So I know this blog is not the cooking channel, but when you’re building kids, mealtime and food in general is no stranger to exasperation. We try to keep all stress to a minimum, and coercion nonexistent, but sometimes a little ammo in your arsenal is really helpful to ward off junk food attacks…both for the kids AND you!
Truth be told, it would be either impossible or cruel to hold the second child to the same PURE nutritional regimen that the first enjoyed simply because…well, there is an older sibling to expose them to all sorts of great things. So, despite the fact that your first never had refined sugar until he was two, your second got a taste of the chips ahoy at one and decided that flavor was his favorite. *groan*
If left to his own tastes, my sweet two year old would survive on chocolate chip cookies, applesauce, dried fruit, and peanut butter popsicles (any nut butter on a spoon). The sweet tooth is strong with this one. Lucky for me, green smoothies are also sweet, or I’d be worried.
However, a year or so ago a friend and I were toying with ways to make our own versions of LaraBars, known for their simple and wholesome ingredients. For instance, the bar “Cashew Cookie” is made from: dates, cashews.
Epic. Two ingredients, both pronounceable.
Downer, they are usually over $1 per bar.
So I thought for today I’d share our favorite non-junk junk food around here. With a batch on hand, it’s an easy snack for a hungry kid or a quick fix for my moments of weakness for a sweet.
Every other day or so, we seem to find ourselves making up a batch of “cookie dough.” Anytime Gabe is hungry, his little frantic self will hold his fingers together to make a circle…a clear request for “balls.”
Good news though! These little “balls” of cookie dough will neither make your blood sugar tank in an hour or sentence you to self-inflicted guilt trips for eating them/feeding them. They are just nuts and dried fruit.
So drag out your food processor and crank out a batch of yummy goodness you can keep on hand, sans guilt trip or upset tummy!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
1 cup almonds (process first)
1 cup brown rice flour (don’t worry about being hard core here. You can use anything dry: unsweetened coconut, brown or white rice flour, an additional cup of almonds, some other nut you have on hand, grain, etc. But if you want believable cookie dough, rice flour is going to smooth out the texture best)
1 cup dates (pop in with nuts/rice flour and process)
Add a pinch of salt, a splash of vanilla (1 tsp for you measurers out there) and 1/2-1 cup mini chocolate chips.
To avoid sugar crashes and milk issues, one bag of these vegan/soy, milk, corn, etc-free chocolate chips will make 3-4 batches of cookie dough. But, use what you can find. Binging on this cookie dough with or without milk chocolate is going to be better than binging on Chips Ahoy.
Pulse this all into the food processor. Then to make it all stick, add small amounts of either honey or water while pulsing until it all *just* sticks together. Maybe a Tablespoon or two.
Then smoosh what you haven’t snitched out already into a little dish of some sort (or, if you have little hands that love to roll, roll them into charming little balls…because you know tiny cookie dough balls are SO fun to eat). Cut into a billion pieces. This pan here is probably 5″x7″ and each little square a 1/2″ big.
Happy boy, happy Mom.
The fun thing about these is it’s easy to experiment. The general ratio is 2:1, nuts/grain:fruit plus pinch of salt, tsp vanilla, water to make it stick and any special spices or flavors, just be sure to add flavors before the final water bits so they’ll mix in.
Ginger snap cookie dough, coconut cookies, cashew cookies, carrot cake balls, cherry almond, peanut butter and jelly, lemon poppyseed, chocolate coconut…
And if anyone wants some of our recipes for the above, feel free to ask! 😉