Kids love treats -- and that's an understatement in most families!

A sugary substance is often the child's bribe, reward, or, in child psychology terms, motivation for good behavior.Do you remember hearing, (or saying,) "When you finish your dinner, you can have dessert," or "After we pull the weeds, we'll get a root beer float," or better still, "When you've completed your homework (or practicing,) you may have a cookie."

At school, treats are a cause for celebration. Students earn bites of candy bites for demonstrating acceptable behaviors. Goodies come to pupils who complete assignments. Room mothers haul in holiday nibbles. Birthday kids bring a sweet gifts to share with classmates.

The dessert/reward syndrome doesn't end with families or school children.

Mature adults, sometimes even parents, practice the "prizes for good behavior" policy. Have your ever heard a parent describe a litany of healthy, even diet-conscience eating decisions while sipping an ice cream soda? Maybe you've seen an adult return from exercise only to sit down with an oversize serving of chocolate cake.

After all, we tell ourselves, such conscientious behavior deserves a reward. That reward frequently takes a dessert form.

A nutritionist would tell you desserts are OK - in moderation. Be wary of high fat and sugar content - select treats thoughtfully and sparingly. Fresh fruit is a choice that satisfies a sweet taste but eliminates high calories.

A dessert, especially for children, is more than a nutritional question. Desserts provide a nice psychological feeling; sweet treats have become an important comfort food and a pleasant part of life.

When a friend is sick, we deliver a plate of cookies. When the day was too long, we take an ice cream break. When we feel lonely, goodies provide soothing company. When we have cause to celebrate, we share a dessert. The sweet taste is consoling, even relaxing.

Ten area students found pleasure with a collection of reader's dessert recipes. Local students formed a testing panel for this month's Recipe Exchange. Recipe evaluations include comments from both elementary and secondary pupils.

The students had a lot of fun trying new recipes. For some it was a chance to discover new flavors and treat ideas that will easily become favorites. Others, however, are still partial to the tried-and true. Panelist Kristie Miner, Lehi High, said "These new recipes were fun to try, but I still like my own cookie recipe best."

When asked about their own favorite desserts, the students came up with mixed responses. For cookies, eight of 10 panelists selected chocolate chip as their favorite. The other two - Dayna Orton, Wasatch Junior High, and Amy Allen, Highland High - prefered sugar cookies.

When it comes to cake or ice cream flavor, the testers also disagreed. Each had a different first-choice flavor.

But ask panel members to name a favorite treat to buy and agreement returns - ice cream and frozen yogurt. The students also concurred on location - the closest ice cream store.

We extend a generous thank you to our panel of adventurous recipe testers. In addition to those menioned above, our testers included: Gregg Myrup, Murray High; Amanda Martinsen, Longview Elementary; Yoshi Shiracki, Brighton High; Jamie Conger, Altara Elementary; Shari Harder, Clinton Elementary; Sam Harris, West Jordan Elementary and Ryan Archbold, Grant Elementary.

Your class may enjoy filling out the "Favorite Dessert" questionnaire on Page C2 during "No Books Day." Compare your responses with a group of 40 school students from my neighborhood.

In the neighborhood survey, chocolate was the top winner. Though it comes in many different forms, everyone loved something chocolate.

Chocolate mousse, brownies, pudding cake and Bavarian cream pies were the top dessert vote-getters. Chocolate chip cookies outdistanced the runner-up oatmeal cookies 8-1. Chocolate cake nosed out angel food cake 2-1. Chocolate, chocolate marshmallow, peppermint fudge and pistachio almond fudge flavors kept chocolate flavors ahead in the ice cream poll.

Ice cream and yogurt shops collected the top votes as places lick up sweetness. Second place, however, went to Grandma's house!

Consider a reward for participating in "No Books Day" with the "Deseret News." You'll likely find a chocolate chip cookie to nibble on before the day is gone. After all, you've earned it!

Frosty Dog Dessert

Submitted by Brent Redd, 4, West Valley City

Approximate cost: $3.35

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus freezing time

Yield: 16 servings

Evaluation: Great; just the right amount of chocolate and ice cream. A thinner crust would make the chocolate spread easier.

Crust:

16 graham crackers, crushed

1/2 cup margarine, melted

Sauce:

1/2 cup melted butter

6 tablespoons cocoa

2 cups powdered sugar

3 beaten egg yolks

3 beaten egg whites

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

8 graham crackers, crushed

Combine crackers and margarine to form crust; press into 9-by-13-inch pan. Blend margarine, cocoa, powdered sugar, then egg yolks; cook until slightly thickened. Cool and fold in egg whites. Pour over crust. Slice ice cream and lay over top of sauce. Top with additional graham cracker crumbs. Freeze.

POPPY CAKE

Submitted by Lisa Loveless, American Fork High School, American Fork

Approximate cost: $3.82

Preparation time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 16 servings

Evaluation: Really easy to make; yummy flavor. We had vanilla ice cream with the cake and that was perfect.

1 yellow cake mix

4 eggs

1 cup water

4 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 6- or 2 3-ounce packages butter pecan pudding mix

Mix all ingredients together. Bake in a greased, floured Bundt pan; 350 degrees for 55 minutes. Cool slightly and remove from pan.