There is something magical and nostalgic about baking cookies. The process of making cookies, much like the smell of them baking, takes me back to my childhood. Fond memories of eating sweet batter and warm cookies, oozing with chocolate, come back every time I make these cookies. The aroma that fills the house while they bake, and for hours after, is completely intoxicating. Very few things smell as warm and fragrant as fresh-baked cookies. This recipes takes the redolence to a new dimension. Now I see why there is such a market for cookie-scented candles…
Mmm. Me want cookie.
Me eat cookie.
These cookies also have the letters k-i-d-s written all over them. My children love to help bake them, from pulsing the food processor to scooping the batter onto the cookie sheets. No licking of the batter, of course; what child enjoys that? And, the best part of these cookies: they are portable, delicious and healthy. Take them on your hikes, bikes, and zoo trips; pack them in school lunches or for afternoon park outings: wherever hungry kids (and their hard-working parents) need a little nosh.
The healthy bites sport vitamin-rich whole grain oats, healthy fats from nuts and fiber from fruits. Talk about great fuel for kids’ developing brains, growing bodies and active lifestyles (you know, activities like coloring on paper and accidentally drawing all over dining room table!).
Let’s not forget the most important tidbit: this recipe is easy to make and incurs next to zero clean-up. Unless, of course, your one-year-old son gets a hold of the cooling cookies! Let’s say he makes thumb-prints in several cookies and then steals a few to eat around the house. No worries; we all know what neat eaters toddlers are.
Well, the Littlest Guy clearly has impeccable taste. “Yi!” he says to the camera (i.e. “Hi!). He’s still working on that pesky “h” sound.
Feel free to substitute your favorite trail mix ingredients into the recipe. For example, the raisins may be replaced with your favorite small or chopped dried fruit(s). Or, nix the white chocolate and add in any chocolate variety that you prefer: milk, dark, or semi-sweet. Shake things up a little and try cashew, almond or any nut butter in place of the peanut butter. So, let’s hit the trail!
Peanut Butter-White Chocolate Trail Cookies
Made without oil or flour and still delicious. So easy and little clean-up.
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free variety, if desired)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup natural, creamy peanut butter
⅔ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 large, ripe banana
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
2 large eggs
½ cup raisins
½ cup white chocolate chunks or chips*
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place one rack in middle of oven and one rack in bottom third of oven. Then, spray two standard-sized cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Next, process rolled oats in food processor until fine. Add the baking powder and cinnamon, then process again until combined.
2.) Add remaining ingredients through eggs (except for raisins and white chocolate) and process until a smooth batter is formed. Add raisins and white chocolate and pulse, just until mixed in, about four or five pulses. Refrigerate dough for five to ten minutes.
3.) Using a two to three tablespoon melon-ball scoop or small ice-cream scoop, place batter onto the prepared cookie sheets. Leave room between cookies, as they will spread. Switch the cookie sheets halfway through baking, moving one to the top and the other to the middle.
4.) Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until cookies puff up and are the lightest shade of golden brown. If you touch the top of a cookie and no batter sticks to your finger, they are done. Allow cookies to cool on pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and enjoy!
*substitute semi-sweet, milk, or dark chocolate chips, if preferred
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