Friday, November 9, 2012

Sugar Bugs!

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?'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!                                     


  1. Reading this before breakfast is driving me buggy.

    I think I could eat a few of these for a weekend breakfast easily! :) So darn cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. SO adorable! I'd love to have you join my Pin Me Linky Party because this is an awesome idea! I'm going to pin it now! I am following you now!

    Diana Rambles
    Bento Blog Network
    Link Rink

    1. Thanks for linking up. I hope you come back next Friday!

  3. I LOVE that you made Debra buggy! I am so anxious for Amara and I to make our Amara bugs and we really appreciate that you sent us the recipe! I love the way you think of every little detail down to the paw prints on the doggy bags and the Caution tags on the cookies! Your Sale should be a huge success! Hope the weather holds and everyone has a blast. Thanks again for adding to Amara's recipes!

  4. How sweet and what great gifts they make!
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a fun edible craft. My grandchildren would love these sugar bugs. I'll store this in my idea box. : )

  6. I am just loving all your great ideas! This is going to be a great gear up for spring craft to do with my daughter! She LOVES bugs! Thanks for linking up with me!

  7. You have me hankering some bugs. For me to eat (as it'll be quite some time before I see my grandsons again). I bet the dough smells delicious. I make a spritz cookie with almond flavoring, and it seems these are likely quite similar. Mine have no eyes, though. Maybe next time. (Love the Grandma Math!)

  8. Joyce those are crazy cute! The bugs and the bakers. We may have to try those around here too :) Thanks for linking with me!

  9. Thanks for sharing, looks like a load of fun your grandchildren are having.

  10. I love the idea of sugar bugs. Our Little Princesses would love that!

  11. You already know I think these are cute and crafty (and surely delicious fun) but I wanted to stop by and say THANK YOU for sharing your sugar bugs on the GRAND Social!

  12. Another fun idea. You seem to be full of them! My parents move close by in a few weeks. I can't wait for my kids to get to try out some of your ideas with Grandma! I'll be featuring this fantastic idea later today at Please stop by and grab a featured button if you’d like.

  13. I just LOVE these little bugs! Thanks for linking at Worthy Wednesday link party.

  14. Oh my, what a cute and lovely idea!
    I would love to have you share this, or any other recipe of your at Wednesday Extravaganza - my Foodie Link Party with the chance to get a lifetime feature on my Wall of Fame. Here is the link:

    Can't wait to see you there!

  15. So cute and what a great opportunity to spend fun time with the grand kids. I'll remember this idea.
    Thanks for sharing, Sharon

  16. What an adorable idea. They're going to make great entrepreneurs. So glad I found your blog, I'm looking to connect with other proud grandmothers. Hope you can stop by Mother 2 Mother.

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  18. Hello! I found your blog by way of the Grow Your Blog party. We don't have grandchildren, but our "Grand Girls", the daughters of friends from England, have adopted us. We're due to see them soon and I so hope I can use some of your creative and inspiring ideas. Thanks so much!

  19. Those are really cute and such a fun thing to do to keep little hands busy and engaged! Thanks for linking up with the Kids in the Kitchen!

  20. oh my gosh! if my house was invaded with these kinda bugs i'd never call the exterminator! bet your grandkids had a blast like always :)