Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Healthiest Cookies You'll Ever Eat

Yes, for you health nuts out there, that is.

Now, let me start my saying I may be a health nut in that I need some sort of physical movement to sleep well, and I love (LOVE!) my dark green vegetables. But I've also been known to dip my fries in mayo, love salted butter on pancakes, and an herb-filled compound butter on my rare steak. But as now gluten and dairy-free (plus oat and corn, really, for me), something has GOT to give.

I recently made these cookies for my sister. I first saw the recipe over at Jess Thomson's blog. And when, to my delight, I found her recipe was inspired by one of those from ANOTHER one of my favorite home cooks and bloggers, Heidi Swanson, and her recipe in Supernatural Everyday for Carnival Cookies. There is no butter... instead, coconut butter (Melissa Clark of The New York Times can even speak to my obsession. See here.) In lieu of flour, there are rich and filling grains like oats and my favorite, millet. They aren't too sweet, thanks to pureed banana, and as with any sweets recipe I like, they include chocolate. Because isn't everything better with chocolate?

See for yourself. Warning. They're messy to roll. But right out of the oven, with a glass of vanilla almond milk (I feel like a crunchy person. Wait, I kind of am), they're oh so so good. They probably shouldn't even be called cookies...

Healthy Oat, Chocolate, Millet "Cookies"

4 large, over-ripened bananas, mashed well
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted coconut oil, at room temperature (i.e. liquid and cool, not solid or super hot)
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats (if, like me, oats are a no-no, substitute kamut or brown rice flakes)
3/4 cup raw millet
3/4 cup almond meal/flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup roasted pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1 cup popcorn (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet (or two) with a Silpat or parchment.

In a large bowl, combine bananas, vanilla, and oil. Mix well with a spoon and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients up to the nuts. Mix well with a fork. Add to the wet ingredients and mix well to combine. Stir in the nuts, chips, and optional popcorn. Stir to combine.

Using a tablespoon, roll dough into balls. (Yes, it's messy and they seem like they're going to fall apart. Pack well and minimize handling.) Place on cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden on top. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring. Best still-warm, with almond milk.

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