(Becky, the Mama. It is the small things you do with small people that you and they will look back on and cherish. I hope and pray you get a little bonding time in the kitchen with young ones this week. Here’s a recipe that will make it easy during a time when many feel perpetually overwhelmed. Love and Merry Christmas to all our Blog Readers and thank you so much for sharing our love of cooking and passing it along to others.)
There is, of course, the Martha Stewart way to make Christmas cookies with your kids when they are home from school this coming week for Christmas break. It looks homey and fun, easy and bonding. Especially when using child actors on a TV set.
What it is, in reality, is a long process involving antsy children, along with lots of sugar, clouds of flour, rolling pins and sticky dough (that will take a jack hammer to remove after it is dry), food coloring stains, and sometimes tears of frustration (from either children or parent). The experience almost always ends with the kids giving up the thrill of “making Christmas cookie memories together,” after half-heartedly decorating one, maybe two, cookies. Then they start begging to go play outside, watch cartoons or play a video game. So Mom ends up finishing up the decorating, cleaning up the mess, and downing about six cookies she doesn’t really need or want that taste like thick sweet cardboard with green and red sugar paste on top.
I’m here to give you Becky Johnson’s (alias “Nonny”) Easier Way Out. (Merry Christmas!) It takes about five to ten minutes to make these “Christmas Cinnamon Crisps” with your children, start to finish. If you use whole wheat tortillas and dust them with organic coconut or date sugar, you can even claim them to be almost downright healthy. A cold glass of diary or almond milk will help balance the sugar with a bit of protein and keep your children off the ceiling from a pure sugar high. Also, these crisps are so light and crunchy, they will not end up feeling like a sugar dough ball in their stomachs. (Or yours.)
We made these for Christmas, but you can use any holiday or seasonal cookie cutters to make this an easy-to-make treat year round.
2 large flour tortillas, whole wheat or white (I prefer to use the raw tortillas, such as Tortilla Land or Guerrero Brands because they puff up like little sopapillas, but pre-cooked ones will also work)
1 to 2 T. coconut oil or other healthy oil
Cinnamon & Sugar Mix (1/4 c. sugar to 1 T. cinnamon)
Using good sharp edged cookies cutters, let the kids cut out cookies from the tortilla.
In the meantime, melt 1 T. coconut oil in a medium skillet on medium high heat. Drop tortilla “cookies” into hot oil (obviously an adult will need to do this part).
Then gently roll them in a bowl of the cinnamon and sugar, coating both sides.
Let them cool a bit, but best eaten while warm and fresh! (You made need to add more coconut oil as you cook the crisps.) Cut up left over “scraps” of tortillas into “crazy shape” pieces to cook, coat and eat last!
There are so many ways you can jazz up this basic idea. You can coat them with coconut or date sugar, and use whole wheat tortillas (or even flat bread). You can make a quick vanilla or chocolate glaze and dip one side in (like a donut) and then dip again in crushed nuts or seeds or sprinkles or coconut, like thin tiny donuts. You can skip the cinnamon and sugar and dip in a honey-butter or peanut-butter and honey mixture. Have fun with this!
(Becky, the Mama)
My mother, Ruthie, went from loving her sugary desserts (a la last week’s Honey Slice cookie recipe) to a diet almost completely without sugar a couple of decades ago. A health crisis with her blood pressure and heart, meant major changes in her daily diet – all for the better. Out went everything white: sugar, white flour and white rice… and in came the brown and fiber-filled replacements. But, we are not the sort of women to suffer deprivation in our family. Being the creative and resourceful cook, Mother found several ways to satisfy her sweet tooth while also getting healthier, sporting an adorably slim figure, and having more energy than women decades younger than she!
This is one of my all-time favorite sweet, healthy, satisfying treats that she baked. She served them in a pretty cloth-lined basket at a family supper and they disappeared in what seemed like minutes. Everyone from kids to adults raved about them.
The basic ingredients are so simple: oats, mashed bananas and grated apples. From there you can throw in the kitchen sink: any nuts, seeds, flavorings or dried fruit that you like. Another bonus is that you can serve this recipe to most of the people in your family (or friends) on special diets. The recipe is naturally vegan, and if you use gluten-free oats, it is gluten-free and can easily be adapted to use less sugar or made sugar-free. Kids not only love them, but as you can see from my little helper below, they also love to help make them.
If you want to create warm memories of baking with little ones this Christmas, but prefer not to send them into a Sugar Orbit in the process: this is the perfect mom and child, or grandma and grandchild project, to whip up together.
The texture is somewhere between a muffin, an oatmeal cookie, trail mix, and baked oatmeal. Made with sugar they get a nice crunch on the outside but are moist and slighty chewy on the inside. Perfect for quick breakfasts-to-go, they also make great snacks for school lunch boxes and any outdoor enthusiasts in your family. Wrapped in foil they are wonderful sources of energy when hiking, camping or snow-boarding.
This recipe makes 2 dozen. Best stored in fridge and then heated for a few seconds in microwave.
Oat Nut Fruit Gems
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
2 large bananas, mashed (use 3 if bananas are small)
2 large peeled apples, grated (use 3 if apples are small)
3 cups oats (I like Old Fashioned Oats for the chewier texture)
½ t. sea salt
1/3 c. raw organic sugar (or use other sweeteners such as brown sugar or coconut sugar or even Stevia, according to taste )
½ c. dried chopped fruit (I used dates and dried cranberries. Coconut also works well in this recipe.)
1/2 nuts and/or seeds (I used walnuts and pecans)
2 t. vanilla
Mix all of the above together in a large mixing bowl. Spray or oil muffin pans. Fill them about 2/3 full and gently press down with back of spoon. if you want them to look more muffin-like you can mound them a bit in the middle, as they won’t rise. (No leavening or eggs.)
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until just golden brown around edges and top.
When cool to touch, gently remove from pan. If not eaten in a day, store in fridge in a sealed bag or plasticware and zap for a few seconds in microwave to warm.
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
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The Title: Oat Nut Fruit Gems
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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook