Mother’s Children: Making Natural Desserts With Natural Sweeteners

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Jess Nix, the author Danette Nix, and their cat, ready to dig in to gobble up one of Danette's natural desserts: A bowl of oatmeal cinnamon raisin cookies!
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Danette melts the butter for a batch of peanut butter oatmeal cookies "two-way cookies" and checks her handwritten cookbook for the next step.

MOTHER EARTH NEWS feels strongly that youths can be creative “doers” working toward more ecological and self-reliant lifestyles whether their tasks be raising chickens on a farm or maintaining rooftop container gardens in the city. To support the endeavors of our often overlooked “underage” citizens, we’re glad to publish well-written articles from younger children and teenagers concerning projects they’ve undertaken.

My eating habits have really changed since I switched to healthful foods. I like my natural diet, especially because I make a lot of desserts … and those wholesome treats taste great!

Of course, natural desserts are better for you than the kind of sweets most people make or buy, since they contain healthful ingredients like whole wheat flour, sunflower seeds, carob, raisins, and nuts. And my desserts are always made with natural sweeteners like molasses, honey, yinnie rice syrup, or barley malt syrup instead of white sugar. I don’t use sugar because I know it’s bad for my body. (Did you realize that a 12-ounce cola drink can have 9 teaspoons of sugar in it? Anyone who drinks a lot of sodas is likely to have rotted teeth. By eating good food, though, I can help keep our family’s dentist and other health bills low!)

Anyway, one day my mother was doing the wash and my sister was asleep, so I was all alone. I sat down and wrote up a little cookbook, called “Nature’s Goodies,” that contained the dessert recipes I’d made up. I’d like to share them with you here:

Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Cookies
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Carob Brownies
Carob Powder Brownies

And maybe I can help you use my recipes if I share some of the lessons I learned when I first started cooking. I remember times when I’d pour the batter for one of the desserts into a pan, put it into the oven, and start waiting for it to cook … and my mother would come in and say, “Did you oil the pan and turn on the oven?” I’d cry, “Oh no, I forgot!” and then I’d have to dump the mix back into a bowl, wash the pan, oil it, pour the batter back into the cake pan, turn on the oven… and (finally!) start cooking the dessert!

Also, you should always check the oven before you turn it on to make sure something else isn’t already in it. One time I burned my shoes! (They’d been put in the oven to dry out.) Remember, too, to use a potholder, and to be careful when you’re working around stoves and ovens. And don’t forget to clean up the mess you make when you’re cooking. Otherwise you might not be allowed to bake anymore!

I hope you enjoy my recipes as much as I do, and that you get a lot of use out of them. My family, and just about everybody we know, says these sweets taste much better than store-bought desserts. I bet you’ll think so, too. They do taste a little different from those more common treats … but they sure are yummy!