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Notes from the Kitchen

After School Treats

by Katie Goodman

Kids can be so strong willed when it comes to what they will and will not eat. It’s a daily struggle for almost all mothers (and fathers too!). If this doesn’t ring true for you, consider yourself some of the lucky parents of adventurous eaters. As a mother of a picky child, I want to make sure I put the best possible food in my children’s mouths, especially the one who is least likely to touch a vegetable with a 10 foot pole. I feel that every calorie, every bite, every snack really needs to count. I try to find creative ways to turn the foods I know he loves into something a little nutritious, though still enjoyable to his palate.

Baking is something that my son and I both enjoy doing together. It’s been a great way for me to introduce him to new ingredients in a casual atmosphere, without the pressure of trying a bite. At the same time, I’m sharing my interests with him and teaching him valuable skills. We have fun together and he’s learning. It gives us a chance to spend some quality time together creating a treat that we’ll both enjoy eating, and maybe even trying something new.

Now that school is back in session, kids are usually ready for an afternoon snack after an exhausting day of learning. Baking with your children can be a fun after school activity for those who are fortunate enough not to be bogged down with homework assignments. Or, maybe just a special activity with mom on the weekend because weekdays schedules are so packed.  They’ll love the idea of these granola bar cookies even if they aren’t able to appreciate how much healthier they are for them. This may look like a cookie, be called a cookie, and even taste suspiciously like a cookie, but it’s packed with, grains, fruits, seeds, and nuts. Rather than a sugar crash leading to a late afternoon cranky spell, the eater will have enjoyed a nice dose of fiber and protein to carry them till dinner time.

This is a “cookie” that mom won’t mind her kids eating for breakfast on occasion. She might even have one for herself!

Granola Bar Cookies
Yields 4 dozen

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 2 1/4 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour

  • 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 12 ounces dried fruit (I used 6 ounces each of blueberries and chopped strawberries)

  • 1/3 cup whole flax seeds

  • 1/3 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped, or sliced, almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until combined. Slowly pour in olive oil, beating continuously until fluffy and smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, beating an additional minute.

Measure the oatmeal into the bowl of a food processor. Grind until oatmeal has become a fine powder. Sift oatmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, and salt together in a medium sized bowl.

Stir the flour and oatmeal mixture into the butter mixture until well combined. Add in the fruit, seeds, and nuts, stirring until contents are evenly distributed.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form golf ball sized balls of dough, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Remove and cool on a cooling rack until cookies are cool enough to handle.

Note:
Don’t be afraid to mix up the add-ins to create a whole new cookie and a variety of flavors. For some fun variations consider the following add-in substitutions:

  • Tropical Granola: chopped dried mango, papaya, and/or pineapple for the fruit and chopped macadamia for the nuts

  • Triple Berry Granola: equal amounts of dried strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry for the fruit

  • Cranberry Orange Granola: dried cranberries for the fruit, walnuts for the nuts, and add in the zest of 1 orange

  • Cherry Chocolate Granola: 8 oz. dried chopped cherries for the fruit plus 4 ounces dark chocolate chunks.


Katie believes that part of the goodness in life is sharing good food with friends and family. She’s a stay at home mom, determined to make family meal time a priority while providing a variety of healthy and delicious food choices. Katie also blogs at goodLife {eats}, where she shares what she finds good in the kitchen and in life.

Next entry: Just Add Salad, A week of affordable easy meals
Previous entry: Table Manners

Reader Comments:

 

Great cookies, made them for great-grand children and can’t stop eating hem myself!

Estela Bailey of Fresno California on December 11, 2009 09:24 AM

Wish to have the mini Apple muffins, or any muffin recipe with apples.
Thank you

Estela Bailey of Fresno California on December 11, 2009 09:25 AM

sorry that was me i forgot to give my email it is taylor@alabamamailbox.com please email me personaly and i also forgot to tell you that my mom is british and she loves that i am in love with cooking
thanks again
Taylor

Taylor Crews of Ashville Alabama 35953 on March 26, 2010 09:29 AM

I HAVE RECIPE FOR YOU TO TRY TAKE CHKEN BREST CUT UP INTO LITTLE BITE SIZE PICES PUT OIL AND BUTTER IN PAN AND BROW IT AND ADD ONIN AND BUTTER BEAN AND POTAOTESCOOK ALL UNTIL TENDER MAKE THICKING AND MAKE SOME DUPPINGS PUT THEM ON TOP COOK UNTIL DONE SERVE WITH VEG MY GRILS LOVE THIS I LOVE YOUR SHOW I WISH I SOULD GET ONE OF YOUR COOBOOK BUT CANT AFORTD IT THANK YOU LAURIE GILL MY PHONE NUMBER IS 814 355 4286 HOP TO HERE FROM YOU SOON

LAURIEGILL of 127 E HIGH ST 1 BELLEFONTE PA 16823 on April 22, 2010 01:22 AM

Ms. Paula,
I have the best cookie recipe and easy!!! One Oatmeal Cookie dry pre-mix(I know oatmeal is your favorite). You add dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. However many you like. I usually do a cup of each. Although I measure the chips over the bowl and I always spill a few. Cook as directed on the pouch. You know because it has fruit in it it’s healthy!! haha
Love ya!

Tracy Grice of Bremen, GA on August 31, 2010 11:17 AM

hello,
      My name is Lily Stocker i am a great fan of Paula Deen. I am 10 years old. this year in school writing we need a idea for a topic and and experement for it.My idea is cooking,i am using your children cook books for my resuch.Im just having a hard time deciding what recipes i shall do.Do you have 5 of yours you think is good for me to use?

        from,

      Lily     p.s. will the real Paula Deen be responding or one of her silly co workers?

Lily Stocker of Illinos on November 09, 2010 06:07 PM

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