We really don’t need an excuse to make cookies in my family, but with the new school year on the horizon, my girls insisted that we prepare ourselves by making sure the cookie jar was full. Never mind shopping for school supplies – we must have homemade cookies in the house. With my arm fully twisted, we broke out the giant mixing bowl and started pondering what we would make. It was decided that our cookies should definitely have some chocolate chips – these are my children afterall – and perhaps some coconut and oatmeal. With these guidelines in mind, I did a little digging through my cookie recipe file and found one that fit the bill. Originally titled Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Cookies, we re-named them Back-to-School Cookies in honor of our baking mission. The recipe included chocolate chips, coconut, oats, crisp rice cereal (Special K)and in lieu of nuts we decided to add dried apricots and dried cherries. Perfect! Two minutes later, hands were washed and my girls were ready to bake.
I love the idea of my kids having a homemade cookie treat after school, but I really love the idea of my kids eating a cookie that’s made with healthy ingredients. So, as we started collecting what we needed, I reached for my bag of Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour. These cookies are packed with lots of good things, so I knew that mixing in some whole wheat flour would go unnoticed – if I were making them alone. Hmmm… my kids were helping me make these cookies. How would the addition of whole wheat go over? Even though my children know that whole wheat is good for them, sometimes they balk when I add it to certain beloved foods – cookies being one of them. So, with my back up argument about how whole wheat is healthy on the tip of my tongue, I set it out as an ingredient, gave a measurement to my oldest girl, watched her mix it into the dough and… that was it. No one groaned or moaned even a little. Much to my delight, I believe that whole wheat is finding its place in my house – even in cookies. All three of my girls watched the Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat get mixed into the dough and no one blinked an eye. It just goes to show, that including healthy foods in our daily lives makes an impression on children, and instead of being something to complain about, it becomes normal. Very cool.
These cookies begin in the usual way. Cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla next. Then mix in the flours, baking soda and salt until everything is well combined.
The oats, coconut, chocolate chunks, rice cereal, dried apricots and cherries come next. Feel free to substitute nuts in place of the fruit if you want to – these cookies are easily adapted to whatever you fancy. Give these goodies a stir with a wooden spoon until they are mixed into the dough.
Here’s a picture of my bakers in training. They’re so good at making cookies that I need only to direct the show . Makes my heart swell.
Scoop large tablespoon-sized portions of dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets and bake in a 350˚F oven for 9-11 minutes or until the cookies have turned golden brown around the edges and the middles are slightly soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
These cookies turned out really well and have been requested often as an afternoon snack. I’m not sure any will be left by the time we start school in a few days, but they did do a nice job of finishing our summer vacation on a sweet note. I encourage you to make these cookies – whether it’s to kick off a new school year or just because. If you have some little people around – pull them into the kitchen to help. This recipe is kid friendly and definitely kid approved. Enjoy!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 1/3 cup Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups crisp rice cereal (such as Special K)
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¾ cup chopped dried apricots
- ¾ cup chopped dried tart cherries
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
Cream the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add the flours, baking soda and salt. Mix until fully incorporated. Stir in the rice cereal, coconut, rolled oats, apricots, cherries and chocolate chunks. Scoop the dough into large tablespoon-sized portions onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake in a 350˚F oven for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the middles are slightly soft. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheets and then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Adapted from: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth, by Jill O’Connor