In thinking about today’s post, I thought it was a little ironic that I wrote about getting your kids more active on Friday and am writing about sweets today. But irony aside, these things can really coexist. Afterall, raising a healthy family and leading a healthy life is not about deprivation. It’s about moderation, balance, joy … all wonderful things. So, yes, you can have a delicious cookie bar and a slim waistline.
When I decided to have a healthier 2010, it never once crossed my mind to stop baking things like these bars. My kids love to cook and I love to cook with them. Seems like a win-win, right?
Last weekend, Will and I made Chocolate Covered S’mores Grahams and they were dessert for most of the week. He actually wanted to make them again, but I spied a recipe for Butterscotch Blondies in Gorgeous: The Sum of All Your Glorious Parts, a book that I reviewed a few years ago. The idea sounded good, but I wanted a bar that was just a little different. So, I got out my trusty notebook, made some alterations to the recipe (adding chocolate, taking out nuts, trading half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat, etc).
When the time came to bake on Sunday, I got out an big bowl for Will to mix in. The ingredients filled only a small portion of the bowl, but using an oversized bowl is one of tricks of cooking with kids that makes it easier and more stress-free. Yes, the smaller mixing bowl would have been perfect for this recipe, but the larger bowl gives him room to move the whisk around in. That way, he learns how to work in this confined space, while allowing margin for error. The result? Far less flour spilled. And I noticed as he mixed that his movements are becoming more fluid. He really is learning how to sift gently. How awesome is that?
There are so many opportunities for kids to help with a recipe like this. I’ve notated in the recipe the sections that are perfect for kids to help with. And working together like that, to create something, is a great experience for them.
Anyway, back to the recipe. Once we finished mixing, pressing and baking, we were left with sweet cookie bars that are brimming with buttery richness and chocolatey goodness. I liked them. Shawn liked them. The kids adored them … What more could I ask for?
These will make a fab dessert for the kids this week. And for the adults too.
Chocolate Butterscotch Cookie Bars
yields 24 bars
recipe adapted from Gorgeous: The Sum of All Your Glorious Parts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11x9x2 inch baking pan with cooking oil spray.
Kid Step: Using a large bowl (you want it to be bigger than you need so that your child has room to sift without making a huge mess) and a wire whisk, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until it’s smooth and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on medium until combined. Turn off.
Kid Step: Turn the mixer on its lowest speed. Using a big spoon, add the flour mixture one spoonful at a time until it’s all been added. It’s a good idea for the adult to hold the bowl close to the mixer while the kid-cook adds the flour. Turn off.
Kid Step: Measure out the chocolate chips and butterscotch kids. Add to the dough. Then, turn the mixer on to quickly incorporate (if you are cooking really really young kids, the adult should turn it on after the kid as added the chips).
Spread the dough out into the prepared pan in an even layer. Use your hand to press it into the corners, if necessary.
Slide the pan into the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through. A toothpick inserted in the center of the pan should come out clean.
Let cool completely and then cut into 12 bars.