Tag Archives: monsters

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

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

Individual Summer Fruit Crumbles

With vanilla ice cream–a perfect summer treat!

I’m right in the middle of finishing all the illustrations of my latest book project.  It will be published by Viking Press next year and is written by the amazing,  award winning Anne Rockwell.

I can’t show anything to you yet, but I can say that yummy breakfast food is a part of it. 🙂

Pancakes anyone?

Denis and I are also getting ready for the launch of our collaborative effort, Hush Little Monster, out next month.  More on that to come soon!

You would think with my workload I wouldn’t have time to make dessert on a daily basis.  But….

You would be wrong!

Here’s a  super easy and great summertime dessert that you can throw together without thinking.  The secret is to have a stash of topping already prepared.

Mix up a batch of crumble topping.  I use butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, some flour or oats, spices and chopped nuts.  Sometimes I also add coconut.  I’ve even made a sugar free one for a friend out of just butter (you could use coconut oil also), almonds, cinnamon, and oats.

Store this crumble mixture in the refrigerator and use as needed.

Leftover crumble in container I keep in the fridge

When you want to have some dessert, cut up some fruit — summer is wonderful for stone fruits and berries which work well here.   Mix with a bit of sugar and other flavorings if you like, such as lemon juice, zest, liqueur– have fun.

Blueberries and chopped cherries mixed with a touch of sugar

Then fill ramekins.  We use about 1/2 cup of chopped fruit mixture per ramekin.

My assistant spooning fruit into ramekins

Top with however much crumble you want.

Putting on topping

Bake at 375 F degrees.   Since it’s been so hot, I just use our Cuisinart toaster oven, aka Easy Bake oven, because it preheats so fast and doesn’t heat up the apartment.  It only takes ten minutes to warm the fruit up and brown the crumble.

Unbaked crumble

Baked crumble – after ten minutes in toaster oven

You could also use a larger baking dish and make a big batch at once time, but you’d need to bake it longer– about 40-45 minutes and use a regular oven.

I like the little individual ramekins because they are portion controlled, heat up fast, and are small enough to fit in our above mentioned toaster oven.

Also, they are cute.

This is a sugar free, dairy free version: Just fruit, oats and sliced almonds!

My son loves making these crumbles.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Warm, crunchy, and creamy!

Individual Summer Fruit Crumbles

½ cup chopped summer fruit and/or berries per ramekin

½ – 1 teaspoon sugar, depending on how sweet you like it – or none at all

dash of liqueur (such as Kirsch or Cointreau) or lemon juice or zest if you like

Crumble Topping – use however much you like (see recipe below)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  2. Stir fruit and sugar (and liqueur, lemon juice, zest, if using) together.  Spoon into ramekins.
  3. Top with crumble.
  4. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until lightly browned on top.
  5. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature.

If you want to make one big crumble for 4-6 people, use about 2 ½ pounds fruit with ¼ cup sugar and stir together in a square baking pan or pie pan.  Top with crumble mixture.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes at 375 F degrees.

Crumble Topping:

6 tablespoons flour or oats or combination

¼ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

5 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into pieces

¾ cup chopped nuts (I like sliced almonds)

Note:  you can also add in dried coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds – use whatever strikes your fancy.

  1. Pulse flour, oats if using, with sugars and salt and spices in a food processor a couple times to mix together.  Add butter.  Pulse some more until mixture is sandy.  Then add nuts (and seeds and coconut if using) and pulse a few times more until mixture is clumpy.
  2. Store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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Filed under Children, Desserts