One of my goals for 2011 is to cook more with my children.
I feel that cooking is an important life skill and one that they should learn young. I wish my mom had taught me to cook when I was young. But at the same time, I understand why she didn't. I often find myself shooing the kids out of the kitchen, because I can do it faster, and with less mess, if they aren't "helping."
But I need to let that go. And deal with the mess, because we are making memories. And because my girls might not be blessed with husbands that are as easy to please as their daddy is. If Brad hadn't been so willing to eat anything, and I do mean anything, in those early days of our marriage, I might have gotten discouraged and we would be eating take out every night!
And for the record, when he is old enough, I want to teach John to cook too, because men need to know their way around a kitchen too.
So all that being said, the easiest type of cooking (for me) to include the kids in on is baking. So we have started baking a lot. A lot! Cookies, muffins, bread...you name it we are making it!
This cookie recipe is one of our new favorites. Not only are they super tasty, they are also healthy. That's right, healthy! You are going to want your kids to eat these cookies! They are loaded with good things like grains, fiber, protein, omega-3s and the best part: no
crack sugar!! They are sweetened with real maple syrup* so that means no crack sugar highs. And no crack sugar crashes! And if your kids are as addicted to affected by crack sugar as mine are, you are probably doing a little happy dance right now! Woohoo!
Emma Jane named these Superhero cookies. The cookbook that I borrowed this recipe from called them Super-Charge Me! cookies, but EJ thought that was a dumb name, so she renamed them with something that made sense to her. Superheroes need to eat healthy food so they can grow big and strong. To a three-year-old, that made much more sense than being super-charged. :) And since I tweaked the recipe a little, so I thought it was fitting that we tweak the name too!
I am writing the recipe for you exactly the way it appears in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton, but I will notate the changes I made.
1 cup quick oats
2/3 cup spelt flour*
1/4 tsp (rounded) sea salt
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used 1/2)
1/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4-1/3 cups raisins or chopped dried fruit
3-4 tbsp carob or chocolate chips**
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup flax meal
1/2 cup pure maple syrup***
3 tbsp almond butter (may also use peanut butter)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp canola oil****
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, coconut, raisins, and chips. Sift in baking powder and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flax meal, syrup, almond butter, and vanilla and stir until well combined. Stir in oil. Add wet mixture to dry and stir until just well mixed. (Do not over mix!) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon batter onto baking sheet evenly space apart and lightly flatten. Bake for 13 minutes (no longer or they will dry out). Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute (no longer), then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes about a dozen cookies.
Changes I made:
*a note about spelt: I did use spelt flour and I really like it, but if you want to substitute regular white flour, reduce the amount by 2 tbsp.
**I omitted the chocolate chips. I added an extra 1/4 cup of raisins and 1 tbsp of sesame seeds, which are loaded with calcium! Sunflower seeds would also be yummy!
***I substituted brown rice syrup for the maple syrup. It is a little more mellow.
****I used coconut oil instead of canola.
This recipe doesn't require the usual exact measurements of most baked goods. It is very easy to tweak. If some of you decide to try them, I would love to hear your variations! Enjoy!