Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chocolate chip & walnut oatmeal cookies and mini foodies

Considering I am not one for baking cookies, I am on quite a roll these days. Truth being, the not-so-satisfactory outcome of the last oatmeal cookies I made kept nagging me and is probably why I bought a can of rolled oats at the supermarket the other day.

My daughter is home with a yet unidentified fever this week. On Monday, when she started pestering me non-stop to watch cartoons (her daily TV allowance had been reached and the TV was promptly switched off) and I found my 20-month son standing on the living room table grinning at me, I realized I had to come up with an idea, and quick. I suggested baking cookies together. My daughter started jumping up and down chanting "cookies! cookies! cookies!" and I walked off to the kitchen, satisfied to have found a nice way to spend that endless hour stretching ahead of us before dinner time when the kids are especially cranky. I took out the ingredients we needed, helped my son pull the stool up to the counter and answered several questions about oats. Just when I thought we were getting to the fun part, my daughter politely asked if she could go play because she was tired and her arm was hurting from mixing. When I enthusiastically told her it was time to roll up our sleeves and start using our hands, she in so many words said she was annoiata, bored. I told her she was free to go, trying not show my disappointment. My son, as always, readily followed her out of the kitchen (this was probably a good thing since he had been reaching for the discarded egg shells and kept trying to stick his fingers in the bowl while the electric mixer was on).

So there I was, alone in the kitchen, flour everywhere, rolling the batter into balls, putting in and pulling out tray after tray of cookies. The kids were squeeling in the other room, wrestling on the floor and having the time of their lives. I still had dinner to cook, laundry to sort and endless toys to pick up between one batch and the next. Why did I get myself into this on a Monday evening? Story of my life!

I read all these blogs where moms write about their children helping them prepare each and every meal, about kids who actually ask their parents if they can make up a recipe and cook dinner for the family. Many children even have their own cooking blogs. 

Now, I consider my children pretty adventurous eaters. If you ask my five-year old what her favorite food is she will say sushi. When she was 18 months old she had a wasabi pea phase. When we eat fish we usually fight over the cheeks and we always share the oysters and tail of a roast chicken. My son will stuff his face with just about anything, from rabbit meat to olives. It may sound very "foodie" and cool to write this, but let's be honest, I don't for a second kid myself that my children can already tell the cheek and oyster of the animal they are eating apart from the rest of the meat. They are simply emulating and yeah, they probably have more of chance of becoming gluttons growing up with us than other kids. In our home the rule is to taste everything and to never say food is "yucky". I never cater to my children, unless it involves reducing the heat factor. But my ceviche-eating daughter will sometimes (and lately more often than not) make us sit hours at the table to eat something as unadventurous as string beans and tears easily flow when I present her with the most classic roasted carrots, which she used to gobble up in a second. My son the-vacum-cleaner will inhale a whole bowl of fancy pasta in an instant, chew happily and then discard perfectly round peas one after the other, that he stores in his cheeks just long enough to make me do a mental victory dance. Most of the time my daughter does not eat my baked goods, like I have mentioned many times before, and we have rarely gotten through a whole cooking session together.

So c'mon, how many of you out there really have children who cook gourmet food, eat every plant (after the ager of 1 or 2) that grows on the face of a planet and have blogs before they can read and write?

I made these cookies alone but everyone is eating them, even my daughter.

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking.

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, soft
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 1/2 cups rolled whole oats

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla at medium speed until well-combined and creamy. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Add in chocolate chips and walnuts and mix some more. Fold in the oats. Spoon approximately 1.5-inch balls onto a tray that you will have previously lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes. I took mine out after barely 10 minutes because I wanted them to stay a little chewy. Let cool.


  1. Smile! :)

    OK, so my daughter will last a cookie making session, at least until the first batch go into the oven AND she loves to play with pizza dough!

    The 2yr old loves to do pizza too, but he only gets a small bowl of sauce and cheese that he can mess around with on his pizza!

    NEITHER of them are adventurous eaters! The girl is getting better and the boy will surprise me from time to time but pretty much chicken fingers, PB&J, grilled cheese and Mac N Cheese are staples around here...for now. :)

  2. Kids (or even adults) that eat everything? Well, probably very hard to find.
    Last time my daughter was baking with her friend I had chocolate and dough even on the very top of my hanging cupboards. So, it is not only happening to you. And, no, they have not served us a gourmet meal yet either (they rather eat it being served).
    This cookie sounds great to take on a trip. It has all the ingredients we like to eat!

