Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Baby's First Cookies

I have a 10 month old son, and he’s been eating solid foods since he was 6 months old.  He used to love the purees I’d make for him, and some of the puree combos I came up with even inspired me to create recipes my husband and I could enjoy, such as my Pumpkin Banana Muffins. 

About a month ago, my son started enjoying feeding himself more than having us feed him purees.  I got tired of having him knock the baby spoon full of food out of my hand (messy!), so I let him have his way and feed himself (also messy!).  Fresh fruit like bananas, strawberries and mango cut in little pieces are easy for him to pick up and eat.  He also likes cheese, bread, peas, green beans, etc. 

The only problem I had was figuring out how to get my baby to eat the infant baby cereal my son’s pediatrician recommended that he have at least once a day (twice a day before he started eating meat).  She stressed that the infant cereal is an important source of iron for babies, so I knew I shouldn’t just stop giving him this cereal just because he’d moved past purees. 

I searched Pinterest for baby led weaning recipes that incorporated baby cereal, but I just couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for.  Necessity is the mother of invention, right?  So, I made up this baby cookie recipe. 

What makes this recipe perfect for baby led weaning is that it uses baby cereal instead of flour, and there’s no sugar.  The cookies get their sweetness from bananas, my son’s favorite food.  In fact, I think they taste a lot like banana bread. 

My son absolutely loves these cookies.  My husband and I even have a hard time staying out of them! 

When my pediatrician asked if I was giving my son baby cereal, I told her about these cookies.  She loved the idea, stressing again how important the baby cereal is for iron.  She even asked for the recipe!

These cookies are great to bring with you on outings for a quick, healthy snack or meal for your baby.  They can be a little messy since they’re soft.  I’ve found that it helps to break them into pieces for your baby if you want to keep his/her hands from getting too sticky.

I’ve had trouble getting a good picture of my son eating a cookie since he devours them so quickly.  I hope your little ones enjoy these cookies just as much as we do.

Just one final note: before making these cookies for your baby, make sure your son/daughter is not allergic to any of these ingredients.  Also consult your pediatrician about the appropriate age for you to introduce eggs and nut butter.  I had the go-ahead on those ingredients before creating this recipe.

Baby’s First Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen small cookies

2 bananas, mashed
½ tsp baking soda
1 c Gerber multigrain baby cereal (or your little one’s favorite baby cereal)
2 eggs
1 tbsp butter, softened
¼ cup natural peanut butter, almond butter or your favorite nut butter
½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mush the bananas, baking soda, and baby cereal together with a fork.  Add the eggs and incorporate thoroughly.  Add the butter, nut butter and vanilla extract.  The dough should be mushy and thinner than regular cookie dough.

Drop the dough on the cookie sheets in small mounds.  Mine are maybe about a heaping half teaspoon.  I make them small since they’re for a baby, but you can do whatever size you feel is best for your little one.

Bake for about 7 minutes or until set but still soft.  The time will depend on your oven and the size of your cookies.  It’s always best to check them early and add time than risk over baking them.  Maybe try 5 minutes and check it, adding a minute each time until your desired consistency.  Mine are usually a little brown on the bottom and hardly look cooked on top.

Let the cookies cool completely and loosen them from the parchment paper.  Try one.  It should melt in your mouth.  You should be able to mush them up just with your tongue, which is important if you baby doesn’t have (many) teeth yet. 

You can leave the cookies on the counter for a couple days, but if you plan to make them ahead, they maintain their softness in the refrigerator, freeze well and defrost quickly.

Happy eating!

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