents and the teenage counselors also wanted to take part!  It was so cute to see this one “tough” guy in his early 20s with long sideburns, a brooding look and tattoos very meticulously put glue in spindly monster legs and carefully dust with glitter.  I wish I had taken photos, but I was so busy running around helping students and talking to people, it didn’t even occur to me!

This is the monster I created as a demo.  I got the cards “fat”, “three eyes”, “horns”, and “happy” for my words.

monster

After the students created their monsters, they filled out a Monster Fact Sheet and wrote about their characters.   I have to say, the Monster Fact Sheet was my son, Jamie’s idea.  Before the event when I was trying to create an activity that went with the story, I ran it by him, and he suggested having the fact sheet!  He even wrote one up for me on his own and insisted I use it, so I did.  I typed it up and added one or two lines, but that’s it.  So proud of my guy!

jamies sheet

Everyone loved the drawing game.  It is really fun to play.  And all the monsters are SO different!  All the children wanted to share them with the group.  The stories they came up with were priceless.  One girl drew a zombie cat monster who lived in “the pet cemetery in the sky”.  Its favorite food is “bacon in the sky — which is ‘flying bacon'”.  I love it!

For the graduation, the kids were presented with  a backpack filled with books, including a signed copy of Hush Little Monster, and I passed out my mini monster cookies.  These cookies appear in the book:

Note monster mom carrying tray of wormy cookies!

Note monster mom carrying tray of wormy cookies.

I developed this recipe for the book launch last year.  But for this event, I revised the recipe to accommodate a large group.  I doubled the amounts, omitted the peanut butter chips due to peanut allergies, and I made them a lot smaller.  I ended up with over 80 cookies!  I only had 11 gummy worms, however.  It worked out though, because the gummies were pretty big. I cut each one into tiny pieces.

gummiesAnd added one or two worm piece to each cookie as they came out of the oven.  If you can’t get the gummy worm to stick as the cookies cool down, just zap the worm on the cookie  in the microwave for about 10 seconds and they will soften and adhere to the cookie.

mini monster cookie close

If you’d like to try playing the game, all the elements (instructions, card words, fact sheet) can be found here at my NEWLY UPDATED WEBSITE!   View my work, see my books, and check out the other fun freebies and craft and cooking ideas for kids I have there.  Please take a look and let me know what you think— I’d love to hear from you!

pile monster cookies

Mini Monster Cookies

adapted from Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies from The Cookiepedia

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1/2 egg white (I used 3/4 tablespoon liquid whites)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup mixture of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and dried coconut

1 cup potato chips and pretzels broken into pieces

About 6 gummy worms cut into small pieces

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs. Mix to incorporate, scraping down sides of bowl.

3.  Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl.

Slowly add to butter and sugar mixture while mixer is running.

4.  Add sweet and salty mixtures to batter and stir together.

5.  Spoon tablespoonfuls of dough onto two baking sheets covered with parchment paper or Silpat mats.  I could get 12 mounds on one sheet.

6.  Bake for about 10-16  minutes, rotating pans halfway.

7.  When cookies are golden, remove from oven and press 2 pieces of gummy worms onto each cookie.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Makes about 40 small cookies.

Recipe may be doubled.

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Filed under Art Related, Books, Children, Cookies, Desserts

Pumpkin Custard and How to Use Leftover Ingredients

Let me tell you something about myself:  I hate wasting food.

One of my pet peeves used to be recipes that only used a small amount of an ingredient, as in one tablespoon of chopped, fresh parsley or two tablespoons of tomato paste, etc.  The leftovers would languish and eventually go bad in the refrigerator — only to be discovered later.  I say “used to be” because I’ve found ways around wasting the rest of the ingredients through various methods.

I realized I did not clarify that with the last recipe I posted! The pumpkin granola bars only call for 1/4 cup each of pumpkin puree and applesauce.   So I wanted to use this as an opportunity to share some tips for using leftover ingredients.

