Well, true to form, the Oregon weather has proved to be a fickle friend once again. This week is forecasted to be rainy all the way through, so we better put away our swim suits and sunscreen and start pondering how many games of UNO we can play before our eyeballs fall out of our heads in boredom.
So besides UNO, what does one do with small children when you are home and not wanting to spend a ton of money? I mean, we love open gyms and such as much as the next family, but contrary to my preschooler's belief, we can't just go to the bank and get "tons and tons of monies for free."
Well, one of our go-to activities is baking. Now, I realize that baking isn't exactly free, nor is it entirely wise for the waistline. However. I have strong arguments in favor of you making these cookies pronto.
1. They will make your house smell so good. Like a factory with little elven cookie makers bustling around.
2. You can use up those brown bananas that are sitting on your counter (don't deny it).
3. Baking is great language, math, and fine motor practice for your little helpers.
4. This recipe makes a TON of cookies - I get 56 - so they're fun to share. Like Pete the Cat says, "sharing is cool."
4. Because you get to eat them at the end. End of story.
Banana Bread Cookies
(Don't like banana bread? I promise you'll like these cookies anyway.)
In a large bowl, cream together:
1 cup butter, softened (that's two sticks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
When that's mixed together, go ahead and add:
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas - please don't measure this. Just mash them up.)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Okay so that gross looking stuff in the tupperware? That's what bananas look like after they've been in the fridge or freezer. If they're in your fruit basket and are looking pretty sorry, either peel them and put them in the fridge for a day or so, or else peel them, chop them into bite size pieces, and throw them into the freezer. Once they're frozen they're easy to pull out to bake with, and also great for smoothies!
Also, I used to make these with all white flour. Now I do half white and half whole wheat. I 100% promise you can't tell the whole wheat is in there. Plus you can eat way more cookies because they're super healthy now. Right? Hooray!
Mix again. Then add:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Yes. Keep mixing. Now, some people are fancy and mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before adding them to the wet stuff. That's great, if you like to wash lots of dishes. Me? I'm lazy, and just add the dry stuff right in. No problemo.
Last but not least! Throw in:
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups oatmeal (I prefer quick)
2 cups chocolate chips
Mix those puppies right up. Its taken you like 10 minutes so far, amiright? So worth it. And if you're tricky you have only dirtied a few things, so you win the smart cook award.
Okay, time to bake. If you have some, use parchment paper on your cookie sheets. This stuff is miraculous because you don't have to grease the cookie sheet, the cookies will slide right off, and then you get to throw away the paper when you're done. (Also, it leaves your cookie sheets so clean that you don't have to wash them afterwards. I won't tell.) Oh, and you can reuse that parchment paper - this is good because it's sort of expensive.
Plop the dough down in about tablespoon-ful size lumps. Using a scoop is so handy for this. Go ahead and put the cookies pretty close together on the sheet. They won't rise or spread much.
Bake at 375 for 9 or 10 minutes. If you like your baked goods on the well done end of things, go ahead and leave em in for a few minutes longer.
Be sure to eat them warm, because oh my word. You'll be glad you did.
Also, if you want to be crazy, you can freeze some cookies and then have an easy snack to pull out and make happy tummies. You can freeze the cookies after you bake them, which is easy. Just put them in a ziplock bag and toss em in. Or, you can put the cookie sheet in the freezer before you bake it, but after you've plopped the dough down. Freeze them like this for a few hours, and then you'll have little raw cookies. Take them off the sheet and throw them in a ziplock bag. Don't forget to write the baking directions on the bag. Then one day you'll be wishing for a treat because your littles are behaving like wild things, and you'll remember that you can have fresh cookies in just a few minutes, thanks to your excellent planning skills. Please don't feel the need to share the cookies with your wild things. Give them carrot sticks or something.
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, weekly on GoMomGo.