Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing: Turtle Cookies

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume is the fourth installment in our Banned Books Week celebration.  (Why was it banned?  More on that later.)  This book was first published in 1972, which was shocking to me, because I read it as a kid and it didn't feel dated at all.  (Except the part where Fudge sticks himself all over with stamps from the grocery store.  That made no sense even when I was in fourth grade in the early 90s.)

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first in a series about Peter Hatcher, a fourth grade boy who feels like a great big nothing.  He lives in New York City with his parents and two-year-old brother, Farley (who goes by Fudge).  Fudge is the star of the books, and it's always up to poor Peter to clean up the messes.  If Fudge's birthday party guests don't behave, it's up to Peter to entertain them.  If Fudge won't eat, it's Peter who does handstands to make him open his mouth so Mom can pop a bite of food in.  And when Fudge tries to fly off the monkey bars and knocks out his two front teeth, who do you think gets all the blame?  Peter, that's who!

At least Peter has his turtle for company.  Wonderful, reliable Dribble, who sits around in his bowl doing turtle-y things, and never asks for anything.  And Dribble is one thing that Fudge isn't allowed to touch.  But... since when does Fudge follow the rules?

So, why was this book banned?  To tell you, I have to spoil the entire ending of the book.  So, SPOILER ALERT! When Fudge finally gets his hands on Peter's turtle, he eats him, and poor Dribble doesn't survive the ordeal (though Fudge does).  This is considered very cruel to animals.  END SPOILER!

Peter is the protagonist of a whole series of books, including Superfudge, Fudge-a-Mania, and Double Fudge.  The Hatcher family also appears in Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, which is told by Peter's neighbor and resident know-it-all, Sheila.

So, in honor of Peter's turtle, Dribble, I made turtle cookies!  (Why didn't I make fudge?  I have no idea.)

Turtle Cookies
You will need:
Vanilla wafers
Chocolate chips

1) Place vanilla wafers on a microwave-safe plate.  I only made six cookies, so I did them all at once, but I would hesitate to make more than that in a batch, because the caramel would cool too quickly.
2) Cut the caramels in half lengthwise, so you have two flat rectangles.  Place one half-caramel onto each vanilla wafer, and microwave the plate until the caramels are soft (in my microwave, it took 25 seconds, but I recommend starting with 15 seconds and poke one to see if it's soft yet, and then adding 10 seconds at a time until they're soft).
3) When the caramels are soft, poke four pecans into each one.  Set aside to cool.  They should look like this:
4) In a small bowl, pour a handful of chocolate chips.  Zap in the microwave at 15-second increments, stirring well after each increment.  Be very careful to not let the chocolate scorch! When the chocolate is smooth, dollop some on top of each cookie, smoothing it out with the back of a spoon.  Let cool on the counter or in the fridge before consuming.

Using vanilla wafers as a base for these treats was my own idea, though they play off the traditional Turtle candy (caramel, chocolate and pecans).  The idea to make turtles was Shannon's.  Thank you, Shannon!

Question of the day: This is one of my favorite banned books.  Which ones do you like best?

No comments:

Post a Comment