Monday, April 6, 2009

A Little Bite of Everything Cookies

Adapted from a recipe by Heidi at 101 cookbooks
I liked the idea of a healthier cookie, because I love cookies, and I am a fan of alternative bases for batter (bananas are genius). These cookies are addictive and you can make them even healthier by using your own intuition and substitutions (I couldn't help myself with the little bit of butter and sugar), but see my note about Chris's desire to use apples and apple sauce.

Ingredient Notes:
Use Bananas that are a little past their prime, on the soft side and thoroughly brown on the outside. If you have bananas that fit this description but you don't have the time or patience to bake with them this very second don't hesitate to throw them in the freezer. However, when you pull them out of the freezer and they thaw be prepared; they will be super mushy, perfect for baking but a little weird and slimy in general just to give you a little heads up (Chris found the banana mush a little unappetizing at this point but happily ate the cookie dough raw and cooked by the mouthful). Because you let the bananas hit the very ripe stage they have begun to break down into a simple sugar, this gives the cookies a lot of sweet without the addition of a refined sugar source, if your bananas are less ripe they won't be as sweet. I mentioned above additional sweetener is optional. It just depends on your preference and your bananas, I wanted a little maple flavor so in went the syrup; you could even use a tiny drizzle of molasses.

4 large very ripe bananas
1 ½ c. rolled oats
1 c. plain raw almond
1 c. plain raw walnuts * you could mix any kind of nuts this just struck my fancy at the moment
¾ c. shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ c. flax seeds
3 tbl butter softened *you could use coconut oil softened
2 tbl maple syrup * Optional see note above
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
8-10 oz dark chocolate chips or a bar chopped into small bits

1. Process the nut mix in a food processor until finely ground. If you are using walnuts you will not get "flour" or almond meal texture because the walnuts have so much oil it is more like a soft fluffy grainy texture. I confess I love it and scoop it out by hand and eat it just plain, it is the most heavenly texture.
2. Mix your dry ingredients (nuts, oats, coconut, flax, salt and baking powder) together in your favorite mixing bowl just to evenly distribute everything.
3. Mix in the bananas, vanilla, butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
4. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Taste it! The beauty of this recipe like so many of my recent posts is there are no raw eggs! This means you can taste and lick until your heart is content with no worries. Adjust the seasoning to fit your flavor craving.
6. Place small spoonfuls on baking paper lined cookie sheets and bake at 350° for about 10-15 min or until golden brown and toasted.

Baking Notes:
Makes about 3 dozen normal sized cookies and heaps of itsy bitsy bite sized ones.
I know at the taste it stage both Chris and I were blown away but he did have a great suggestion; he wanted to try a version without the coconut and instead us some apples. *This could be easily done just substitute shredded apples for the coconut and use applesauce instead of butter (or a little butter and a little apple sauce). Like the name says they are a little bite of everything so whatever you feel like or have on had is totally encouraged. I liked these best when I made very small cookies and I smushed them a little with my hand, they turned a toasted golden brown with a little crunch (I put them on the top rack of my oven) but were still a little chewy in the center. You can also make them like little haystacks because they have very little fat and no flour they do not spread out when they cook so the haystacks will keep their puffy shape but the centers will be soft (not an issue because there are no eggs). You can also make them just like a traditional cookie just be sure to flatten them out a little so they dry out and toast a little better.

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