Look what came crawling out of grandma's kitchen! Sugar Bugs!
It makes sense. On Fridays, I call my kitchen the "Sugar Bug Bake Shop" because all three of my grandkid baking buddy guests are sweet as sugar and cute as bugs. And boy, do we ever produce in this shop! Even two and four year old attention spans hang in long enough to crank out several dozen cookies or a pair of banana bread loaves on those days. Our best treat though, is our signature "sugar bugs." We craft those for special events like our upcoming family bake sale.
I have the recipe here
for the basic bug body, including more pictures and tips. In the meantime, how about some highlights from the day my Sugar Bug Bake Shop baking crew went to work to turn out an entire colony of sweet, but fearsome little critters to sell for equally sweet, but fearsome prices?!
Something about this picture makes me itch! It's the first step in sugar bug construction - either oval (short or long) or round shaped.
Some features are suitable for baking, and those can be added before the bugs go into the oven. Raisins and dried cranberries, for example; those can be cut in half lengthwise and used as stripes on long, skinny bugs.
Red hot spots, too.......
When the long skinnies come out of the oven, poke a wooden skewer into the sides and insert pretzel legs to make formidable centipedes. Sour candy strips make great antennae and the buggy eyes are attached with royal icing. Those items can't go into the oven.
"I can't take my eyes off of you!" I didn't ask the little baker if he'd ever actually tasted those nasty red hots generously piled on the back of this little guy he named "Spot." My guess is "no."
Despite the frightful look of this, no sugar bugs were actually harmed during the decorating process!
Grandma has observed that if you put out a tray of 500 candy eyes, then the first bug decorated will sport 500 candy eyes. When you offer little bowls of 12 or so, that same critter will manage to see quite well with, well...12 or so of them! I call it "grandma math" and yes, I did learn it the hard way!
|These little bowls are 3" small. What they hold is ENOUGH! Really. ENOUGH!|
I mentioned grandma math. There's also grandma zoology at play here. See that pretzel stick protruding from center front of bug #3 in the top photo?...it's a proboscis
....a useful little thread that insects use to poke around in the grass to find bugs smaller than themselves to vacuum in and eat. I defined it to the kids. The boys looked up at me, frowning, with chubby little cheeks stuffed full of pretzel sticks and chocolate chips. Only their eyes spoke. "Oh grandma. Please. Stop! Save it for 4th grade! We're in pre-school
and we came here to have FUN!" With that, I quietly scrapped my plan to feature "entomologist" as the spelling word of the day.
These little red critters have a name. And a story. I call them "Amara Bugs!" My grandma blogger friend, Kc, at Amaraland posted a charming story
about her granddaughter's gift of a recipe binder from beloved Aunt Sandy. Kc invited readers to email favorite recipes for Amara's collection. It was quick work to customize a sugar bug into a little red iced spotted critter resembling the ladybugs that Grandma Kc and Amara have joined forces to collect. I love Aunt Sandy's gift idea and it was so much fun to participate in the project of filling it up with recipes that her niece might enjoy making someday - alongside grandma of course!
It's a good idea to inform your retail customers about what you are selling to them. In fact, I think it might be federal law! So here's our creatures, all packed up, nestled into dollar store paper party favor buckets and ready to go to market, prominently tagged with the truth: "Caution! Live Sugar Bug!"
Speaking of attractive packaging, we had more work to do. The dog shaped pet treats we made last week needed to be counted and bagged and the kids were up for that task, too.
Small paper sacks were decorated with paw shaped stickers and a puppy face rubber stamp. Then we formed an assembly line to efficiently count out six treats per bag. Tomorrow's customers should be pretty happy about taking home a "doggy bag" too!
What an adventure these past weeks have been, preparing for tomorrow's Sugar Bug Bake Shop Sale! I really think we're ready for a big success because the kids have worked hard and are anxious to show off what they've done. In the next few weeks, I'll have all the pictures and the entire story right here. As always, you're invited to come back and read all about it.
We'll be lookin' for ya!