Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies for Kids

I recently made a batch of Auntie Sharon's favorite polenta cookies, and of course, Emi got to try a few. They were an instant hit with my 18-month-old, and pretty soon the sound of Emi squawking "Coca, coca, coca" was ringing through the house - all day long.

I was good and limited her intake to about a cookie a day, all the while thinking I should find a more toddler-friendly recipe. Things came to a head on Sunday when we took Emi to an art show, and I made the fatal error of slipping her a few, broken cookie pieces. Poor Daddy had to follow her around the block about a half dozen times, then chase her up and down a short flight of stairs.

So I did a little online research and came up with this adaptation of Ina Garten's Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookie recipe. I cut out the raisins, since I hear they're not good for kids' teeth, swapped out all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour and replaced white sugar with agave syrup. I kept the brown sugar in because I like the molasses flavor, but I cut the amount in half.

My cookies came out very moist, almost cake-like. I'm guessing the agave syrup had something to do with it, so next time I might play with the ratios a bit and use only about 2/3 cup of agave for every 1 cup of sugar. I usually like a bit more crunch to my cookies, but Emi likes them!

Oatmeal Pecan Cookies

1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup agave syrup
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats and pecans and mix just until combined.

Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.

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