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December 3, 2012 / Mettā Reiki Center

The Cookie Experiment

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Parents of preemies can be a little bit OCD. (NO!!! Really?)  Seriously, though.  You tend to worry a little more about things than normal.  A big worry I’ve had with Ali has been her nutrition.


Ali has never been a huge eater.  Even in the NICU, getting her to keep food down through her feeding tube without residuals was a challenge.  When she finally started taking food by mouth, it was a struggle.  She tired easily, spit up constantly, and had a ton of reflux.


Now that she’s a toddler, she still doesn’t have a huge appetite.  But the biggest challenges now are 1.) she is fiercely independent, and 2.) eating is not much of a priority for her…she is easily distracted by things that look more fun.  The kicker is that she loves things that probably aren’t all that great for her.  The first time she got a taste of chocolate, her sweet little face lit up like a Christmas tree.


She gets the ‘kicker’ from her mother.


As of late, Ali has decided she’d rather feed herself than eat from a spoon.  Again, just tiny bites because she gags so easily, and again, she grows bored with the whole mealtime thing in no time flat.  I didn’t want her sole source of nutrition to be arrowroot cookies (touted on the bag to have great nutrition, but pretty much empty calories).  I started searching to see if there was any way I could make a finger food that had super-good nutrition, tasted halfway decent so it would appeal to her sweet tooth, had enough good (not empty) calories so she could get a decent meal in before she became uninterested. 


After doing some research, I found a recipe that I modified a little to allow for Ali’s nutritional needs.  Here are the ingredients:


¼ cup molasses (I used blackstrap molasses…explanation below)
¼ cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup flour (I used white whole wheat flour to add a little more whole grains)
2 cups infant cereal (I used the plain old rice cereal from Happy Tots)
3 tablespoons whole milk (I substituted with 3 tablespoons of the vanilla PediaSmart, explanation below)

The main super-ingredients were the molasses, white whole wheat flour, and the vanilla PediaSmart.



Blackstrap molasses has a ton of health benefits.  It is loaded with goodies like iron and magnesium.  Plus, most of the simple sugars are cooked out of it and what is left in blackstrap is a good sugar that burns slowly in the body.  Ali had been struggling with sleep lately and I was wondering if it had anything to do with too much sugar…so I erred on the side of blackstrap molasses, especially since there is a good bit of carbohydrates in the PediaSmart.


White whole wheat flour:  Simply put, if I can get some whole grains into her instead of bleached-out flour with the nutrients stripped from it, I’m going to do it.


PediaSmart:  I found this at .  It’s a transitional toddler drink that is loaded – and I mean LOADED – with calories.  We started giving her this drink once a day to help boost her weight and she sucks it down like it is candy.  (And when you look at the calories you’ll understand why!)



nutrition info


It’s high in carbs, but it’s also high in protein and has a lot more nutrition than regular milk. 


So I got started.


getting started



First step, you preheat your oven to 375F and use some nonstick spray on your cookie sheet.  Then you lightly cream your molasses and butter.  Mix in the egg and vanilla.  Set aside for a moment.


In a separate bowl, combine your baking soda, flour and cereal.  Add it to your butter mixture, blend well, and add your milk last.  I also added about ½ of a mashed up banana.  I don’t know why, it was just a last minute inspiration.


Then you drop balls of your batter on the cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.





Footnote:  I figured out pretty quick that if you use blackstrap molasses, your batter looks more like something you’ve dug out of a diaper than a raw cookie. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes…(about halfway through, I used a pancake turner to flatten out the cookies a little.  The baking soda made them rise very nicely but I wanted to make sure they looked like actual cookies when I finished!)

finished product




Admittedly, the kitchen smelled wonderful.  The cookies tasted a little bland to Lion King and me, but considering they were baby cookies, it made sense.  We cooled them off, bagged them up, and the next morning came the big test.



It took a moment before she realized…hey…this tastes a little better than it looks…



Success!!!  The little turkey ate TWO of them!


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