It is very concerning to me how much chocolate children consume today. It seems that chocolate has become a regular feature in the modern diet with many children consuming it on a daily basis. What’s more, some adults seem to think it’s ok to push it on children which contributes greatly to the problem encouraging the potential development of chocolate addiction later.
I regularly receive emails from parents up in arms over the chocolate being offered to their children at school (without their permission) not just as a reward, but even during testing to help the students stay awake and sharp. What is this all about? This type of thing never happened when I was in school – public or private.
Even worse, the chocolate these children are eating is fake chocolate in most cases. American candy companies have slowly but surely replaced real ingredients over the years with factory synthesized fake flavors and GMO sugar in all but the most top of the line brands. Always read those labels, though, because even expensive, beautifully packaged Godiva chocolate has horrible ingredients. Some European chocolate companies have disappointingly followed suit in the name of improving profits.
If you’ve ever compared the taste of an artificially flavored, GMO sweetened Snickers bar with the real taste of chocolate in an Ocho bar (organic, nonGMO Snickers alternative) you know exactly what I’m talking about.
This trend of eating chocolate at a young age that is openly accepted and encouraged by many parents and teachers alike is a very worrisome trend. When I was young, my parents rarely let me eat any chocolate (or tea or any caffeinated substance) out of concern that the caffeine would prove damaging to my developing kidneys. A few pieces of chocolate candy at Halloween or Easter was about all I was ever allowed. My Dad recommended the same to the patients who sought his medical advice in his Family Practice. Even today, a review of the existing literature on the effect of caffeine on the kidneys is conflicting, so for children whose kidneys are still growing and developing, caution remains the best policy (1).
In light of my upbringing and views about children and chocolate in general, what in the world am I doing posting a recipe for chocolate chip cookie cake?
The reason is my overall food philosophy which includes a very good measure of practicality. Keeping chocolate away from children 100% throughout their entire childhood, while a very good idea that is awesome if you can pull it off, is still a decision that has the very real potential of backfiring bigtime. My approach has always been to provide opportunities for my children to consume small amounts of chocolate that is real, whole and free of GMOs and always in the presence of healthy fats to prevent excessive consumption or development of addiction.
In my view, giving kids a taste of the good stuff is their best shot at steering clear of the bad stuff and having the ability to easily say no when chocolate is all around them and being eaten constantly by their peers. Especially as children grow older, if they’ve only been eating the real thing at home and in strict moderation, they come to eventually realize that the processed chocolate really doesn’t taste very good after all and it’s better just to pass.
In light of my practical approach to introducing chocolate into a child’s life without endangering their health, I’d like to share the recipe for chocolate chip cookie cake below which is my family’s favorite. I make it for parties and get togethers and have observed that everyone seems to enjoy it no matter how they typically eat – good or bad. This recipe can be easily modified to use half chocolate chips and half white chocolate (or carob) chips as necessary depending on the age of your children and how much exposure to chocolate and caffeine you feel is appropriate.
The best part is that this cookie cake is loaded with butter, so much in fact that it is highly satiating (substitute expeller pressed coconut oil if you have a dairy allergy in your home). It is very hard to overeat this cake. Just a small serving satisfies unlike the chocolate chip cookie cake from the supermarket or the mall which is loaded with rancid, fanny expanding vegetable oils and GMO sugar, triggering compulsive overeating in many people because ersatz foods do not satisfy. Even a small amount of these processed chocolate chip cookie cakes make many people feel sick due to the additives, chemicals and GMOs present.
REAL Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
1 cup butter softened (substitute expeller pressed coconut oil if needed)
1 1/2 cups sucanat
2 large eggs
2 cups einkorn flour, preferably freshly ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups nonGMO, soy free chocolate chips (substitute carob chips or white chocolate chips as needed)
Preheat the oven to 350 F/177 C.
Line a large, round pizza pan with unbleached parchment paper.
In a large bowl, blend the softened butter and sucanat. Beat the eggs and add along with the vanilla extract to the wet mixture.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sucanat mixture a bit at a time mixing well. Spread the batter evenly across the bottom of the pizza pan lined with parchment paper. Add the chocolate chips evenly across the top pressing them slightly into the batter so they will still all show once the cookie cake is baked (see picture above to get the idea). Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned and the center of the cookie cake is set but still soft.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then cut and serve. Delicious when served with homemade vanilla ice cream.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
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