Feeding any child can be challenging – weighing nutritional value with flavor and the likelihood a child will eat a particular food can be daunting. Parents of children with food allergies face added concerns. More serious than just disliking certain foods, children with food allergies can become violently ill and even die from exposure to allergens. My son is allergic to peanuts, which means I must read food labels carefully. Many commercially produced baked goods contain or are cross-contaminated by peanuts. For years, I have sent my son to birthday parties with his own, peanut-safe cupcake. Even though he may feel a bit awkward about bringing his own cake, at least we know he is safe.
One way to overcome the awkwardness of bringing a separate snack is to bring something to share with everyone. We recently hiked to Lonesome Lake in New Hampshire with my son’s Cub Scout den, and I made these cookies as an alternative to trail mix or granola bars:
Cookies for a Hike
1 Cup (2 sticks) butter
1 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 Cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 Cups oatmeal (rough or steel cut, not instant)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Cup chocolate chips
1 Cup dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries or a mixture of dried fruit.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, stir dry ingredients gently with a whisk to sift and mix. Add dry ingredients to mixer, mixing just until incorporated. Stop mixer and stir from the bottom of the bowl to be sure ingredients are evenly distributed. Add chocolate chips and dried fruit and mix just until incorporated.
Using an ice cream scoop (3 ounce,) place dough on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving about two inches between cookies.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, makes 32 cookies.
These cookies held up well packed in a re-sealable plastic bag packed in the side pocket of a back pack. They’re just as enjoyable at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee as they are on the side of a hiking trail.