Short stuff of interest to kids

A 30,000-pound piece of candy, make biscotti for your dog, and guess how many hot dogs (and how much ice cream) Americans eat each year.

100-year-old kisses

Almost everyone loves chocolate. But could you eat 30,540 pounds of it? That's how much the world's largest chocolate Hershey's Kiss weighs. It was built to celebrate last month's 100th anniversary of the foil-covered treat.

The record-breaking kiss was made of individual chocolate bricks that were cemented together with liquid chocolate "mortar." It took nine days to construct and is 12 feet tall.

After the construction crew put on the finishing touches, the confection was wrapped in 16,460 feet of silver-colored foil! To make the candy complete, the crew added a 7-foot-long "Hershey's Kisses" plume.

If you're thinking it might be fun to build your own jumbo kiss, you would need to use 3,078,432 regular-size kisses. To see a video of how the giant candy was made, visit www.kisssomeone.com.

From a tiny seed, a golden topping

It's one of the favorite tastes of summer – a mustard-topped hot dog cooked on a backyard grill. So naturally, this season is the perfect time to hail this dynamic duo of foodstuffs.

Did you know that during the summer, Americans usually eat more than 7 billion hot dogs? That's 818 hot dogs per second! And worldwide each year, people consume more than 700 million pounds of mustard.

But Americans win hands-down as the people who eat more mustard than anyone else on earth. So next time your family or friends have a cookout, don't forget the franks – or that classic yellow condiment.

We all scream...

Summer is also the sweetest time to celebrate ice-cream treats. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month. But Americans do their fair share of appreciating ice cream during every season. On average, each person eats more than 23 quarts of the dairy delight annually. That means Americans are second only to New Zealanders in ice-cream consumption. (Kiwis consume an average of more than 27 quarts of creamy goodness each year.)

Vanilla is still the favorite ice-cream flavor in the United States, followed by chocolate, Neapolitan, strawberry, and cookies 'n' cream.

But icy treats were adored long before Baskin Robbins and its 31 flavors came along. Legend has it that Alexander the Great, who ruled part of ancient Greece, ate snow flavored with honey or nectar. And at least 1,000 years ago, Chinese elite may have enjoyed chilled dairy desserts.

Make Rover some cookies

You probably know how good it feels when someone you love makes you a special treat to eat. And sometimes it feels even nicer when you can help make goodies for those people you care about. But have you ever thought about baking something yummy for your dog?

These days, there are lots of recipes for doggy dinners and desserts that are both delicious and nutritious. Here's a recipe from ARAcontent you can try – with a grown-up's help, of course.

Imagine how happy Rover will be when you offer him this tasty snack. (NOTE: These are not recommended for cats!)

Blueberry Banana Biscotti for Dogs

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup peeled, chopped banana

1 cup blueberries, thawed if frozen

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons water

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a food processor, combine banana, blueberries, oil, water, egg, and vanilla. Purée until smooth.

Pour the fruit mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Using your hands, knead the dough in the bowl until it holds together.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a log. Flatten to make the logs about 4 inches wide.

With a fork, poke holes all over the surface of the logs.

Place the logs about 4 inches apart on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until firm. Remove pan from oven, place on a rack, and let cool for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven a second time to 300 degrees F.

With a sharp knife, cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place – cut side down – about 1/2 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes longer or until hard.

Transfer cookies to a rack and let cool completely. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 30 days.

Makes about 1 pound of dog treats.

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