Cookie as Comfort and Currency (Organic Recipes)

From Lisa Barnes

Besides being tasty and easy to hold, a cookie embodies so many things. If you ask a child what they like making most in the kitchen, the answer is 9 out of 10 times “baking cookies with mom”.  What’s not to like?  Getting into the dough, rolling it out (or plopping it on a pan), and finally, for some, frosting and decorating.  Some kids like making cakes better, however there’s more commitment and patience with baking a cake.  It’s also a great learning experience (measuring, counting, stirring, following directions) and bonding activity (bring your patience and sponges for clean-up, moms).

A warm cookie and glass of milk is the ultimate in comfort food for all ages. Why else would they serve them in first class on airline flights?  A warm cookie says “let’s get comfortable” and “everything is going to be alright”.  Whether it’s an after school treat on a hot summer day or a rainy day sweet by the fire – cookies are loved and welcomed by all. And because of this appreciation and love for the cookie, then there is…

Cookie as currency.  There are a few ways people can be paid with cookies.  Of course, there’s the bribe for children.  Even in the movies you hear “if you eat your _____, you can have a cookie”.  I use cookies as a means to open doors and make friends. If going to a play date’s house or meeting a new associate or attending a meeting, I bring cookies.  They are an automatic entry.  Who can say “no” or be grumpy when you’re giving and sharing a plate of cookies?

I went so far as bringing cookies to my hospital room when I was going to have my children. Let me explain… I was in labor and needed to take my mind off things.  What did I do?  Bake cookies. I thought this would be great to have for the nurses and anyone who visits me and the baby. I was right and then some.  My anethesiologist hadn’t had any dinner and ate four cookies before my surgery. The nurses came in to my room for extra visits and cookie “fixes”.  I remembered to bring the cookies when my daughter was born 3 years later too.  I think my son appreciated them the most, when he came in to meet his new little sister.

Lately I’ve been using cookies as currency to thank my neighbors and friends.  It’s such an easy and appreciated way to say “thank you for taking out our garbage” and “I appreciate you living next to me and being kind to my family”.

Here are two cookie recipes (one for everyone, one for vegans) to bake and use however you’d like… to eat or share (with or without strings attached).

Oatmeal Chocolate Cherry Cookies

From the San Francisco Junior League Cookbook which I worked on about 10 years ago. Feel free to substitute raisins or cranberries for the dried cherries or just add extra chocolate chips if you prefer. These are a favorite right now with my neighborhood.

Makes about 48 cookies

2 cups organic old fashioned oats
1¼ cups organic unbleached all purpose flour
1¼ cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) organic butter at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cage free organic egg yolks at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat.

In a large bowl combine oats, flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix cream butter and sugars together until light and creamy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture a cupful at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in cherries and chocolate chips.

Mold large heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and press lightly to flatten a bit. Place on prepared sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake about 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool slightly on pan, about 3 minutes, and transfer to wire rack.

Organic Vegan Carob-Banana Cookies

This cookie from The Petit Appetit Cookbook looks just like a gooey chocolate chip cookie, but made especially for vegans without the butter, eggs and chocolate.

A good, healthy option for the unknown dietary restrictions at school or for a new play date.

Makes about 30 cookies

¾ cup organic unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup organic rolled oats
1½ teaspoons organic ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 medium organic bananas, mashed, about 1 cup
2 tablespoons organic soy flour
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons organic light brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated organic orange zest
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
½ cup vegan carob chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, oats, cinnamon and soda and whisk until well blended. In a small bowl whisk together soy flour and water. In a food processor or blender, combine bananas, soy flour mixture, brown sugar, zest, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

Fold banana mixture into oat mixture. Fold in carob chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown on bottom. Remove pans from oven and transfer cookies with a spatula to wire racks to cool completely.

*An “Egg”cellent Replacement. Combine 1 tablespoon soy flour with 2 tablespoons of water, to replace a single egg in a recipe.

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See also Lisa’s She Takes The Cake (with Organic Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe For Kids)
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, and Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Lisa Barnes
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