Whenever I have extra, I either use it up right away (e.g. we ate the leftover applesauce over the next days), or I freeze it.  It can drive my patient husband crazy, but I’ve been known to fill our ice cube trays with all sorts of leftover ingredients:  Coconut milk (leftover from curry —  frozen coconut milk is great in smoothies!), tomato paste, marinara sauce, chicken and beef broths, apple sauce, milk and coffee creamer (before we go on a long trip and I know it would go bad otherwise — these are also great in smoothies and frapuccinos!)  Yes, I’ve even frozen pumpkin puree in ice cube trays.  The resulting pumpkin cubes are great in smoothies and this terrific pumpkin frappucino (I use the frozen pumpkin and less ice, so it has more flavor).

My ice cube molds hold about 2 tablespoons.  I freeze the food in them and then transfer the cubes to a labelled freezer bag — the key word being labelled!
Don’t skip this step — believe me, frozen chicken broth looks a lot like applesauce.  To defrost, I zap them in the microwave.  I know each cube is 2 tablespoons, so two cubes are 1/4 cup and four cubes are 1/2, etc.

Frozen coconut milk cubes.

For the leftover pumpkin from the pumpkin granola in the last post, I decided not to freeze the rest of the pumpkin puree and instead made a simple pumpkin pie dessert minus the crust.

I blended the pumpkin, sweetener (I used stevia), cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and milk to taste  in a blender.  Then I added an egg and blended some more. I transferred the mixture to little ramekins and nuked them in the microwave for 2 minutes, then 1 1/2 minutes each until they looked done.  They were delicious with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice on top.

A less decadent pumpkin “pie” dessert.

For leftover ingredients that do not lend themselves easily to freezing, I make other things.  For leftover parsley, I always make tabouleh.  Here is a crunchy version inspired by Mark Bittman.  When I have leftover basil, I always make fresh pesto (which you can freeze or use immediately).  Here’s a recipe that I used when I had leftover basil after making stuffed zucchini.

Recently, I threw together a shrimp curry and had leftover coconut milk (which I froze as mentioned above) and chick peas.  A great way to use leftover chick peas is to puree them with tahini, lemon, garlic, salt, and olive oil to taste and make hummus.  If you only have a little bit though, I would recommend roasting them at a high temperature.  They make a yummy snack or salty treat to throw on your salad.  Just coat with oil or nonstick spray, kosher salt, and/or other seasoning and roast at 400 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes or so.  Roast until they are crunchy.  They are SO good.  I usually end up eating them all in one sitting.  They would probably be good mixed with popcorn, but I never save enough to try it out!

Do you have tricks for using up or saving leftover recipe ingredients?  Do share — I’d love to hear about them!

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On a literary note — I just want to let you all know that this weekend Denis and I will be on a panel with other authors of Halloween themed books at the wonderful Books of Wonder this Saturday at 12-2 pm to share Hush Little Monster.

Oct 27th
Saturday

12pm -2pm
HAUNTED HALLOWEEN FUN!
KARINA WOLF – The Insomniacs
MICHAEL LEVITON- My First Ghost
LEO LANDRY- Trick or Treat
DENNIS MARKELL – Hush, Little Monster
MELISSA IWAI – Hush, Little Monster
GIANNA MARINO – Too Tall Houses

On Sunday, we will be at Book Court in Brooklyn at 11 am.  I will be bringing these (mini) monster cookies to pass out.  If you are in the area, please stop by and say “boo!” 🙂

For info on upcoming events, check here.

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Now for the “recipes” — these are really just guidelines!  It depends on how much of the ingredient you have.

Pumpkin Custard

almost a can of pumpkin puree

sweetener of choice to taste

cinnamon to taste

pumpkin pie spice to taste

1-2 tablespoons or more milk, depending on how thick you like it-for a richer flavor and texture, use heavy cream

1 egg

1.  Blend everything in a blender except egg.  Then taste and adjust spices and milk.  Then add egg and blend some more.  You could also do this in a food processor.

