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JeanMarie Brownson: Back-to-school cookies are suitable for sharing, but you might not want to

JeanMarie Brownson, Tribune Content Agency on

In my book, a well-made cookie beats just about any other treat or protein bar every time. Especially when the cookie is oversized and chock-full of crisp, golden nuts, bits of dried fruit and tiny nuggets of chocolate. Who can resist?

The base of my giant cookies — suitable for sharing at the lunch table or tucking into a backpack for replenishment on hikes or bicycle trips — uses creamy nut butter. The nut butter adds protein and a bit of sweetness. I’m particularly fond of roasted almond butter, but peanut butter also tastes delicious here.

Hearty oats add crunch and fiber. Instead of plain rolled oats, I often use a muesli cereal mix that includes seeds and nuts. Dried fruit also adds fiber along with a pleasing chewy texture. Other add-ins can be customized to suit tastes. Broken salty pretzels and chunks of chocolate keep things interesting. Sweet and salty trail mixes work too.

When baking large cookies, keep the additions in larger pieces. If you choose to make smaller cookies, break the pretzel pieces or chop fruits and nuts a bit more. Make these cookies gluten-free by using gluten-free muesli or oats, a gluten-free 1 to 1 baking mix in place of all-purpose flour and gluten-free pretzel sticks.

Balls of raw cookie dough can be frozen up to several months. Place on baking sheet and bake from frozen; increase the baking time by a few minutes.

Be sure to check for nut allergies before sharing these cookies at the lunch table.


Giant Back-to-School Cookies

Makes 16 large cookies OR 40 smaller cookies

Note: Try Bob’s Red Mill Muesli cereal here, or substitute 1 1/2 cups rolled oats and 1/4 cup each: raisins and sliced or chopped almonds. Granola will make a sweeter cookie. Substitute your favorite sweet and salty trail mix for the dried fruit and chocolate if desired.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened


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