Brow Beat

What to Feed Your Kids for Snack When They Get Tired of Eating Fruit

A pantry cookie, also known as a cowboy cookie or a kitchen-sink cookie.

Photo by James Ransom

This post originally appeared on Food52.

Snack is the land of infinite possibility. Snack is what California once was.

Unlike breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there is nothing that is obviously not okay to eat at snack. (Even semi-edible food is okay for snack these days.) For a kid, this means that the highs are higher, the lows are lower, the parental failings are greater. The other day I put out some bananas and oranges for snack and our six-year-old sighed loudly and said, more in sorrow than in anger, “Dada, you know I have just about had it with bananas and oranges.”

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I believe he’s currently looking for new roommates. (Contact me if you’re interested!)

Although our children would deny it, they do occasionally have things other than bananas and oranges for snack. And not just raw cabbage, either.

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I am here to tell you that the cowboy cookie—the kitchen sink cookie, the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cookie—is the perfect cookie for snack. Not simply because it has the nutty, whole-grain heft of a granola bar in the more dissolute shape of a cookie. But because it is highly accommodating. The cowboy cookie is the Jeeves of the cookie world: It will find a way to make snack happen. So if you do not have pecans, it will take almonds; if you do not have dried cranberries, it will accept raisins; if you do not have chocolate chips, it will be happy with butterscotch, or a chopped chocolate bar. Or it will wait while you go out for chocolate chips. 

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It’s not a cowboy cookie, really. It’s a pantry cookie.

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A couple of notes: First, this recipe calls for melted butter, partly for reasons of convenience (no waiting for butter to soften), but mostly because melted butter makes for a chewier cookie that spreads more. If you want a more cakey cookie with some height, don’t melt the butter; cream it along with the sugars and the egg. Second, my version of this cookie includes toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips. But your version may be different. Try almonds and dried apricots, or walnuts and dried cherries, or pistachios and dried figs. Or sunflower and pumpkin seeds in place of the nuts. Or a Heath bar in place of the chocolate chips. 

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They all go well with bananas and oranges. 

Pantry cookies.

Photo by James Ransom

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The Pantry Cookie
Makes about 20 cookies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter 
⅔ cup white or whole wheat flour
⅔ cup rolled oats
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
⅓ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips (or other chips, or chopped chocolate)
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped (or other toasted nuts or seeds)
½ cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit, chopped if large)

See the full recipe at Food52.

More from Food52:
10 Cookie Recipes You Should Make Now
8 Chocolatey Cookie Recipes
11 Crazy Cookie Recipes
The Easiest Chocolate Chip Cookies
Delicious Snack Bars You Can Make at Home

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