img_0827I am embarking on a new project from today- I am really passionate about ensuring kids have the opportunity to eat/cook/know their food…and see how much fun they can have in the kitchen.  So, from today I am going to be posting a lot around ‘Cooking with Kids’.  I am doing this in partnership with my long-time best friend Katherine, who is an amazing illustrator- she is going to be interpreting my recipes and posts with her fabulous, fun and happy illustrations.  If you love her work (and I’m sure you will) you can see more here: http://www.coroflot.com/katherineataylor

Let us know what you think…this is kind of an experiment, something we have both been wanting to do for a while, and it would be great to get some feedback.

So, without further ado, here is the 1st of what I hope will be many illustrated posts on kid-friendly food and recipes (Katherine is working on the illustration, and I’ll update soon)

If you are a Yank (like me) you probably encountered some form of Cowboy Cookies when you were a kid.  The great thing about these cookies is they are really a blank canvas for some fun and creativity.  This is especially good with kids, because of course it is COOKIES! …and it is a recipe that lends itself to everyone having a go. You have a base, and then add in lots of goodies, depending on your mood.

Depending on how many little hands want to be involved, you can divide the base up in to separate bowls and each person can choose their own add-ins. The recipe is pretty forgiving, and it is a lot of fun sharing the different versions.

Start of by wandering around and pulling out all the things you need from the cupboard, off the shelves, under the sofa….  You will need x2 bowls, a mixer, wooden spoon, measuring spoons and cups, cookie sheet/flat baking tray.  I think that is it. Depending on how messy you and your sous-chefs are you may want a couple aprons  (I am very messy – and need at least an apron a few extra tea towels)

Now, Let’s get cooking:

Cookie Base:

Add-ins

  • 1 cup flaked coconut: now this is a divider, kinda like Marmite (you yanks out there may not get ‘Marmite’) I would say “coconut!” to the sous-chefs/kids and gauge their reaction.  If you get :-P, ignore coconut and add a few more extras, if you get 🙂 (that would be me!) tip in the coconut!
  • 1 cup ‘stuff’, a mixture of any of following
    • Dried fruit: raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, and/or mixed dried fruit bits
    • Nuts – any, my favourite are pecans, but of course, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts will all work well
    • Chocolate chips: white, dark, milk
    • Other stuff…. anything really – pretzels, M&Ms/Smarties, those peanut butter candies ET liked, anchovies….OK, that might be a bit too far but you get the idea

How to do it!

Preheat oven to 375 F/180C

Make the base: In a bowl whisk together baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. In a separate bowl beat butter with granulated sugar and brown sugar until ‘fluffy’. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour, the oats, and then fold in the add-ins.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet or flat baking tray. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Now – most ovens have a personality of their own, so for that 1st batch you may want to keep a close eye and check after about 7 minutes.  Once they look lovely and Golden, and the centres set pull them out! Let stand for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool, if you can….then enjoy, best eaten a little warm and I am told a cold glass of milk is particularly nice with them ( I am just not a milk drinker…in coffee yes, on it’s own, no!)