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The search for new food and Oaty Energy Cookies recipe

Last week's article by Polly Williams in the Guardian's Family section, entitled The Munch Bunch, explained the reason for the £12,000 extra that a boy costs to raise than a girl - appetite. Polly states "a magic porridge pot would be the perfect solution" and she lists two omelettes, Weetabix and toast as her teenage son's breakfast.

This was exactly what I'd been thinking. Well not exactly, as my boy is 7, but man, can he eat? Polly's friend states a boy needs 4 meals a day. That's my boy too. Breakfast - 3 Weetabix. Either a packed lunch (with 6-7 items) plus snack bar, or a cooked lunch and a snack bar, snacks after school, dinner, topped off with Weetabix for supper. And he can eat in between this too. My mother-in-law told me that there will come a time when you can't get enough bread or cereals down them. And there's nothing to him, not one ounce of fat. It all gets burnt off.

I'm always on the look-out for home-made solutions. I tried flapjacks. Many, many times. They always break up. I know you probably have the fool-proof recipe for me, but I've probably already tried it. Brownies - now mine are fab - but they are quite expensive to cook and do you really expect us to keep loads leftover for your packed lunches and snacks? No. Buns go down, well they just go down the hatch. They're not favourites.

So today I looked through my recipe file under Baking (here I just put absolute favourites that I know work) and found Oaty Energy Cookies. I think they came from a BBC Good Food magazine, and they are definitely in the Cooking With Kids section. Great, easy for me, can whip them out in no time.

Well I was right, it was a very easy recipe, with all but one being store cupboard staples. The condensed milk in a squeezy bottle is the only thing you might not have. It honestly took about 5 mins to prep, 10 mins to put together and 20-25 minutes in the oven.

Here goes!

Oaty energy cookies

50g apricots snipped small with scissors
50g soft butter
50g light brown sugar
2tbsp condensed milk (I buy it in squeezy bottles and it keeps for ages in the fridge)
50g rolled oats
85g self-raising flour

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
2. Cream butter and sugar.
3. Add condensed milk, beat well, then add oats and apricots.
4. Add flour and mix until it starts to disappear (you can use your hands too).
5. Bring the dough together and break into 6 equal lumps.
6. Make 6 balls, then squash each one slightly onto a baking tray covered with baking parchment.
7. Cook for 20-25 minutes until golden on the edges. Leave to cool on the tray.

You can make 9 smaller ones, or double up the recipe and make 12. I'm going to add chocolate chips next time instead of apricots. Racy! I'm also going to see how to cut down on the sugar. I have lots of that agave stuff in the cupboard - I'll investigate.

Best thing? My son liked them and he is fussy. I liked them. I gave one to a friend for her birthday tonight... haven't heard if she's still alive! I could knock these out once a week, have enough for packed lunches and one each for a treat. Go me!

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