Better than breakfast biscuits

I do love a bit of alliteration… But fear not, my friends – I know I have written you some very long posts lately, and if you have been keeping up to date with everything over the last few weeks, you have probably read through the equivalent of my undergrad dissertation. Sorry.

So because it is Tuesday, because the weather is miserable in many areas of the world right now, because you have all been so good in following my ramblings to date, and because everyone needs a staple “healthy-ish” cookie recipe, I thought it was time to share this one with you.

Let me just say: “Banana-Nut Oatmeal Cookies“.

Or, rather:

Banana-Nut Oatmeal CookiesOk they may not look like much, and for once it’s not just my poor/lazy photography skills. They are not actually very pretty things. Nobbly and lumpy and a decidedly healthy brown colour, I have definitely picked up more than a hint of scepticism in the faces of my friends and colleagues when I have shoved them under their noses  – and an even clearer tone of surprise when they, usually still chewing, inform me that they really are very good.

Then comes the, “Wait, they’re vegan? And have no sugar in them?!”

This was one of the first vegan recipes I ever made – roughly 8 years later, I am still making them. In the countless times I have made them, I have alternately used maple syrup, brown rice syrup, various sorts of fruit syrups, agave syrup, or a combination of several of those. I have used walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and various nut mixes. I have made a batch without cinnamon for a colleague who didn’t like cinnamon, I have added twice the amount of baking powder, I have forgotten to add baking powder, I have overcooked and undercooked them… And they have always been a success.

This is the ultimate foolproof baking recipe. Any simpler and we’d be talking a fruit salad.

As for the health and fitness side of these? Sure, they contain wheat flour and sweetener and oil, but they also contain oats (fibre, B-vitamins, beta-glucan, protein, low-GI carbohydrates) and nuts (unsaturated fats, various vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E and zinc, protein, antioxidants) and bananas (fibre, potassium, low-GI carbohydrates). Sometimes, health is about what you put in just as much as what you leave out.

Banana-nut oatmeal cookies by day: healthy afternoon snack with coffee and fruit

Banana-nut oatmeal cookies by day: healthy afternoon snack with coffee and fruit

Ingredients [originally posted on VegWeb ca. 2006]

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup light-tasting oil

1/2 cup liquid sweetener (1/2 cup brown rice syrup and 1/2 cup maple syrup works particularly well)

1 cup oats

1/2 cup wholemeal flour

pinch of fine salt

1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon, or more to taste

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts work particularly well)

1 banana, quartered lengthways and chopped into small pieces

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F or 175°C.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients together. Then add the oats and stir to combine.
  3. In another mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add this mixture to the syrupy oat mixture bit by bit, stirring to combine.
  4. Fold in the nuts and banana pieces.
  5. Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds onto a baking sheet, about 3-4cm (about 1.5 inches) apart from each other, and bake for 12-15mins or until edges have browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Remove from baking sheet and leave to cool on a wire rack. The cookies will still be fairly soft but will firm up as they cool.

Yield

12-18 cookies depending on how big you make them. I usually make about 16 cookies out of this recipe, which leaves each cookie at about 140kcal. You could make 32 tiny little bite-sized cookies for only 70kcal each!

Banana-nut oatmeal cookies by night: moist cake-like nuggets perfect with hot chocolate

Banana-nut oatmeal cookies by night: moist cake-like nuggets perfect with hot chocolate

I must add that these are not really cookies, nor are they biscuits; they are not crunchy or crispy enough. Nor are they little cakes; they are too chewy. So if somebody has a suggestion for an appropriate category of baked good to place these in, please give me a shout.

Whatever you call them, they are delicious, easy (and fairly cheap!) to make, not too sweet, healthy enough that they make people feel good but not so healthy that they are boring, these are a real crowd pleaser to enjoy at any time of day.

Please do go wild with this recipe, and let me know of any successful variations you come up with!

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