Thumbprint Peanut Butter Cookies
by Missy Chase Lapine
Nothing says "The holidays are here!" quite like cookies fresh out of the oven. But when your kids' sugar highs and lows start wreaking havoc on the already hectic holiday season, maybe it's time for new kind of cookie. A smart cookie. A sneaky cookie. One that's as packed with nutrition as it is with holiday cheer.
That cookie has arrived, and its delicious flavor, nutritional value, and tell-tale thumbprint center will leave a big impression on family and friends. It's packed with veggies, whole grains, and nutrition-rich nuts, and is rich in vitamins, iron, potassium, and fiber. So give your self a little gift: the piece of mind that your family is happy - and healthy!
Makes 20 to 22 cookies
2 cups whole grain cereal flakes (such as Wheaties or Total)
1/3 cup Flour Blend (see Make-Ahead recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead recipe below)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or 1/4 cup favorite jam
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with oil (or line with parchment paper). Using a rolling pin, gently crush cereal (in a sealed plastic bag) into coarsely crushed flakes. Alternatively, you can quickly pulse the cereal in a food processor. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, oil, peanut butter, Orange Puree and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Pinch off tablespoon amounts of dough and roll about 20 balls in your hands. Place on the prepared cookie sheet about an inch apart. Gently press your thumb into the center of each ball to make an indent. Fill the indent with a few chocolate chips or a half teaspoon of jam. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
Flour Blend Make-Ahead Recipe:
1 cup all-purpose, unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ, unsweetened
Combine the flours and wheat germ in a bowl. This blend can be stored in a sealed, labeled plastic bag for months.
Orange Puree Make-Ahead Recipe:
1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled and rough chopped
3 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
2-3 tablespoons water
In a medium pot, cover carrots and potatoes with cold water and boil for about 20 minutes until yams, and especially carrots, are very tender. If the carrots aren’t thoroughly cooked, they’ll leave telltale little nuggets of vegetables, which will reveal their presence (a gigantic no-no for the sneaky chef).
Drain the potatoes and carrots and put them in the food processor with two tablespoons of water. Puree on high until smooth; no pieces of carrots or potatoes should remain. Stop occasionally to push the contents from the top to the bottom. If necessary, use the third tablespoon of water to make a smooth puree, but the less water the better.
This makes about 2 cups of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of puree.Store in refrigerator up to three days, or freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.
Missy Chase Lapine is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine. A mother of two young daughters, she knows how picky kids can be—and she’s got the kitchen experiments to prove it! She is on the Culinary Arts facility of The New School, in New York City, and also gives cooking classes and coaching to busy families hoping to learn how to eat healthier. Her book, The Sneaky Chef, is published by Running Press. Her next book The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man (In the Kitchen) will be out in April 2008. You can learn more about Missy at her website, www.thesneakychef.com