Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cookies for Breakfast-(Gluten,egg,dairy and nut free)

As allergy moms, we have to learn how to re-feed our families from scratch.  Ten years ago, this was not a simple task as we did not have the explosive array of allergy free items we have today.  However, just because we have more extensive choices, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.  In fact, I have noticed that the preponderance of allergy items is snack food, cake mixes, cookies, etc… Moreover, I found it curious that many food allergy parents such as myself, were actually gaining weight, probably because we were always baking for our kiddos so they wouldn’t feel left out at school, family events, birthday parties and playdates.  While I felt good about being able to provide these tasty alternatives, my fitness and nutrition goals were less than stellar and in need of an overhaul.

As a trainer and nutrition consultant with a lot of experience in limited diets, I am constantly trying to create healthy alternatives that won’t break the caloric bank, provide nutrition, and are kid and adult approved.  These breakfast cookies do just that. They are chock full of whole grain, fruit, oats, seeds, healthy fat, and my beloved dark chocolate.  They are great with a yogurt for brekkie, or a midday snack, not to mention a great post workout carbohydrate. As with any food, no matter how healthy, moderation is always key!!

Lightly Sweetened Brekkie Cookies-Makes approximately 24

1/3 cup coconut oil* (you can use canola if you don’t have coconut, but honestly the coconut oil kicks the taste up a notch).

¼ cup sugar of your choice (reserve ½ tsp. for sprinkling)

½ TBSP quality vanilla extract

1 tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)

2 small or 1 large overripe banana

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (oat flour if making it gluten free)

1 tbsp wheat germ or golden flax meal (wheat germ is not gluten free, but flax is)

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds (I used SuperSeedz-they are gluten,, nut, egg,dairy free)

2 tbsp. dark chocolate chips (Optional)  (I used Enjoy Life 69%)

¼ cup raisins

2 cups oatmeal (whole rolled oats. You can use minute oats but they wont be as hearty. If using gluten free oats, I suggest you either use minute oats or pulse the rolled oats a few times as they can be a bit chewy in my experience)

Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheet with parchment

Mash banana with a fork.

Melt 1/3 cup coconut oil and place in large bowl

Mix coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and banana and whisk until smooth and the color of caramel.

Add flour, wheat germ (flax) baking soda, baking powder, salt, choco chips, raisins and pumpkin seeds and mix until stiff dough.

Add oatmeal and incorporate into batter

Use a small scoop to form cookies and then flatten with bottom of a glass or hand.Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. sugar on the tops

Bake approximately 12 minutes-if you want them darker, bake 1-2 minutes longer.
Cool on rack. Freeze.

A Few Notes
Coconut oil- In addition to being the darling of the oils these days, it lends a light buttery taste to baked goods. Be sure you measure it out after it’s been melted in order to get the right amount. If you don’t like coconut oil, good ole canola will work too.

Sugar-At the end of the day-sugar is sugar and one has to use it wisely.  The nice thing about these cookies, however,  is that even though they have some sugar, it is far less than what is in the average breakfast cereals. Also, there is a nice amount of fiber in these cookies, which means that whatever sugar from your cookie won’t send you or your child into a sugar high/crash spiral.

Here's a trick-when you sprinkle a little sugar on the tops, that's the first thing your tongue registers as sweet, so you can lower the overall amount that goes into the cookies. 

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