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Kids and Cookies on the Road

by Dennis Weaver


Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars
Build some for the road: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

The kids will be out of school before long. It's time to be thinking about that annual trek to see the family in Kansas. Or maybe this year, you'll slip out and see the Grand Canyon. The kids will love it -- you think. This year they'll be a little older, a little more patient. You'll take a little more time, make more stops.

Chances are, the kids will love it a little more with cookies.

Kids like cookies. Besides, they need to refuel more often than adults and cookies are a better choice than the candy and pop at the next service station. Cookies even make good bribes: "If you quit teasing your sister, I'll let you have another cookie."

Yes, cookies can make the trip better.

But let's get the right kind of cookies. They have to be cookies that kids like. Your favorite cookie may be your child's untouchable. I have one son that will not touch a cookie with nuts. So much for the walnut chocolate chippers. I have another son that won't touch chocolate. (Strange, isn't it?) So make sure that you are packing cookies that the kids really want.

Some cookies just weren't built for the road. Cookies that smash together easily, crumble into pieces, or turn into gooey messes in the back seat of the car just aren't meant for the road. You don't want to open the cookie box to find a crumbling, melting mass or swivel in your seat to find chocolate all over Johnny and squished cookies all over the upholstery. Pick a neat, tough cookie that travels well.

And you've got a trip to get ready for. You can't spend half a day making cookies the day before the trip. Choose a cookie that goes together in a hurry or that you can make well ahead of time. Bar cookies are a good choice. Spread the dough in a pan and bake them all at once. Refrigerator cookies may be an even better choice; mix them up a week ahead and bake them before leaving. And if you can find a good mix, that works too.

So we're looking for cookies that the kids like, that travel well, and don't take a lot of work when we're getting ready for the trip. We're do we find such cookies?

BAR COOKIES

Bar cookies are so convenient because you don't have to shape individual cookies or run multiple batches through the oven. Once and you're done. You can bake them ahead of time, wrap them individually in plastic, and freeze them until you're ready to go. But I wouldn't choose ooey, gooey brownies or soft, squishy lemon bars. There are plenty of bar cookies travel better than that. Here's a good one: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars.

Bar cookies usually travel best when individually wrapped in plastic wrap. You can even make them ahead of time and freeze them. Wrap them in plastic and then store them in a heavy zipper-type plastic bag.

REFRIGERATOR COOKIES

There are lots of refrigerator or icebox cookie recipes about. Refrigerator cookies tend to be tough little devils if they don't have too much butter in them. Butter-rich refrigerator cookies tend to be more like shortbread and somewhat crumbly. With less butter, they keep better and tend to be harder, crisper cookies. Here's one of our favorite refrigerator cookies that also travels well: Vanilla and Chocolate Almond Cookies.

Dennis WeaverDennis Weaver -- having burnt food from Miami, Florida to Point Barrow, Alaska -- is RTA's road food expert. He has logged thousands of hours on the roads, trails, and waterways of America including many of Alaska's wilderness rivers and has consistently been elected the trips' "chief cook and bottle washer." Dennis is currently general manager at The Prepared Pantry, a company in Rigby, Idaho, that produces ready-to-eat meals and baking mixes packaged in Mylar. Weatherproof, bug-proof, and critter resistant, they're ideal for both roadtrips and back woods camping. Dennis may be reached at dweaver@preparedpantry.com.
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