My child is four years old and had never eaten a chocolate chip cookie. I wasn't sure if I should feel guilty for depriving him, or pleased with myself for feeding him a healthy diet. My husband has an intolerance to chocolate, which he believed was an allergy until our child began giving us vivid demonstrations of what a food allergy actually looks like. Because of this, I had refrained from offering chocolate to The Kid, especially since I would have to find some which was dairy and nut free. Since his allergy tests came back negative for chocolate, there's no reason he can't have "safe" chocolate, so I picked up a bag of Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips on our last trip to the health food store.
The chips are good quality chocolate, but to me taste more like bittersweet than semi-sweet and are sized more closely to mini-chips than the standard size. If you decide to purchase them, be aware they may not appeal to a child's palette without extra sweetener. Given the smaller, less sweet chip, I decided not to try to replicate the classic Toll House version, and to make a more sophisticated shaped cookie masquerading as a drop cookie instead.
1/2 C dairy free margarine, slightly softened
1/2 C white sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C quick cook oatmeal
1/2 C chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F. Line cookie trays with parchment paper. (These have enough fat in them to easily bake on ungreased cookie sheets, but who wants the mess?) Mix dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Beat margarine in mixer bowl until smooth, then add sugars and extract and then beat until fluffy. Slow down mixer, and gradually add dry ingredients. Once completely mixed, stir in oats and chips by hand until evenly distributed.
The dough will be very stiff. Using two spoons, place 1-2 Tbs size chunks of dough on the cookie sheet about two inches apart from each other. Now stop and take a look at the little mounds. If you like the way they look, put them into the oven, because they will come back out looking exactly the same, just a little browner. If you want them to be prettier or are trying to pass them off as "normal" cookies, give them a little love, smooth the tops with the back of one of the spoons, and use your fingers to make them a little more circular.
Once you are happy with the cookies' appearance, bake them for 8-10 minutes. Allow to rest on the cookie sheet for two minutes, then transfer to a rack until completely cool. I am a fan of cookies still warm from the oven, but these surprised me by tasting better the second day. Makes 2 to 2 1/2 dozen.
Update: I've changed the proportion of sugar and added baking powder, so they are softer and chewier.