What Kids Learn
- How to melt butter in 60 seconds
- How to firmly pack light brown sugar
- How to line a baking pan with foil
When my daughter Kerrie was in preschool, she occasionally would ask (on a nonschool day) if we could have a “Kerrie Day.” Kerrie Days consisted of breakfast in bed for Kerrie (“Waffles, strawberries, and chocolate milk, please!”), and later, giving her my undivided attention while we enjoyed a special activity together. She loved to bake cookies, and gathered the flour, sugar, butter, and other ingredients as soon as her little sister settled down for a nap.
Since Kerrie loved both dried fruit and oatmeal, these cookies were among her favorites. Eventually, she renamed them her “breakfast cookies” when she realized that breakfast in bed wasn’t going to be an every “Kerrie Day” kind of thing. Before too long, these cookies became a family favorite, served with a glass of milk, a banana, and a stick of low-fat cheese. We eat them for dessert as well.
My advice: Wrap a bunch of cookies individually, freeze them, and then pop them into a backpack or camp bag for a lunch or snack. If your child doesn’t like apricots, use raisins or mini chocolate chips instead. You can also add chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds. But we love them with the bits of golden fruit peeking through.
What You’ll Need
- 1 ½ sticks butter
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 ½ cups oatmeal (quick-cooking or old-fashioned, but not instant)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup firmly packed diced dried apricots
What to Do
- Show your child how to slice the butter into small pieces, slide the butter into a small bowl, and heat it in a microwave oven for about 1 minute. (To slice the butter, let your child use a small plastic knife.). Remove the bowl of butter from the microwave, let your child stir, and cook again until melted. Allow the butter to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Gather some foil and together line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan; it’s fine to let some foil hang over the sides. Let your helper coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.Teachable Moment: Helpful Baking Supplies
- Can't wait to get your hands on those cookies? Cool them off faster by transferring them to a baking rack instead of a plate. The air circulation speeds up the process.
- To keep sweets from sticking to a pan, you can grease the pan...or just line it with parchment paper! It also makes cleaning up a breeze!
- Skip the mess and help your child mix the cookie dough in a food processor. Some recipes need the butter to stay cold—so it's better to mix it into the dough quickly, without it melting all over your hands.
- Show your baker-in-training how to measure the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Let her pour in the melted, cooled butter; help her measure and add the vanilla. Take turns stirring the dough with a large spoon; the dough should be moist, with no traces of flour. Invite your helper to add the diced apricots, and have her mix the dough well to make sure the apricots are evenly distributed. Spoon and scrape the dough into the baking pan. Let her press the dough into the pan, using her fingers. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.Teachable Moment: 4 Historical Oat and Oatmeal Facts
- People have been eating oats since as early as 7000 BCE. The first to eat them as a cereal were the ancient Greeks.
- Oat farming got its start in Asia, but it wasn’t until it spread to Europe that oatmeal really took off as a food staple. Scotland, in particular, snapped it up, and eventually so did folks in the United States.
- Now almost 75 percent of people in the United States sit down for an occasional oatmeal breakfast! Most of the oatmeal produced in the U.S. comes from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
- Not only do oats give you plenty of energy to feel great all day, they can help you look your best, too! Oats have a great big dose of the vitamin biotin, which helps give you healthy skin and hair!
- Remove pan from oven and cool for about half an hour. Turn pan upside down onto a large plate. Remove the foil. Cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!