Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sneaky and unapologetic

Before I had a picky eater for a child, I read the occasional recipe aimed at sneaking nutrients, fiber, and/ or calcium into children. I have also read an opinion here or there regarding the fact that including nutrient rich items in otherwise unremarkable foods (mac n' cheese, for one) is either dishonest or irresponsible, since it does not teach the child to choose healthy foods.

In these parts, we have one very particular eater whose entire diet, if she was allowed ot have it her way, would consist of mac n' cheese, avocados, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream. This came as a complete surprise because she was an easily pleased broad spectrum eater at the beginning of her food life. A year later, I don't care that forcing nurtients into otherwise useless foods is not popular with some mothers. The child needs to eat, and eat well. One day she will discover she has liked whole grains, yogurt, and veggies all along. In the meantime, if she chooses to beleive she is not consuming flax seed, that is her perogative and I choose to respect it.

Here is my precious girl's sweet treat for today: Zucchini blondies featuring olive oil (holy cow -an omega 3!) whole wheat flour, veg, pecans, dark chocoate (wait, what's that - an antioxident?), and cranberries (hello, fiber, fiber, and more fiber!). And as I side note, even if I were not a sneaky pie Hostess and Mother, I would still think these were delish!

Good Stuff Zucchini Blondies
Makes 24 bar cookies

Canola spray or butter for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup extra virgin, cold pressed, olive oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup grated unpeeled zucchini
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dried sweetened cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a jelly roll pan or a large casserole.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Combine the egg, milk, and vanilla in another bowl. Cream the butter in the mixer. Add the olive oil and mix to combine. Add the sugars and continue to cream the mixture until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg mixture. Beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture, mix for 30 seconds and then scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again until thoroughly combined. Stir in the grated zucchini, chocolate chips, pecans, and cranberries and mix again gently until just evenly combined.

Smooth the batter onto the greased jelly roll sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, checking the bars after 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet if browning is uneven. Cool completely before cutting. Serve or store in an airtight container.

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