(Family Features) Summer break vanished in the blink of an eye, like it seems to every year, and it’s school time again. Although the kids may really be ready to return to a regular routine, chances are you might sense a bit of reluctance to leave the ease of summer behind.
So sweeten the trip back to school with a special lunchbox treat.
Making lunch time something your kids look forward to is something you can do every day of the school year. You can bet they won’t be swapping lunches when theirs is so special every day!
Try some of these tips that make the lunch break special:
Pack their favorite sandwich filling—if they love PBJ or cheese everyday, that’s okay!—but cut sandwiches in halves or quarters, or use a cookie cutter for fun shapes.
Use small self-sealing bags to pack bite-size servings of fruits and vegetables, such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, grapes and orange segments.
Make a snack mix of dried cereal, raisins, nuts and mini marshmallows.
Decorate the lunch bag with special stickers, or include a note with a special greeting for lunchtime.
Make kitchen time with your kids so they can share the fun in baking treats to tote to school or enjoy for after school with their friends.
Wrap up a home-baked treat—cookies, bars, muffins or these fun and fabulous Surprise Prize Cupcakes.
These frosted cupcakes will be prized. Each holds a surprise of chocolate chip cookie dough baked inside chocolate cupcake batter, so each bite is a delight. Since the recipe makes two dozen, there are plenty to share and enjoy after school, too.
When you’re planning special treats for the lunch box, or want to bake with the kids after school, take a sweet trip through the creative ideas at www.VeryBestBaking.com.
Surprise Prize Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain chocolate cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 package (16.5 ounces) Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough
1 container (16 ounces) prepared chocolate frosting
Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Paper-line 24 muffin cups.
BEAT cake mix, water, eggs and oil in large mixer bowl on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each cup, filling about 2/3 full.
CUT cookie dough into 24 pieces; roll each into a ball. Place one ball of dough in each muffin cup, pressing it to the bottom.
BAKE for 19 to 22 minutes or until top springs back when gently touched. Let stand for 15 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Spread with frosting and sprinkle with morsels.
Nutrition Information per serving: 310 calories; 140 calories from fat; 16 g total fat; 5 g saturated fat; 0g trans fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 300 mg sodium; 43 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 29 g sugars; 3 g protein; 0% DV vitamin A; 0% DV vitamin C; 4% DV calcium; 8% DV iron
Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.