Three year olds pretty much have their own minds already. My 3 year old, Boo, has had her own mind since she first opened her eyes at birth, especially when it comes to food that she likes to eat. Lately however, she’s been eating foods that have caused her “plumbing” to go awry, and so now, she needs a little “push.”
Enter what I call the “fiber force:” oats, prunes, and raisins. There are heaps of other things that one can eat for more fiber, but these are the ones that work for me. Since Boo only eats occasionally from the fiber force, I had to get a little creative. Shoving them in front of her face only elicits a vigorous and repeated shaking of her little head, and persistent persuasion doesn’t work for her. She wants what she wants when she wants it.
So I made Boo an Old-Fashioned Prune Cake. Prunes, you say? Eeew. Prunes have gotten such a bad nose-wrinkling rap that manufacturers now label them as dried plums. Doesn’t matter ”“ prunes are prunes. I remember my mom feeding these to me when I was a kid in need of a good push. They always worked like a charm.
One prune is already more than Boo can finish, so a cake would be a good way to sneak them into her diet. (We mommies are a sneaky lot!) Prunes, like carrots and apples, are a great way to add moistness to baked goods. Since there’s nothing worse than biting into a hardened piece of dried fruit, I plumped up the prunes by boiling them in hot water for three minutes, strained them, and then mashed them with a fork.
The prune cake itself is redolent of nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice ”“ just enough for fragrance and flavor, but not enough to make you feel like you’re eating potpourri. I baked them into cupcakes instead of a large cake, since kids take to things they can hold in their little hands. The cupcakes bake in 20 minutes, and I made a simple buttercream frosting that I mixed some additional mashed up prunes in.
Result? This cake is fluffy-soft, and dissolves with hardly any mouth resistance. It’s delicious.
The other thing I made for Boo were Chewy, not Crunchy Oatmeal Cookies. Like me, she likes cookies that have chew, instead of bite. The recipe that I used has honey, which is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts moisture and keeps baked goods moister longer.
This is a cinch to prepare, as all good cookies should be. Plus it has the added benefits of oats and raisins. The cookie batter is quite liquid, and will spread dramatically in the oven. If you make these, you should space the cookies out about 2 inches apart, otherwise they’ll bake into one another. If you live in a hot climate like I do, I highly suggest chilling the dough in between batches. If your dough is soft as it goes into the oven, the cookies will bake up flimsy and too soft. For even baking, bake just one batch at a time. The cookies won’t bake evenly if you crowd your oven.