Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
School is back in session and now that the kids are set with their usual supplies of pencils and erasers, it is important to consider they also receive the nutritional support they need to succeed both physically and academically in class.
With First Lady Michelle Obama and celebrity chefs bringing awareness to the need to improve children’s nutritional intake, school lunch programs have gained national attention. A team at The Culinary Institute of America called Menu for Healthy Kids (MFHK) has been addressing these issues for the past two years.
Working with administration and foodservice directors in seven different New York school districts, the CIA team has established a program for improving the nutritional value of the diets schoolchildren are consuming. MFHK realized that school lunches are a great place to start to implement changes toward reducing childhood obesity but the responsibility also lies with parents, teachers, foodservice departments, and industry suppliers to reinforce change across the board.
One of the things parents can do is provide nutritional goodies that appeal to kids’ traditional ideas of snack food. The following recipe is a great way to get more vegetables into a child’s diets. Two Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies provide a half serving of grains and over two grams of fiber. The use of whole wheat flour supplies fiber and the antioxidants in dark chocolate have shown to improve cardiovascular health.
So pack a couple of these cookies in your kid’s lunch box. These cake-like treats will be seen as a sweet luxury you made just for them and you will feel good about giving your children some of the nutrition needed to keep them on top of their game.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 36 cookies
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2/3 cup room temperature butter
- 1 cup tightly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup unsalted canned pumpkin
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- l teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup miniature dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly spray with cooking spray. Combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl. Whisk to mix the ingredients together and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes or until very light and smooth. Scrape down the bowl once to blend evenly. You may also mix the butter and brown sugar together by hand until it is very light and smooth.
- On medium speed, or by hand, add the pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla extract and blend until well-combined (the mixture may appear curdled or broken, but this is okay), about 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl down once or twice to blend evenly.
- On low speed, add the dry ingredients until just blended, about 2 minutes. Add the chocolate chips and continue to mix until they are evenly distributed in the batter, about 30 seconds.
- Use 2 serving spoons to drop batter into mounds (about 2 tablespoons each), 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Cookies will spread when they bake.
- Bake until the bottoms are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cookies cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Analysis per cookie: 80 calories, 1g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 4g fat, 85mg sodium, 10mg cholesterol, less than 1g dietary fiber
Chef’s note: You may replace the chocolate chips with raisins or other dried fruits and add chopped toasted nuts if desired.