Childsplay Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies
a recipe to keep kids (and therefore parents) happy for hours and hours and hours…
The cookies have a pretty high ratio of oats (good) and kind of (for they are cookies) lowish sugar. If you are concerned about sugar I’ve suggested how to use substitutes and reduce it further. They are all butter. Please don’t use margerine. The resulting dough should come out literally like “play doh” so that it can be handled without fingers getting too sticky. You can put all kinds of things in it but half the fun is giving the kids bowls of raisins, chopped apricots, nuts (as long as no allergies) , chocolate chips, cranberries and all manner of things and letting them create their own shapes and recipes of cookies. They can play like this for hours!
You can make them the old fashioned way with a wooden spoon, a mixing bowl and a lot of energy (preferably that of a young child – exactly the kind of thing child labour was invented for) or use a food processor / Kitchen Aid/ Kenwood which of course the kids love operating and teaching you how to use 😉
hard to say how many cookies as depends on the size of the hearts, turtles, mountains, volcanoes, bridges and bats that are created…
- Butter at room temperature 250g (that makes “creaming” it with the sugar way easier and avoids tears)
- Sugar 250g (brown organic sugar if you feel virtuous although dont be upset when your kid tells you the mixture looks dirty). You can use agave nectar but increase the flour to 250-275g.
- 2 eggs (be prepared to add a little milk should the mixture be too crumbly as maybe your eggs were small ones )
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (not strictly necessary but great for kids to sniff real vanilla although sniffing habits to be discouraged in general of course. Vanilla sniffing is, as far as I know, safe. Try and avoid the synthetic stuff as its a derivative of the wood pulp industry – sniffing resin derivatives not quite so innocuous)
- 200 grammes flour plus a bit extra for facial decoration and general messing around
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (in Romania “praf de copt”) and I dont add any extra salt
- 1/2 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 360 grammes oats (in Romania “fulgi de ovaz”) – by volume this seems alarmingly high – fear not!
Other things you can add: Chocolate chips or a bar of chocolate chopped up, raisins, sultanas, cranberries, nuts, chopped apricots, banana chips. You can either add into the mixture or allow the kids to decorate and create their own cookies. This can keep them occupied happily for a long time plus they also design lots of different things with the dough really creatively.
Gadgets & Gizmos
A powerful vacuum cleaner (just kidding!) You can make with a wooden spoon and bowl but kids do get bored a bit fast so if you are doing it the old fashioned way make sure the butter really is very soft. Cheat by microwaving it very very gently on defrost setting – that way you wont melt it into a puddle of oil. Alternatively use a Kitchen Aid/ Kenwood or a food processor to wizz up the dough in no time at all. Buy a roll of baking paper (in Romania “hartie de copt”) and if you dont own a great collection of baking trays then your oven should come with one if not two metal trays and ceramic dishes work pretty well too. Its not about the equipment anyhow!
Set the Oven to 180C
Step 1 – Creaming the butter & sugar
Mix the butter and sugar together either with a wooden spoon or with the K beater of your Kitchen Aid. What is key is that the butter “disappears” like in a magic trick 😉 and the result is a fluffy mix of butter and sugar. Now you should add the eggs next and then other ingredients but I add all the other ingredients together.
Step 2 – Add the rest of the Ingredients and mix gently and then mix faster
At first mix gently as you don’t want eggs slopping out of the bowl. When everything is incorporated you can mix faster/ turn p the speed so that the dough comes together in one big clunky lump. However avoid the temptation to mix for a long time because you will develop the gluten in the flour and then your cookies will be tough. (tough cookies not good in this instance).
To create the cookies, dip your hands in flour and have some flour on the work surface. Roll little balls in your hand and flatten them gently on to the baking paper that you have placed on your trays and dishes.
Cook for only 10 minutes until just golden. They dont need longer. Allow them to cool before handling because when they are hot they are not solid.
Go forth and create cookies! Enjoy!