  3. I love the cookies and can only share that my kids have not been difficult in the food department, thank God, and will eat just about anything.

  4. I can't believe your kids eat all that stuff. That's so great. I only have small nieces (no kids yet) and they eat nothing other than spaghetti, fries or pizza. They discard everything else that they find on their plates, leaving their mom and dad in aw of how quickly kids can make vegetables disappear under the dinner table. The dog seems to be having a healthy diet though.
    Your cookies look perfect.

  5. I don't have kids, but I do think that parents really over do it when they talk about how talented their children are, so I take all this "wondrous" child thing with a grain of salt... and yes, I'll take a cookie too :)
    *kisses* HH

  6. Hehe I can imagine what a challenge it is getting your daughter to stick around for a whole session. From interacting with friend's children, short active bursts followed by other non food related activity seems to work for them :D These cookies look fabulous!

  7. Put it this way, she helped with the mixing and they both kept busy and out of your hair while you finished baking so I say it's win-win!
    I think your kids are awesome eaters, and if they don't like everything you bake, it's good, right? fewer sweets for them and more for you and hubby!!

  8. Tiffany (heehee) - that is exactly my point. I think that even in homes like ours, where we cook fresh meals on a daily basis and our kids are exposed to real food, they are still children and thus picky at times and interested in playing more than anything else, so what is it with all these super mini foodies in the blogosphere???
    MyKintheR - let's not even get started on the mess...I was pretty sure almost everyone's kids are messy and not chefs, just wanted to vent a little. I sometimes get annoyed by these gloating moms.
    ToB - I am sure mine will too once they get past the preschool phase. I was a really picky eater when I was a child (although I always had to finish what was on my plate, no catering to me) and look how I turned out. Kids are like sponges, they absorb the environment they grow up in, and mine already do a pretty good job. I cannot say enought that this post is more about bragging mothers than my children being difficult!
    MyLEK - Love the story of the dog, the most healthy animal in town!
    HH - you exactly got my point dahling.
    Lorraine - it is normal and healthy for a child to get bored of cooking and to want to go and play. Truth is, I would worry if my daughter started pulling out the scale, measuring ingredients and telling me to line a baking tray.
    Moomser - more for my thighs and backside, like I need the extra calories. hehe

  9. Like HH I don't have kids, either. But I do remember that when I was a kid I'd love to eat the same thing over and over then I'd completely lose the taste for it and in some cases, I've never eaten it again (eg boiled hotdogs) Your kids do sound adventurous in the sense that they follow your lead and will try whatever you offer them. Not everyone will do that. My father's family is Polish and as a kid I could never get into pickled herring in cream sauce (though strangely now I really like it).

    Unlike your daughter, I'd never miss the opportunity to have or make oatmeal cookies. I guess that everyone's different.

  10. Hahahaha... I have the same problem with my little ones. My eldest daughter (who's 3 and a half) used to eat pretty much everything till she started her preschool. Now she's very picky... and dislikes beef. My little one (who's 16 months) eats everything and the term "vacuum cleaner" describes her perfectly well! She also climbs on the dining table... so I laughed when I read about your little boy!
    One thing is for sure, they both have a sweet tooth and love cakes and cookies... they'd devour these in seconds!!! Great recipe Fiona! :-)

  11. These cookies look delicious- thanks for sharing!

  12. Stevie - mmmmh, pickled herring. Tastes do change and so I am not too worried about my kids. My daughter actually luckily liked these pretty much.
    Manu - so true, when you have a toddler you think you are the coolest because your kid will devour anything and everyone oohs and aahs. And then pre-school starts and with that the pickiness. It will pass.
    Miri - sure!

  13. Yup! Yours look amazingly wonderful!!! (Love how we both balanced a cookie on the edge of a cup! I copied mine with the milk from a pic on tastespotting... Even if I can't get on there I can still look, right???) I would enjoy the walnuts, but unfortunately I have several irrational nut-hating kids... Enjoy your weekend and happy cooking!

  14. Those cookies look totally yummy and sound full of goodness in every bite. I hope you'll come by and link them up to Sweets for a Saturday #10.


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