Friday, June 15, 2012
Childrens’ activities these days seem to universally include a “snack.” At the same time, the First Lady is crusading against childhood obesity. How to reconcile these two competing interests, especially if you subscribe, as I do, to the “a calorie is a calorie” theory of nutrition, which posits that the key to weight management is to eat less? That’s easier said than done, as almost all of us can attest, but why not “nudge” parents in the other direction, i.e. “send a snack with your child, if necessary?” Is it fear of jealousy in the snack room? Do teachers see pronounced effects of food on behavior? As someone whose cub scout meetings, baseball practices, chess club sessions, school activities, etc. did not generally involve food, I wonder. And how would teachers and children react if I included, instead of a serving of yogurt pretzels or a handful of strawberries, a note that said “My daughter does not need a snack. We will have dinner at 5:30 this evening.” Remonstrations? Tears? Ostracism? The possibilities are easily outweighed by the cost of throwing a little something in your child’s backpack. But maybe schools and activity managers need to work harder to discourage mindless eating; or maybe I should make the snack something the Gs will eat only if they need the sustenance. As the old saying goes, “if you are not hungry enough to eat a banana, you are not hungry.” That’s hard to follow when we value their daily happiness so highly.
Ah yes, the “healthy but delicious” paradox. How many parents have struggled with this, particularly in the organic, low salt, low carb, sugar and gluten free world of today? When the BG was in 2nd Grade, parents were periodically asked to send in a hBd snack for students and teachers. I struggled with this at first, but found solace in “whole grain,” which was particularly useful, given the giant sack of whole wheat flour in our kitchen from my brother-in-law’s Wisconsin mill.
Despite the whole grain flour, these cookies are probably on the starboard side of healthy But delicious. The trick is to make them small and eat them one at a time, which is really the key to the hBd lifestyle, in my view; and to run around afterwards. But they are quite good, nonetheless, and the whole wheat gives them a nice, chewy consistency (they are too heavy, though, if you don’t mix it with some white flour). I find that letting the dough sit for an hour in the refrigerator makes it easier to handle, and that rolling it into balls produces the perfect cookie shape. I also love the way my new stand mixer performs, but I don’t see any concomitant improvement to quality from its replacement of my beloved wooden spoon.
Whole grain chocolate chip cookies (about 3 dozen, at the size I roll them)
Stir together 1 1/8 cups whole wheat and 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking soda and ½ tsp. salt. In a separate bowl, beat 2 sticks butter, softened, with ¾ cup brown sugar and ¾ cup sugar until creamy. Add 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 2 eggs, mixing until well combined. Blend in dry mixture. Stir in 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Refrigerate dough for an hour (or longer), then roll into superball size. Bake at 375 on ungreased cookie sheet (I like to use my silicon baking mat) 9-11 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on wire rack and enjoy responsibly.