I don’t have kids, but I certainly have seen a lot of them on my social media feeds the last week. Friends and family members proudly posting photos of their brood going off to school with new backpacks and freshly pressed uniforms make me nostalgic for my favorite elementary school menu item served by Spring Branch ISD’s kitchens, Mexican pizza. I recall my four years at Memorial High School where I would eat my brown bag lunch during study hall (around 9:30 am) and then would spend $2 on food during my lunch period, which generally consisted of a Snapple and Three Musketeers candy bar. I’d come home from lacrosse practice around 4:30 completely famished, ready for a satisfying after school snack before homework and dinner with the family.
Earlier this week I started asking chefs and friends what their favorite after school snacks were while growing up. Simultaneously, I began to take notice of after school snack-inspired treats served at a few Houston bake shops, and it seems I’m not the only one nostalgic for the days of green pleather school bus seats and finger-pinching three ring binders. Below are a few school days-inspired desserts that today’s youth needs to sample, and some that have never gone out of style.
Milk and Cookies
At Petite Sweets, the pastry team has been testing and tweaking their chocolate chip recipe since spring. With the cookie stack ($3.50, below) you get a tall glass of milk – with or without hot fudge, so that you can stir it together to make chocolate milk – along with a large chocolate chip cookie. Next week (August 28 through September 1) show your school ID or show up to Petite Sweets in your uniform and get a free Rice Krispie treat or marshmallow with any purchase. Petite Sweets, 2700 West Alabama
More of a ginger snap fan? Fluff Bake Bar currently has thick, chewy ginger snaps ($1.95, below) in their case. I believe ginger snaps are the gateway drug to other autumn-centric snacks and drinks, like pumpkin spice anything and the world of cinnamon-swirl pastries. To parts of the United States that actually experience a change in seasons, back-to-school indicates that fall is just around the corner. In Houston, fall seems to be mostly an extension of summer, but with more dead leaves. A spicy ginger snap might take you away to a different climate, if only for a moment. Fluff Bake Bar, 314 Gray Street
As Seen on TV
I wasn’t allowed much junk food growing up as my mom didn’t keep it in the house and didn’t want me to be a regular abuser of processed foods. That is, until my brother, who is about a decade younger than I am, some how manipulated my mother into buying Hostess Cupcakes and Moon Pies and the occasional variety pack of single serving Cheetos and Doritos when he was in second or third grade. My high school metabolism was able to keep up with his early elementary school craftiness. Today, not so much.
You can find the freshly baked version of the Hostess Cupcake at Crave Cupcakes ($3.75) on alternating days, and note that it’s listed on the menu as dark chocolate and creme. Crave Cupcakes, 2501 Research Forest Drive in The Woodlands, plus two inner loop locations
Pining for a Moon Pie? Do today’s kids even know what a Moon Pie is? You can score a Moon Pie replica known as the SOL at Fluff Bake Bar ($3, shown at top) made from scratch and tastes nearly identical to the original packaged delight. And, while I’ve never had Nesquik before, that jolly drink-happy Nesquik spokesrabbit was all over Nickelodeon during my childhood. Is it a faux-flavor trend that died in the 1990s? Time for a comeback. Strawberry Nesquik is folded into Fluff’s Neapolitan cookies ($1.95, below) along with chocolate and vanilla batter to create a trifecta of flavors, topped with sprinkles, all in one bite.
Peanut Butter Jelly Time
might be is the best-loved after school snack of my childhood. I still enjoy it so much as an adult that I’d order it often from Relish when the location was on San Felipe and it was a casual prepared foods and sandwich shop. While the decadent PB&J cake from Fluff Bake Bar ($36+, shown below) isn’t new, you can expect to soon see it as a flavor offered as one of the bakery’s forthcoming CupCakes ($4.95), a miniature single-serving cake packed into a cup for easy noshing.
Cereal-topped donut creations continue to be popular amongst breakfast and dessert enthusiasts. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, a pink donut covered in sprinkles from Shipley’s was a real treat. The children of today know that donut add-ons have no limits. Starting at 7 am on Monday, August 28 Koala Kolache will be handing out free cherry, chocolate or vanilla frosted donuts to Cypress Fairbanks ISD students. Each donut (shown below) will be topped with the child’s favorite cereal to commemorate the kick-off of the school year. Koala Kolache, 14502 Spring Cypress Road in Cypress, Texas