2.  Transfer mixture to ramekins.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  Then again for about 1 1/2 minutes until custard looks cooked.  Serve with whipped cream and extra cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

These are quite addicting. If you like them a lot, just go for a whole can!

Roasted Chickpeas

Leftover chickpeas

Non-stick spray

salt and or other seasonings of your choice

1.  Spray chickpeas with spray and sprinkle with salt on foil or parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast at 400 degrees F, shaking pan every 15 minutes, until chickpeas are crunchy — about 30-45 minutes.

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Filed under Books, Desserts, Sides, Vegetarian

Princeton Book Festival

This Saturday (September 8), Denis, Jamie and I will be at the 7th Annual Princeton Children’s Book Festival.  Denis will read Hush Little Monster at 11:20 am and we’ll both be signing books.  There will be a lot of amazing authors and illustrators there, so if you are in the area, please check it out!

I made this little guy out of faux green fur and felt.  His eyes are a little big because I didn’t have smaller ones in my craft stash.  I had to make him wee because I only had a little piece of red cotton for his shirt!

This will give you an idea of his size:

I’ll be handing out gummy worms to continue my Monster Cookie theme.

I also updated the activity section of my website to include a downloadable coloring sheet for kids!

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Filed under Books, Cookies

Monster Cookies

Our book was released by Simon and Schuster yesterday!

back of postcard info

It’s written by my husband, Denis, and inspired by our son, Jamie.

Jamie and Denis recreating the cover of the book

We got a starred review in Publishers Weekly. 🙂

To celebrate, Jamie helped me make Monster Cookies, inspired by the Mommy Monster’s snacks in the book.

Copyright Melissa Iwai 2012

Another example of life imitating art…

I definitely wanted “worms” in them so I decided on gummy worms which I cut in half and pressed into the cookies right after they came out of the oven (obviously I wasn’t going to bake them, as they would have turned into a puddle of goo).

Instead of sticks, we used broken up pretzels. We also threw in some chips for the saltiness and crazy monster factor.

For sweet add-ins we used chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, and dried coconut.

half-way full

This recipe was based on Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies found in The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando. It’s pretty straightforward and easy to make with kids. Coming up with the salty and sweet add-ins is part of the fun.  I reduced the amounts by 1/3 because I didn’t want to make a huge amount of cookies.  This version makes a cool one dozen large cookies.

Sweet and savory additions in the mixing bowl

I was surprised at how much they spread and got so huge! But they are monster cookies, after all… so the size is appropriate.

They taste really great. You can’t perceive the potato chips, but the saltiness surely adds to the overall flavor.  The pretzels give it good crunch.

The gummy worm addition actually works with the flavors! But I think next time we make these, we’ll add old fashioned oats for more texture.

If you get a chance, please check out Hush Little Monster! It is a perfect book for a monster loving child– or a little monster of your own. 🙂

Monster Cookies

adapted from Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies from The Cookiepedia

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1/2 egg white (I used 3/4 tablespoon liquid whites)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used a combination of white and whole wheat)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup mixture of peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and dried coconut

1 cup potato chips and pretzels broken into pieces

6 gummy worms cut in half

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs. Mix to incorporate, scraping down sides of bowl.

3.  Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl.

Slowly add to butter and sugar mixture while mixer is running.

4.  Add sweet and salty mixtures to batter and stir together.

5.  Spoon twelve round dough mounds  2-inches apart onto two baking sheets covered with parchment paper or Silpat mats.

6.  Bake for about 16-18 minutes, rotating pans halfway.

7.  When cookies are golden, remove from oven and press 2 halves of gummy worms onto each cookie.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Makes 1 dozen very large cookies.

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Filed under Art Related, Books, Children, Cookies, Desserts