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Lunchbox Treats: Everything Cookies

I make two lunches every weekend morning, and despite the masses of prepackaged sweet treats marketed toward kids and parents, the best snack to pack are homemade cookies. They’re still a better deal than mass produced gummies, granola bars and roll-ups, without all the additives, preservatives, artificial colors and packaging – they’re made up of whole foods, and you control what goes into them. These cookies contain anything – and everything – from oatmeal and dried fruit to chocolate chips, nuts (if they are allowed at your kids’ school) and seeds – they’re completely customizable depending on your kids’ taste. They also make a great after-school snack.

Add anything you like to this oatmeal cookie dough – dried chopped apricots, cranberries, blueberries or cherries, chocolate covered raisins, coconut, pumpkin or sunflower seeds.. use your imagination and come up with new combinations with the kids. Not only are they perfect to pack in school lunches, they provide the perfect opportunity to get into the kitchen and bake together – a great way to spend TV and computer-free time with your kids.

Everything Cookies

Adapted from Bon Appétit, December 2004

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or green pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars in large bowl until pale and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and stir until almost combined; add the chocolate chips, nuts or seeds and cranberries and stir just until blended.

Drop by the spoonful onto parchment-lined sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes, until pale golden around the edges but still soft in the middle. Let cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap individually and store at room temperature or stash in the freezer to pop into lunchbags. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

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