After School Treats

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By Katie Goodman

Kids can be so strong willed when it comes to what they will and will not eat. It’s a daily struggle for almost all mothers (and fathers too!). If this doesn’t ring true for you, consider yourself some of the lucky parents of adventurous eaters. As a mother of a picky child, I want to make sure I put the best possible food in my children’s mouths, especially the one who is least likely to touch a vegetable with a 10 foot pole. I feel that every calorie, every bite, every snack really needs to count. I try to find creative ways to turn the foods I know he loves into something a little nutritious, though still enjoyable to his palate.

Baking is something that my son and I both enjoy doing together. It’s been a great way for me to introduce him to new ingredients in a casual atmosphere, without the pressure of trying a bite. At the same time, I’m sharing my interests with him and teaching him valuable skills. We have fun together and he’s learning. It gives us a chance to spend some quality time together creating a treat that we’ll both enjoy eating, and maybe even trying something new.

Now that school is back in session, kids are usually ready for an afternoon snack after an exhausting day of learning. Baking with your children can be a fun after school activity for those who are fortunate enough not to be bogged down with homework assignments. Or, maybe just a special activity with mom on the weekend because weekdays schedules are so packed.  They’ll love the idea of these granola bar cookies even if they aren’t able to appreciate how much healthier they are for them. This may look like a cookie, be called a cookie, and even taste suspiciously like a cookie, but it’s packed with, grains, fruits, seeds, and nuts. Rather than a sugar crash leading to a late afternoon cranky spell, the eater will have enjoyed a nice dose of fiber and protein to carry them till dinner time.

This is a “cookie” that mom won’t mind her kids eating for breakfast on occasion. She might even have one for herself!

Granola Bar Cookies
Yields 4 dozen

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 2 1/4 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour

  • 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 12 ounces dried fruit (I used 6 ounces each of blueberries and chopped strawberries)

  • 1/3 cup whole flax seeds

  • 1/3 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped, or sliced, almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until combined. Slowly pour in olive oil, beating continuously until fluffy and smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, beating an additional minute.

Measure the oatmeal into the bowl of a food processor. Grind until oatmeal has become a fine powder. Sift oatmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, and salt together in a medium sized bowl.

Stir the flour and oatmeal mixture into the butter mixture until well combined. Add in the fruit, seeds, and nuts, stirring until contents are evenly distributed.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form golf ball sized balls of dough, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Remove and cool on a cooling rack until cookies are cool enough to handle.

Note:
Don’t be afraid to mix up the add-ins to create a whole new cookie and a variety of flavors. For some fun variations consider the following add-in substitutions:

  • Tropical Granola: chopped dried mango, papaya, and/or pineapple for the fruit and chopped macadamia for the nuts

  • Triple Berry Granola: equal amounts of dried strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry for the fruit

  • Cranberry Orange Granola: dried cranberries for the fruit, walnuts for the nuts, and add in the zest of 1 orange

  • Cherry Chocolate Granola: 8 oz. dried chopped cherries for the fruit plus 4 ounces dark chocolate chunks.

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Reader Comments:

54321

Can't wait. To make this for my grand kids

By Anonymous on September 06, 2013

54321

Made the after school treats I loved them and my husband loved them and he is a bit on the picky side. I will make these again and again..We love you and all your recipes and hard work thanks! Rebecca

By Rebecca on September 05, 2013

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These cookies sound scrumptious! My kids are out of school now but I could sure use a healthy snack! I'm one of your biggest Canadian fans and have tried many of your recipes. All have been delicious, easy to make and always a big hit with the my family! Thank you and I'm looking forward to trying more of your family recipes. I really miss you on the Food Network and want you to come back. I think you are an amazing, funny, compassionate and extremely talented lady.

By Heidi Vollmer on September 04, 2013

54321

Paula, we need you back.......FOOD NETWORK IS SO BORING WITHOUT YOU. WAKE UP FOOD NETWORK..

By Patsy on September 03, 2013

54321

I love you Paula Deen. You are one of the "sweetest people on tv".

By Kathy Phelps on September 03, 2013

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I saw you on facebook advertising the weight loss Garcinia Cambogia Extract. I just wanted to know if you were really advertising it or were they just using your name..I am a diabetic and need to lose weight want to order it but I have tried so many things that does not work.Just making sure they were not just using your name. Please let me know. Thank you so much. I follow you everywhere love your reciepes.

By Kathleen on September 03, 2013

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Paula, I am behind you 100%. We all do and say things that we maybe shouldn't and you are no different that anyone else. You and I was raised in a different era. The one's throwing the stones have probably said the same or worse during their lifetime and if they haven't they will. Hold your head high and go on with life. Love you as a fellow sister.

