I am on the continuous hunt for quick, healthy foods. That is not to say that we never eat quick, unhealthy foods, but it is good to make an effort to be healthy, even when you are short on time. The munchkin started going to day care last week, since I began my internship. They provide the snacks, but I have to pack a lunch for him when he goes. As I sat down to think about what I would send with him, I realized that all my ideas involved fruit and dairy. Watermelon, strawberries, yogurt, and grapes were at the top of the list of pack-able foods that he will surely eat. Grains are a hit and miss with that boy, and protein is the most difficult of all. I knew I could always send goldfish and apple sauce, but let’s be honest, it is not a substantial lunch to be eating 3 times a week. PB&J is also a good option, but I couldn’t guarantee that he would eat it.
Then I had the idea of making oatmeal raisin cookies. Every kid likes cookies, right? And I could just reduce the amount of sugar, and sub the butter for apple sauce. It has fiber, whole grains and fruit! As an added bonus, I found a recipe that included peanut butter and flax- protein and omega 3’s! I didn’t have any flax seeds though, so I decided to use almonds instead, so this recipe has a double whammy of protein! Which is especially important for my little boy, who seems to be a natural vegetarian.
Let’s talk about the smell and flavor of these cookies. When you mix up the wet ingredients – the peanut butter, honey, coconut oil and apple sauce – you want to drink it up, despite the fact that it has eggs in it! It smells so wonderful! Then you mix it up with the dry ingredients, and the craisins – I used strawberry infused craisins – and you go to aroma heaven. Once you start baking the cookies, the sweetness, fruitiness and nuttiness wafts through your house like a beautiful dream.
These cookies are by no means the decadent, super sweet, cavity making variety. While they definitely have a sweet taste, you shouldn’t be expecting to overindulge in sugary bliss. They are simply a delicious breakfast cookie, full of natural goodness. This is something you could nibble on while you drink a Jamba Juice, or better yet, your own homemade smoothie. They are satisfying, and filling. And best of all, you don’t have to feel guilty for eating one or two, or five. And I am totally fine putting these in my son’s lunch box as the grain and protein representative.
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup toasted coconut, ground*
1/2 cup almond meal*
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup craisins (I used strawberry infused craisins)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or 4 oz individual serving)
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp molasses
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, and set aside.
Combine the wet ingredients in a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until evenly coated. Spray two cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray. Drop large spoonfuls of cookie batter on the cookie sheets, and flatten the cookies to be about 1/2 an inch thick. The cookies don’t spread out or rise much.
Bake the cookies for 9 minutes, and then remove from the oven. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the trays before placing them on a cooling rack. Store the cookies in an airtight container, in the fridge.
*If you need to make your own almond meal, and toasted coconut, follow these instructions:
Almond Meal: Put whole or chopped almonds in the blender, and pulse until ground. You may need to stir the almonds frequently, to keep them from clumping in the bottom of the blender.
Toasted Coconut: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the coconut on a cookie tray, and spread out evenly. Put the coconut in the oven for 2 minutes, then remove and stir. Bake the coconut for another 2 minutes, and stir. If the coconut is golden brown, let it cool. If it is still too light, bake for up to 2 more minutes, but watch carefully, because the coconut will burn quickly. Once cool, put the coconut in a blender and pulse until ground.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.