Healthy Snack Cookies

I love cookies. I know, I know, everyone loves cookies. That’s like saying, “I love air.” However, I really, really, reeeeally love cookies. And I can appreciate all types from meringues to soft batch to thin and crispy to dry and crumbly. They are all good to me.

I’m not one of those people who thinks that cookies need to be healthy. I think that if you are making a special treat, go ahead and load it up with all the naughty things you can get your hands on. However, I don’t make that sort of dessert often (which is why I don’t feel bad about it being sinful), but I do like to have treats often, and so does my family.

That’s why I spent a couple of years way back before my gluten free days developing the perfect healthy “snack cookie”. I call them “snack cookies”, so that when I make them, my kids aren’t expecting the taste of Chips Ahoy. Plus, they’ve got enough nutrition to qualify them as an actual snack, and not just something to satisfy a sweet tooth.

My recipe that I had perfected was way back in my life BG (before gluten free). And to be honest, after perfecting my own recipe, I stumbled across Dreena Burton’s Super-Charge Me! Cookies, and liked them even better, so they became my go-to “snack cookies”. If you are not gluten free, you should absolutely try them. They are vegan, but don’t let that stop you. They’re amazing! They freeze great, so I always tripled the batch.

Fast forward to my life AG (after gluten free). I tried a few different cookie recipes, but never did find the perfect “snack cookie”.

So, I decided to try developing my own recipe. I took all the knowledge I have gained about gluten free baking over the past year, and I looked at some existing gluten free cookie recipes, particularly Alton Brown’s Chewy Gluten Free Cookies, and Karina Allrich’s Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I scribbled out a recipe with all my favorite gf ingredients, and gave it a shot, honestly expecting failure at my first attempt.

Instead, they were delicious.  My son Max and his non-allergy buddy Zach offered to be my taste-testers, and they whole-heartedly agree.

Max's buddy Zach couldn't get enough!

The texture turned out to be soft, moist, and chewy, and the combination of the flavors of the banana and pecan are delightful. They have just enough sweetness to satisfy a sweet tooth, without being sinful. They were best warm, but they were also really good the next day. Next time I make them, I will do 2 or 3 batches, and freeze some for a quick snack to grab on the go.

So moist and chewy!

I know that within the gluten free community, there are many other food allergies to contend with, so I did my best to list alternative ingredients that would work.

Chocolate Chip Banana “Snack Cookies”

1 cup Gluten Free Oats
1/2 cup Sorghum Flour (or Brown Rice Flour or Buckwheat Flour* if you’re a fan-read note below)
1/2 cup Pecan Meal (another nut flour such as almond or hazlenut may be used, but the pecan flavor is exceptional in cookies)
2 Tb Coconut Flour (may use tapioca starch or potato starch, but the coconut adds the most lovely texture)
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Earth Balance (or butter or coconut oil or palm shortening)
1/2 cup Maple Syrup (agave may be used, but I’ve seen it suggested to add 1 TB of honey for improved texture)
2 Eggs (or 4 egg whites)
1/2 cup Mashed Banana
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Add-ins:
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips (or dried fruit)
1/4-1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional. I added pecans to one batch)
Mix dry ingredients, oats through baking soda.

In a separate bowl, beat Earth Balance and maple syrup until well incorporated. Add eggs, banana, and vanilla. Beat 1 minute.

Add dry ingredients to wet and incorporate. Stir in your add-ins.

Drop by scooper onto your baking pan. I use the Pampered Chef Medium Scoop. It makes the perfect size cookies, each about 2 Tb of batter.

Bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes. (I used stoneware, so yours might go a minute or 2 faster on a metal pan, so watch closely the first time.)

Let sit 1 minute on the hot pan, then transfer to cooling rack. Serve warm. Freeze leftovers.

Makes 20-24 cookies.

*About the flour: I made 2 batches, one with buckwheat flour, and one with sorghum flour. Everyone liked both, but most of us agreed that the sorghum ones were better. Zach thought they were equal. I wasn’t crazy about the buckwheat. I think it’s because I grew up with Jewish grandparents, and we ate a lot of Kasha (buckwheat groats). However, we ate them as a savory dish, usually served along side a roast, with gravy on top. (Mmm…) So, as nostalgic as the flavor was, the sweet seemed to clash for me. I know some people eat Kasha as a warm cereal with butter and honey or maple syrup, so if you like that, you may love the buckwheat flour version. I personally would stick to sorghum flour or brown rice flour.

Oliver, my little hipster tot, is nearly impossible to take a good picture of since he's always on the move. Here, he's asking, "Is this Oliver's cookie?"

If you make these, let me know what you think! Remember to tell your kids that they are “snack cookies”, and don’t feel guilty when you eat them as a mid-day pick-me-up.

Enjoy!

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