By Jeanetta Watson on September 03, 2013

54321

This sounds yummy! I have a question though, if I already have premixed organic granola what do I eliminate from the other ingredients? and how much of my ready granola do I use?

By Teresa on September 03, 2013

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Paula these look so good, but I will substitute the oil for applesauce, better for us, and really makes cakes and cookies/brownies really moist. Probably change sugar for honey too. Glad you are on FB. God bless you.

By Karen Derrey on September 03, 2013

54321

With your recipes, if I'm going to die, I'll die happy! To your fans your, Paula Deen the Queen of Cuisine!

By Robert Fouracre on September 03, 2013

54321

That's way to much sugar for a healthy snack for kids or anyone. Love ya anyway. Sons may be able to come up with healthier version.

By Anna Shelton on September 03, 2013

54321

what can I make with pears?

By Gilda McFarlane on September 03, 2013

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Way to much sugar to be a healthy snack. Love ya anyways Paula

By Anonymous on September 03, 2013

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Sounds good but waaay too much sugar...yikes. Can these be made with say a 1/4 of the amt of sugar?

By Anonymous on September 03, 2013

54321

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

By sonya cacho on September 03, 2013

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Paula Deen- Can I substitute for the 2 1/4 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour to a gluten free flour? Just wondering if it would work? I cannot have wheat or white flour. Thank you in advance for your assistance. I am so glad that above all that has happened you have kept a smile on your face! I love your recipes!

By Kellie on September 03, 2013

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I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE NUTRITION FACTS FOR THESE COOKIES PLEASE.C AN ANYONE HELP?

By Anonymous on September 03, 2013

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Ok Paula I love this recipe but as one Diabetic to another what would be the best substitute for all that sugar? Im thinking honey and or molasses to lower the glycemic index but I have no idea as to the amounts? Still cant wait to try this one out!

By Anonymous on September 02, 2012

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Dear Dean family, Can someone please do a cook book for us diabetics. That would be fabulous. I love you guys but I need to eat different. ( can't manage to do it but since I too am a diabetic I need to)Have a beautiful day.

By sharon mckenna on September 02, 2012

54321

I am a new fan of yours and love to watch your show and be inspired by the scrumptious Southern food you cook so beautifully and also love your wonderfully warm personality. Will certainly give these granola bar cookies a go, sound delish..... Keep on cooking Paula!

By Felicia Mavro on September 12, 2011

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By Dedicated servers UK on November 23, 2011

hello,
      My name is Lily Stocker i am a great fan of Paula Deen. I am 10 years old. this year in school writing we need a idea for a topic and and experement for it.My idea is cooking,i am using your children cook books for my resuch.Im just having a hard time deciding what recipes i shall do.Do you have 5 of yours you think is good for me to use?

        from,

      Lily     p.s. will the real Paula Deen be responding or one of her silly co workers?

By Lily Stocker on November 09, 2010

Ms. Paula,
I have the best cookie recipe and easy!!! One Oatmeal Cookie dry pre-mix(I know oatmeal is your favorite). You add dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. However many you like. I usually do a cup of each. Although I measure the chips over the bowl and I always spill a few. Cook as directed on the pouch. You know because it has fruit in it it’s healthy!! haha
Love ya!

By Tracy Grice on August 31, 2010

I HAVE RECIPE FOR YOU TO TRY TAKE CHKEN BREST CUT UP INTO LITTLE BITE SIZE PICES PUT OIL AND BUTTER IN PAN AND BROW IT AND ADD ONIN AND BUTTER BEAN AND POTAOTESCOOK ALL UNTIL TENDER MAKE THICKING AND MAKE SOME DUPPINGS PUT THEM ON TOP COOK UNTIL DONE SERVE WITH VEG MY GRILS LOVE THIS I LOVE YOUR SHOW I WISH I SOULD GET ONE OF YOUR COOBOOK BUT CANT AFORTD IT THANK YOU LAURIE GILL MY PHONE NUMBER IS 814 355 4286 HOP TO HERE FROM YOU SOON

By LAURIEGILL on April 22, 2010

sorry that was me i forgot to give my email it is taylor@alabamamailbox.com please email me personaly and i also forgot to tell you that my mom is british and she loves that i am in love with cooking
thanks again
Taylor

By Taylor Crews on March 26, 2010

Wish to have the mini Apple muffins, or any muffin recipe with apples.
Thank you

By Estela Bailey on December 11, 2009

Great cookies, made them for great-grand children and can’t stop eating hem myself!

By Estela Bailey on December 11, 2009

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm