Monday, December 10, 2012

Jack's Ginger Snaps (and picky eaters!)

My oldest son Jack is the pickiest eater in the world.  I know I'm not alone and that many parents are dealing with their own picky eaters, but my son won't even eat "normal" kid foods.  No pizza, pasta, macaroni & cheese, grilled cheese or worst of all - no fruits or vegetables of any kind.  This drives me crazy.  Our pediatrician says he's growing just fine and not to worry, he'll grow out of it.  Well, I do worry, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it.  I do, however, make sure that of the limited foods he does eat, that they are as nutritious as possible even if it's the same foods day in and day out:
For breakfast it's organic milk and homemade waffles (loaded with extra eggs, ground flax, oatmeal and applesauce.)  Lunch is organic, sprouted-grain bread with almond butter.  For diner it's organic chicken nuggets.  I also make sure he has a daily multi-vitamin, a fruit & vegetable "pill", omega-3 tablets and extra Vitamin C.

We have tried to get him to eat other things, and he did when he was very young, but as he grew up he got pickier and pickier and the nightly food battles were getting us nowhere and causing tremendous stress in our family.  He claims his taste buds are "different" than ours and that's why he eats the way he does.  I will always worry about his limited eating habits, but he is growing fine and doing well in school, so we'll keep doing what we're doing and hope and pray he branches out with his food choices.  (For the record, my youngest son eats everything: sushi/sashimi, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, pickled ginger, sardines, anchovies...quite the extreme)

Because of Jack's "special taste buds" there isn't much I can cook or bake for him that he will eat, so when we discovered that he loved my Ginger Snaps we were thrilled and surprised at the same time because they are rather spicy.  (I know it's just a cookie and who wouldn't love a cookie? but believe me, Jack won't eat just any cookie)   So every year for Christmas I make these Ginger Snaps specially for Jack who thinks they're "awesome."
While I've been baking these cookies for years, I've always felt bad about using one ingredient:  shortening.  There is plenty of butter in the cookie, which is fine, but the shortening is needed to make the cookie perfectly round.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist (perhaps a little OCD) when I bake.  Although Crisco claims to be "trans-fat free" it's full of hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated crap that I just don't feel good about using even if it's a small amount. This year I used coconut oil instead (in the winter months coconut oil has the same consistency as Crisco) and I'm happy to report the cookies not only taste great but are perfectly round and beautiful!  



Jack's Ginger Snaps
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of sugar reserved for rolling
4 cups of all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 large eggs, beaten

1.)  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

2.)  In a bowl, cream butter, coconut oil, and 2 cups of sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger.

3.)  Add molasses to butter mixture;  beat to combine.   Beat in eggs until well combined.  Reduce mixer speed to low;  slowly add the reserved flour mixture, a little at a time until well blended.

4.) Place the remaining cup of sugar in a small bowl.  Measure about 2 teaspoons of dough;  roll into a ball and roll dough in sugar.  Transfer to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Repeat, spacing balls 3 inches apart.  Bake for 11 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

"The Greatest Wealth is Health" - Roman Poet Virgil

"Let Food be thy Medicine and Medicine be thy Food." - Hippocrates

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