Monday, November 8, 2010

Yummy (Healthy) Cookies

Ok, so I know what you're thinking—can cookies really be both “yummy” and “healthy”?  Yes!!  I’ve finally found the intersection of yum and health, a veritable venn diagram of baking if you will.

A few weeks ago we had a girls night and I wanted to make something that everyone could eat so I was searching for a gluten free recipe.  Oftentimes gluten free baking requires all sorts of special flours and somewhat hard to find (and typically expensive) ingredients.  Because gluten is a binding agent, when you go gluten free, you have to use all sorts of other things to get the baked good to stay intact. Sometimes homemade cookies and cakes that are gfree can fall apart and don’t have the familiar consistency one thinks of when dreaming about a baked good. 

But I am here to tell you that I’ve found a recipe that bucks this trend!  Of course these tasty treats come from, my go to source for all things healthy and tasty.  I added a few of my own touches to Heidi’s recipe.  If you’d like to spice things up as I did, go ahead and add some mashed up apples (I had some overripe little guys on hand and they were begging to be used).  Also, I added in some nutmeg.  The recipe calls for coconut oil with a possible substitution of olive oil but I used the olive oil and it came out splendidly, so don’t worry about going out to get the coconut if you don’t have that. Also, I made my own almond meal by throwing some almonds in a chopper, it’s super easy.  As Heidi notes, the consistency of the raw cookies will be quite different than you are used to, but no worries, this is to be expected.  Just keep an eye on them and go for the smell test (if they smell done, they probably are!).  Here is Heidi's recipe and my photos follow:

(Heidi's) Nikki's Healthy Cookies
You can use unsweetened carob, or grain sweetened chocolate chips, or do what I did and chop up 2/3 of a bar of Scharffen berger 70%. I sort-of shaved half the bar with a knife and then cut the rest into bigger chip-sized chunks. You can make your own almond meal by pulsing almonds in a food processor until it is the texture of sand - don't go too far or you'll end up with almond butter. And lastly, the coconut oil works beautifully here, just be sure to warm it a bit - enough that it is no longer solid, which makes it easier to incorporate into the bananas. If you have gluten allergies, seek out GF oats.

    3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid (or alternately, olive oil)
    2 cups rolled oats
    2/3 cup almond meal
    1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    6 - 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect - just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.

I hope you enjoy these yummy and tasty treats--as the holidays approach it's nice to find sweets that don't pack too much of a fatty punch.  Mmmmm healthy and tasty, who knew?!

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