It is quite easy to keep a three-year-old from eating sugar, provided you are willing to seal up all your doors and windows, plug up your chimney, and not let him out of the house until he’s old enough to register for Selective Service. If however, you send him to preschool, take him on play dates, or occasionally step out to get the paper, he is pretty much guaranteed to stumble across mounds of refined sugar on a daily basis.
Then there are the “events.” You know what I’m talking about – birthday parties, Halloween, cupcakes for kids’ birthdays in school even though all the same kids are going to the party that weekend, dinners out, and family get-togethers. People always say to me, “Oh, but on special occasions, he should have a little treat.” Hell, yes. But, um, could we be a little more circumspect in how we define “special occasions”? Because it seems like those come up about four times a week.
Thanksgiving dinner, as you can imagine, is a fucking minefield. Nothing says “sugar rush” like a dessert buffet. As we led up to the big day, Benjamin found it important to underscore his sugar issues. We gave him a mango lassi and a smoothie a few days prior to Thanksgiving, whereupon he proceeded to flush his toothbrush down the toilet in a fit of mania.
I couldn’t exactly ask everyone to 86 dessert that night. It wasn’t happening. So, I knew I needed to come up with a sugar-free sweet for him. That would be easier if I were into chemical substitutes like Splenda or the pink packets, but I just don’t trust that shit. I flirted with agave briefly, only to discover that the reason its glucose index is so low is that it is high in fructose. Sort of like high fructose corn syrup. Instead of hitting one’s blood stream, it goes straight to other systems and overloads them, so the argument goes. I am still not convinced agave isn’t a perfectly safe item, given that fructose is the sugar in fruit, but what I read raised enough concerns. If it were as fantastic as everyone seems to think it is, I guess we’d have been using agave a great deal more frequently for decades. We’d probably have Agave Twinkies for the yuppie who can’t let go of his childhood passion. They’d sell for $8.95 a pack.
Anyway, I needed to find another sweetener. Something that takes awhile to digest, that makes the body root around for the sugar, rather than simply shooting it straight into the various organs. You know – like fruit. I love the way apples require the body to work hard for that sugar. I do still sweeten with honey, as that does not give the same rush as refined sugar and has been around long enough that I figure time has safety tested it as a substitute. Nonetheless, I try to keep the honey content as low as possible, because it is still a much more direct form of sugar than fruit.
I came up with these little numbers for Thanksgiving. They are quite good, both hot and when cooled. The peanut butter option makes them, like, way better, but if you are baking them for school or if you have a one-year-old who has declared herself allergic to everything, you should probably leave it out. The only sugar is the chocolate chips, and if you get very, very dark chips, the sugar content is pretty low.
Please note that I have removed the cookie recipe. The problem with posting recipes is that people STEAL them and then they somehow become public property.