In our house we foster a spirit of inventiveness and creativity in the kitchen.  Since the kids see me creating new recipes every day for PBS Parents and The Six O’Clock Scramble, they think experimentation in the kitchen is the norm. They aren’t afraid of making cooking snafus, since they see it happen to me all the time.

Last weekend our 13-year-old, Celia, felt like making something chocolaty.  Together we came up with an idea for a really simple no-bake cookie. Celia melted chocolate chips in the microwave, and then stirred mini marshmallows and broken pretzels into the warm melted chocolate. It was such a delicious combination that first she ate about 1/3 of it with a spoon. Before she could devour it all, I encouraged her to spoon the rest onto a baking sheet so we could let them harden in the refrigerator.  Wowza! We liked the hardened clusters even more than the melted chocolate combination. They are the perfect combination of sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy, and they only take 10 minutes to make!

When kids are in the mood to cook or bake, I encourage you to seize the moment and let them get creative in the kitchen. They’ll learn valuable skills and will take pride in creating something that the whole family enjoys eating. Let them help you clean up, too, so they learn that it’s part of the cooking process.

Recipe: Celia’s Chocolate and Marshmallow Clusters

  • Total Time: 10 min(s)
  • Servings: 15 cookies
  • Quick, easy, and somewhat addictive little treats!


      • 1 cup mini pretzels
      • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
      • 1 cup mini marshmallows


      In a plastic bag with the flat side of a mallet or a hammer, smash the pretzels until they are broken but not pulverized. Line a baking sheet with a silicone nonstick liner or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.

      In a medium to large microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring in 30 second increments until it is smooth (alternatively, melt it on the stovetop in a double boiler). Stir in the marshmallows and pretzels, then, using two spoons, scoop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate the clusters for about 15 minutes until they are solid, and serve immediately or store them in an air-tight container for up to a week.

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