Miss A Columnist

Melissa Wenzel is a freelance writer and public relations consultant. After graduating from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunications at Arizona State University, Melissa went to work for a boutique public relations/public affairs agency where she cut her teeth in the business by working on some of the state’s most polarizing elections and controversial public figures. Two years later, in need of a little soul cleansing, Melissa took a job with the American Red Cross where she worked media and crisis communications in the wake of local and national disasters, including Hurricane Katrina.
After her twins, Jonathan and James were born in 2007, Melissa returned to work part-time before starting her own consulting and freelance writing business in 2009.

When she and her husband are not chasing, or being chased by their four year old boys, Melissa can be found elbow-deep in cake batter or pouring over a new book. She’s currently trying to muster the courage to learn to scuba dive. Read Melissa’s musings on life with her light saber wielding twins at Musings of a Twin Mama. To learn more about her work, visit www.melissawenzel.com. If you have something for moms, children or families that you would like covered on Miss A, please email Melissa at melissa@melissawenzel.com.

Easy Holiday Treats To Make With Kids

Baking with your kids can be a lot of fun and I smile when I think of the memories my boys and I have made in the kitchen over the years. As they get older, however, they aren’t as excited about measuring flour or rolling dough. They’d rather be racing their Matchbox cars down the hallway or building elaborate train layouts for Thomas – and that’s okay.

With the holidays upon us, however, I thought it would be fun to get out the step stools and create something in the kitchen together. I thought maybe, if I changed things up a bit, they might get excited about baking with Mommy – and I was right! We settled on making some kid-friendly versions of homemade peanut butter cups and jiggly gumdrops and they turned out great!

I hope this brings you and your kids as many giggles and chocolately-smiles as it brought us. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Melissa Wenzel

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Yield: 3 dozen


1 cup creamy peanut butter, divided

4-1/2 teaspoons butter, softened

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

2- 4 oz. milk chocolate candy bars, coarsely chopped

36 miniature paper muffin liners

Colored sprinkles, optional (if you are making these with kids, omit the “optional” part)!


  1. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt until smooth; set aside.
  2. In the microwave, melt the chocolate chips, candy bars and remaining peanut butter in 30 second increments; stir until smooth.
  3. Drop teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture into the paper-lined miniature muffin cups. Top each with a teaspoonful of peanut butter mixture; top with another teaspoonful (or two) of chocolate mixture. Decorate with sprinkles if desired. Refrigerate until set. Store in an airtight container.

Mom-to-Mom Tip:

Dropping the teaspoonfuls of chocolate and peanut butter was a little too tough for my four-year-olds to manage, so I took
care of that part and let them take over sprinkle-duty, instead!

Photo Credit: Melissa Wenzel

Homemade Gumdrops

Yield: About one pound.


3 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1-1/4 cups water, divided

1-1/2 cups sugar

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Green and red food coloring

Additional sugar


  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup water; let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring sugar and remaining ¾ cup water to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Add the gelatin; reduce heat. Simmer and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the extract.
  2. Divide mixture into two small bowls; add four drops green food coloring to one bowl and four drops red to the other. Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Chill 3 hours or until firm.
  3. Loosen the edges from pan with a knife; turn onto a sugared board. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes; roll in sugar. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, for 3-4 hours, turning every hour so all sides dry. Cover and chill.

Mom-to-Mom Tip:

While these don’t taste exactly like traditional gumdrops, I liked they weren’t too sticky and chewy for my kiddo’s teeth.

Both recipes came from Taste of Home, though I made a few adjustments to accommodate what I had on hand.

Related Articles:

Fatal error: Uncaught Exception: 190: Error validating application. Application has been deleted. (190) thrown in /home/askmissa/public_html/wp-content/plugins/seo-facebook-comments/facebook/base_facebook.php on line 1273