Let the kids make an easy summer snack

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Sora Batts places vanilla wafers on each of her ice cream sandwiches. Lisa Boykin Batts | Times
Sora Batts places vanilla wafers on each of her ice cream sandwiches. Lisa Boykin Batts | Times

I love the lazy days of summer — longer days, fewer commitments, and more time to spend with the family.

Sure, there are things to do from day trips and summer camps to Bible school and yard work. But there are also nice long stretches of time to spend with the kids — teaching them to swim, catching fireflies, reading books they choose, taking them to the zoo or museum.

When my kids were little, we also spent time cooking in the summer — learning the basics of planning and preparing meals.

Once a week during the summer months, my kids were responsible for making a menu and preparing a simple meal for the four of us. We took photos of the end result, and we all enjoyed the food. I like to think it helped them in the real world they live in now!

My 9-year-old granddaughter, Sora, likes helping me in the kitchen. I asked her if she and I could work together on a series of food columns this summer, and she was glad to oblige!

A few weeks ago, I pulled out the many children’s cookbooks I have collected over the years — starting with the spiral-bound Better Homes and Gardens cookbook Mama bought me at a Vinson-Bynum Elementary School book fair many long years ago!

Sora got a pen and a piece of note paper and wrote down the names of recipes she wanted to try, as well as the cookbook name and recipe page number.

So far we have made lemon poppy seed muffins, tiny ice cream sandwiches and lasagna.

The ice cream sandwiches didn’t take long to make, and are so good. The recipe is in the book “Dora and Diego Let’s Cook.” It’s a book I gave Sora for Christmas when she was 3 years old and is very easy to follow. You basically place vanilla wafers on a cookie sheet, top them with a little ice cream and then a second cookie, making a sandwich. Flash freeze them, then spoon on some chocolate sundae topping. Put them back in the freezer and wait impatiently until they have hardened enough to eat without making a big mess!

This is a very good recipe to do with children. Directions are easy to follow, and the steps don’t take much skill.

Sora got some practice using a cookie scoop, learned how to judge how much to put on the cookies, and learned how quickly ice cream melts!

We also took time to discuss how we should have followed the directions and made 16 sandwiches instead of 24. By the time Sora had put ice cream on 24 cookies, the ice cream was melting and running off the cookies. It’s all about trial and error!

Another good thing about this recipe? The feedback. Sora made this recipe the day before Father’s Day as a treat for her daddy and grandpa. They both heaped on the praise!

Polar Ice Cream Sandwiches

32 reduced-fat or regular vanilla wafer cookies

1 1/2 cups vanilla and/ or chocolate ice cream, softened slightly

1/3 cup chocolate fudge ice cream topping, warmed (I used Hershey’s hot fudge in a glass jar)

2 tablespoons finely chopped nuts or sprinkles

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange 16 wafers, flat side up. (We did 24. I recommend the 16. If you have too many, the ice cream starts melting before you can finish and get them in the freezer.)

Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, top each wafer with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ice cream.

Top the ice cream with remaining wafers, flat side down. Press lightly to flatten ice cream. Make room in freezer for cookie sheet. Put in freezer for 20 minutes.

Using a small spoon, divide fudge topping among cookie sandwiches, spooning over tops. Sprinkle with nuts or sprinkles, if desired, immediately. Cover and freeze for 1 to 2 hours or until firm. (They are also delicious, but messy, immediately!)

Makes 16 sandwiches.

Adapted from “Dora and Diego Let’s Cook”