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Wanted: A candidate that can fill all the following positions; breakfast cookie, after-school snack, meal-on-the-run, road-trip nibble, camping goodie, coffee-break nosh, and healthy indulgence. Must be high fiber and use healthful fats, yet taste great. The successful applicant should be quick and easy to make. The candidate must also be adaptable to different diets and food restrictions. Pay will depend on how quickly said candidate is devoured.
“Pick me! Pick me!” says this amazing, super healthy, all-purpose cookie. It’s the cookie that has it all. (And yes, it did get the job.)
This cookie has quite a pedigree. The recipe comes from somewhere on the Canadian prairies, brought to us from my friend Judith‘s Aunt Muriel (who got them from some unknown person called Pat in Saskatchewan – that’s what is written on the stained old recipe card). Aunt Muriel was a single woman who recently passed away at age 90 (the stereotypical old maid aunt, but also a career woman with a dash of elegance). She was famous for these cookies, which she made for at least the last 60 years. The recipe was adapted and added to by Judith, then further tinkered with by moi, to become the super healthy powerhouse it is today.
Don’t you just love a recipe that’s so easy? It’s basically one cup of every ingredient. I can handle that . . . and maybe even remember it without looking.
It’s hard to screw up this cookie recipe. And you know what else? It’s so delicious that every batch I’ve made has been devoured pretty quickly. I sent a batch to my daughter when she moved (it worked great as a bribe to get a bunch of students to help carry heavy furniture up six flights of stairs), and she lived off the cookies the first three days in her new place, until she could buy groceries. I took a large Tupperware container along to the annual Johnson family camp out, and they were gobbled up around the campfire in two evenings, with numerous requests for the recipe. I can hardly keep the cookie jar filled here at home, since they disappear at an alarming rate.
I’ve been making a lot of versions of this recipe lately, to see what ingredients I could play with. I’ve used butter, coconut oil and dairy-free vegan margarine. I’ve used different kinds and grinds of flaxseeds, different nut butters, oatmeal and quinoa flakes, different nuts, and different blends of gluten-free flours. I’ve tinkered with the size and baking time. And they always turn out.
Aunt Muriel’s original recipe was made with white flour and sugar, and didn’t have half the seedy and healthy additions of the present rendition (just oatmeal, coconut, nuts, raisins and chocolate chips). Judy uses whole wheat flour and added the ground flax and hemp hearts. I replaced the white sugar with coconut sugar and added the sesame seeds and cinnamon, plus replaced the flour with a gluten-free, and grain free flour version. I’ve also made batches with only half the brown sugar, for a slightly less sweet breakfast cookie version, and it’s been very tasty, too. In fact, I prefer them that way.
The chia seeds can sometimes keep you busy for a few minutes sucking them out of the crevices of your teeth after the cookie is done, but I figure that’s just a few minutes of free entertainment, and worth the addition of these super healthy and fiber-rich seeds.
- The above job position has been filled. No further applicants need apply.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: I find that with the gluten-free flour mix, the cookie dough mounds don’t need to be flattened before baking and they spread out nicely. The grain-free flour version, though, does need to be flattened slightly. Depending on what modifications you make, the texture of your dough will be slightly different. Bake the first pan as a test and decide from there if you need to flatten the cookies slightly before baking.
I like to make these cookies large enough to be a substantial snack, that can do double duty as a stand-in for breakfast on the run. If you choose to make your cookies smaller, bake for 8 to 9 minutes. When making them as breakfast cookies, I often only use ½ cup brown sugar, or omit the brown sugar altogether. Freeze the cookies in individual baggies and they are a quick-to-grab, healthy, convenience food.
One Cup Cookies
adapted from Judith‘s Aunt Muriel, originally from the unknown Pat
can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and grain-free, see below
- 1 cup butter, coconut oil, or dairy-free margarine (225grams), room temperature (add ½ teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter or coconut oil)
- 1 cup peanut butter (240grams)
- 1 cup brown sugar (220grams), loosely packed (I like to use ½ cup)
- 1 cup coconut sugar (150grams)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1 cup flour (140grams), gluten-free flour mix, or grain-free mix* (see below)
- 1 cup ground flax seeds (100grams)
- 1 cup oatmeal (100grams) or quinoa flakes (80grams)
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (80grams)
- 1 cup hemp hearts (140grams)
- 1 cup sesame seeds (170grams)
- 1 cup chia seeds (165grams)
- 1 cup nuts, coarsely chopped – I like pecans or walnuts (110grams)
- 1 cup raisins (150grams)
- 1 cup chocolate chips (175grams)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper or greasing them.
Cream the butter or coconut oil with the sugars and peanut butter. Add the eggs and beat well.
Add the baking soda, cinnamon and flour of choice. Beat slowly to incorporate.
Add in all the rest of the one-cup additions, beating well after each one.
Let the dough rest for 15 minutes so the ground flax and chia seeds can absorb moisture.
Use a regular ¼cup ice cream scoop to make the cookies, packing the dough in well with your fingers. (Or use a ¼cup measuring cup and pack the dough tightly, then use a butter knife to pop the dough out of the cup and onto the pan.) Place the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Lightly press a piece of nut into the center of each cookie if you like.
If using regular flour or a gluten-free mix, leave them the rounded shape of the ice cream scoop and they will melt and flatten to just the right thickness when baked. If using the grain-free mix or egg-free version, it’s best to press them down slightly with your fingers so that each mound is about 1 inch tall, as they will not flatten as much when baked.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies should be brown around the edges, but still be soft to touch in the centers. They will firm up as they cool. Leave them in the pans for 5 minutes to cool, then with a spatula, remove the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Store the cookies in a large sealed container in single layers with wax or parchment paper between the layers. May be frozen. (If using coconut oil, and it is hot in the house, store the cookies in the refrigerator, since coconut oil has a melting point of about 25°C.)
Makes 34 large cookies.
Feel free to play: Instead of either the chia seeds or hemp hearts, use poppy seeds, black sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. Use dried cranberries instead of raisins. Use cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips, almond butter instead of peanut butter. Add a bit more of your favourite ingredient or omit one you don’t like. Use half the brown sugar. Let your imagination bloom . . . .
Allergy friendly versions:
Gluten Free: Use gluten-free flour mix of your choice, and use gluten-free oats or quinoa flakes.
Dairy Free: Use coconut oil or a dairy-free margarine. Make sure the chocolate chips are dairy-free.
Grain Free: Instead of the 1 cup flour, use: ½ cup (50grams) almond flour, ½ cup (65grams) arrowroot starch, and ¼ cup potato flour (50grams) (not potato starch). Also use quinoa* flakes instead of oatmeal, or substitute with another cup of ground nuts. Bake the grain free cookies about 1 minute longer than the regular or gluten free ones, 11 to 12 minutes.
*Quinoa is technically not a grain, but the seed of a plant in the goosefoot family (closely related to beets and spinach), so it depends if you choose to include it in a grain-free diet. Paleo diets do not usually include quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat seeds.
Egg Free: Omit eggs and add 9 tablespoons (½ cup plus 1 tablespoon/135ml) water when you add the flour. Leave the dough to sit for 30 minutes before you scoop out the cookies. Once scooped, leave the cookies to rest for 10 minutes on the cookie sheets before baking them.
This allows the ground flax to absorb the water and bind the dough. The resting time on the cookie sheets helps the cookies to keep their shape better. (This technique is the same as using flax eggs, which are made by mixing 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons water and letting it gel for 15 minutes.)
***I have made these cookies with all four allergy adaptations combined in one recipe and they still turned out marvelously.
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