Healthy Habits: Oatmeal Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

“It’s been soooo long….”

If you were to peruse the recipes on this site, you would notice that the cake recipes far outnumber cookie recipes. There are several reasons for that. The first is that cookies require so much more time than cakes. When one is pressed for time to make a dessert, cookies are not the most efficient to make.

The second is that “healthy” cookies are trickier to make. Adding fruits and vegetables to cakes is easy. Using them in cookies usually just means a really soft cookie which won’t keep for more than a couple of days. Swapping whole grain flours adds some protein and fiber but if you want a cookie which isn’t dry and crumbly, you still need a substantial amount of fat because cookies don’t usually require much in the way of liquid ingredients, which precludes using liquid plant oils, which affects the taste and texture of cookies anyway. And while there are many options on the market to substitute for the sugar, the fact is that they do affect the texture and taste of cookies.

The third is that I find that folks have a way of eating a whole lot of cookies in a sitting because their size and lack of filling makes eating many easy to do. This, of course, is not healthy eating, so it is easier to make cakes and control the portions.

This week, however, my son asked if I would make cookies. As he reminded me, I haven’t made any since Christmas which is when I usually spend weeks making many different type of holiday cookies for the season.

I wanted to make a cookie which I would feel good about my son eating, and of course, I also wanted it to taste good, because it’s not worth eating something that doesn’t, in my opinion. And I wanted it to be a cookie where one would fill him and not make him want a second or third or more in one sitting.

After some thinking I decided that I’d make an oatmeal cookie because oats have protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. I also decided I’d make them with chocolate chips so I could use the sugar from the chips as opposed to adding sugar, and I would use dark chocolate chips because dark chocolate chips would have less sugar and more beneficial flavonoids. I also opted to make them vegan so that I could make them in the future for the vegan side of the family. Finally I added some chopped non-crystalized, candied ginger for a special flavor.

The cookies came out great and fit all my parameters. They had healthy oats, less sugar, a great taste, and eating just one was satisfying.

Oatmeal Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup gluten free whole rolled oats, processed into oat flour

1 1/2 cup gluten free whole rolled oats, as is

1 1/2 cup whole grain gluten free flour blend

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life’s 69% dark chocolate chips)

2 to 4 tbsp non-crystalized, candied ginger (use less if you just want a hint; more if you want a more pronounced ginger taste)

1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life’s 69% dark chocolate chips)

3/4 cup vegan, soy free butter

1/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup honey

Baking Instructions:

  1. You will wait to preheat the oven because the dough needs to be refrigerated first.
  2. In a food processor, process the one cup of oats until you have something resembling flour. To the oat “flour” add the whole rolled oats, gluten free flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor, process the one cup of dark chocolate chips with the candied ginger until you have small, fine pieces. Add it to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Stir in the remaining one cup of dark chocolate chips.
  5. In a mixer, cream the vegan butter. Add the applesauce and honey and mix well, scraping down the sides as needed.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until the dough is well blended.
  7. Cover the bowl and put the dough into the fridge for at least one hour and no more than 24.
  8. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover cookies sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Using a quarter cup scoop, place level, quarter cup portions of the dough onto the cookies sheets with space in between to spread. Use a fork to crisscross the dough into a slightly flatter circle.
  10. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cookies are browned, larger, and slightly stiff to the touch.
  11. Put the cookie sheet on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes. Remove the cookies to the wire cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.
  12. They can be stored in an airtight container for several days.

NOTE: These are large cookies because I always keep in mind that summer is a good time to make ice cream cookie sandwiches. *grin*  You can halve the size by using 2 level tablespoons instead and reducing the cooking time.

 

Shortcut Cooking: Oatmeal Date Cookies

“We haven’t made cookies in a while….”

My husband had some errands to run, and my high school daughter was playing with the band at an event. So, this left my son and I to occupy our time together. Since I had a workshop coming up, I suggested that we do some baking.

The problem was deciding what to bake. I’d had a series of workshops recently and done a lot of baking so I was a bit tired of the same ol’, same ol’, which were a stock series of recipes which I usually make for the workshops because they’re quick and easy in addition to representing the various different substitutions I teach about in the workshops.

My son’s suggestion was that we make cookies because we hadn’t made them in a long, long time.

There was a reason for that…. I have found that cookies take longer to make, both in the assembling and in the baking. But my son was correct, that we hadn’t made any in a while, and they would be something different. So, we went to work creating a recipe.

I decided that if we were going to bake cookies, I wanted to make something that would be quick. This meant beginning with what we had in the pantry and not creating everything from scratch. So, we opted to use a gluten free flour blend that I had already made up for another item and had leftovers of in the pantry. We also decided to use pre-chopped, store-bought dates which we found in the pantry as well. Because I’m always trying to be healthy, we chose to make oatmeal cookies with whole rolled oats, also in in the pantry, and to use coconut sugar instead of white sugar so I could use half the amount I’d have to use of white sugar.

Using the mixer sped the assembling process up, and because we decided to make oatmeal cookies, we could simply drop the batter onto the parchment paper and flatten them without any rolling or forming. By using vegan butter, I minimized the spreading so I could put 16 cookies (the 1 tbsp size) instead of 12 to a cookie sheet which meant all the cookies fit onto just four cookie sheets, so I could bake two sheets at a time in the oven, resulting in only 20 minutes of baking time.

The result was that from when we started rummaging in the pantry to when the second batch of two cookie sheets came out, it was less than 45 minutes. Now, those are cookies worth making!

Oatmeal Date Cookies

(These make about 60 small cookies or 30 large cookies.)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup Gluten Free flour blend (I used a homemade blend of garbanzo bean and sorghum flours mixed with tapioca and potato starch)

3 cups Gluten Free whole rolled oats

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

8 oz pkg pitted, dried, chopped dates

1 cup vegan soy free butter or coconut oil or natural shortening

1 cup coconut sugar

2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tbsp water (Mix ahead of time and let it sit)

2 tbsp additional water

Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together in a bowl the flour, oats, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir in the dates. Set aside
  3. In a mixer, cream the butter with the coconut sugar.
  4. Add the flaxseed mixture with the dry ingredients and the additional water. Mix until well combined.
  5. On the prepared cookie sheets, drop the cookie batter by 1 tablespoon-full for smaller cookies (2 inch diameter) or 2 tablespoons-full for larger cookies (4 inch diameter). Leave about an inch in between the cookies.
  6. Press the dough down with a fork in both directions and bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes for the small cookies until the cookies are puffed, golden and stiff to the tough. For the larger cookies, turn the pan around after 8-10 minutes and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool for a couple of minutes on the cookies sheets before moving them to a wire cooling rack with a spatula to cool completely.