February tends to be synonymous with sweets. From heart-shaped candies with sweet messages to oversized boxes bursting with chocolates, the empty calories can add up over the short, wintery month. Yet there are plenty of spots throughout Northeast Ohio that offer healthy goodies that still will appeal to the most discerning of kids – even those with a serious sweet tooth. Lighten up by visiting some of these area eateries with your kids and enjoying these treats together.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Of course you could visit one of Insomnia’s stores, but they’re happy to bring warm cookies right to your door. With package deals such as The Sugar Rush and jumbo cookies in flavors like chocolate peanut butter cup and triple chocolate, these fresh-baked goodies will no doubt appeal to your kids. Skip double chocolate chunk, and order oatmeal raisin cookies instead for a little added fiber. Keep in mind that Insomnia delivers until the wee hours of the morning, so if your kids want cookies for their sleepover — at 1 a.m. — Insomnia will bring them by. Locations in: Akron, 367 S. Main St.; Kent, 295 S. Water St.; and Cleveland (opening in spring)
apple galettes / muffins
Provenance Café at The Cleveland Museum of Art
Make a trip to The Cleveland Museum of Art all the more memorable for your kids by checking out its eatery, the Provenance Café (there’s a restaurant, too). The café was part of the museum’s recent renovation project, which added gallery space and an expansive, enclosed glass atrium that happens to be right next to the eatery. The Provenance Café offers a daily selection of pastries and baked goods. Let your kids take their pick among the muffin flavors or encourage them to choose the apple gallete — a small free-form tart stuffed with apples. 1150 East Blvd., Cleveland
Luna Bakery Cafe
Watch the bakers turning out sweet and savory scones, buttery croissants and other pastries from the large window just before the door to go into this Cleveland Heights gem. Everything is baked from scratch, including the delicate madeleine cookies, Italian meringues and baby tartlets in combinations like caramel pecan and dark chocolate ganache.
Bridget Thibeault, owner of Luna Bakery Cafe and a pastry chef says “I rarely eat or buy any processed foods for my family and I think it makes a huge difference. So if you know what is in your food and where it comes from you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging once in a while (or even a little bit everyday.)”
For something tasty and nutritious, pick up a granola cookie or two. 2482 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights
Mitchell’s Ice Cream • mitchellshomemade.com
My kids like ice cream no matter what time of year it is — it could be -5 degrees outside and they’ll still ask to stop in our neighborhood Mitchell’s. Your visit doesn’t have to bust your calorie count — Mitchell’s offers seasonal selections of frozen yogurt and sorbets along with standard flavors. Our favorite is the mango sorbet made with Indian Alphonso mangoes, which packs a sweet-tart combination that’s fat-free and dairy-free. When we’re looking for a hint of chocolate, the peanut butter chocolate pretzel yogurt, with just a quarter the fat of regular ice cream, overflows with chocolate-covered pretzels in peanut butter yogurt. Locations in Rocky River, Strongsville, Westlake, Avon, Uptown, Cleveland, Beachwood and Solon
Hippie Chips Cookie
Great Lakes Baking Company
The shelves lining Great Lakes Baking Company are stocked with artisan breads like ciabatta, cinnamon swirl, baguettes and multigrain. On the sweet side, check out the muffins, scones, brownies and shortbreads. One of the healthiest goodies, which also is one of the most requested, is the almost 5-inch Hippie Chip cookie made with whole wheat flour, flax seed, sunflower seeds, oats, puffed rice, peanut butter and semi-sweet chips. My 12-year-old commented while we shared our cookie that the rice puffs seemed to pop in her mouth — she liked the mellow, nutty flavor, too. 85 S. Main St., Hudson
Whip it Up!
Main Street Cupcakes in Hudson offers a variety of sweet treats, such as its Berry Berry Strawberry Cupcake. Two sisters, Kimberly Martin and Sarah Forrer, began crafting cupcakes for hungry visitors in 2007. Try out their recipe for Skinny Strawberry Cupcakes. Visit mainstreetcupcakes.com for info about other goodies.
1 cups flour
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup unsalted butter,
2 tsp vanilla
¼ cup milk
¾ cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 cup unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
6 T strawberry puree
1 T water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar,
baking soda and baking powder
in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add butter, eggs, vanilla and
milk and beat on medium speed
4. Fold in the strawberries.
5. Use a mini cupcake/muffin pan
lined with mini cupcake liners.
Scoop batter and fill liners until
each is just over half full.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
7. Allow to cool.
8. While cupcakes cool,
make buttercream icing.
Beat butter until smooth.
9. Slowly add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined.
10. Mix in the strawberry puree.
11. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add water until icing reaches desired consistency.
12. Once cupcakes are cool, pipe a thin swirl of buttercream on top of each.