My little guy is totally addicted to Annie’s granola bars.
And what’s not to love? They are just soft and chewy enough for his little teeth to bite into without sending cascades of granola bits flying everywhere. They are just wee enough for his chubby little fist to grab and carry with him on all his little toddler adventures. And the wrapper, which I leave on and pull down as needed, keeps him mostly sticky free, until he devours the last little nub.
Plus they are organic with recognizable ingredients and less sugar than most granola bars out there (hey, helps with my mom guilt).
But at nearly $5 a box for 7 little bars, they are kinda on the pricey side. And we go through them super fast around here.
So the other day, I totally spaced out and forgot to pick up a box at the grocery store, which caused a minor meltdown when little dude asked for one later that day.
I managed to distract him (What, you want a granola bar? Hey, let’s go play on the trampoline!), and mentally made a note to go to the grocery store the next day.
But then I thought, ugh, the grocery store. I dread going to the grocery store. Anyone who’s been grocery shopping with a two year old knows what I am talking about. Plus we live out in the country, 10 miles from the nearest Annie’s granola bars, so running out to the store for a single item is not exactly convenient.
Then I thought, what if I made some instead? I’d made granola bars once before, and they were good, and easy to make, but really sticky, and really sweet. I wanted something a little less sweet and maybe not so sticky. I do enough laundry around here.
Then it hit me – what about a granola cookie instead? All the goodness of granola packed into a cute little cookie, what child could resist?
I turned to the internets for research and development and came across these kitchen sink cookies on Martha Stewart. These were just what I was looking for – crisp on the outside, moist on the inside, chock full of fun bits and chunks. It’s like oatmeal cookie’s parents went out of town for the weekend and she invited all her bffs from the pantry over for a night of, umm, granola making.
I did end up tweaking the recipe to healthify it a bit, but they are still cookies after all.
When little dude asked for a granola bar, I distracted him with these (Hey, cookie!) and started thinking about ways to healthify a lollipop.
Granola Cookies, aka Breakfast Cookies, aka Kitchen Sink Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Recipe notes: This recipe is very versatile – I made a bunch of tweaks with no disastrous results. What I ended up with was a very lightly sweet cookie, not too crumbly, crisp on the outside, soft in the middle. I cut the sugar in half, swapped all purpose flour for white whole wheat, added almond flour for protein, and swapped the chocolate for dates and sunflower seeds. Oh, and switched coconut oil for the butter. Whew. Normally when I sub white whole wheat flour for all purpose flour, I only do up to about 25%, per Cook’s Illustrated. But then I remembered the 100% whole wheat chocolate chip cookies from Kim Boyce, and I thought, let’s do this. So I went for it and did 100% white whole wheat flour. The dates I had were kind of tough and chewy, so I soaked them in apple juice and that made them a little more tender. Actually I soaked them a little too long and they started to turn gelatinous, so then I had to try to dry them out a little. It was a big mess. Don’t soak them too long, 5, 10 minutes tops. These are super easy to make – usually cookies involve creaming room temperature butter and sugar (which I find tedious), then beating in the rest of the wet ingredients, and finally adding all the dry ingredients. But these substitute melted coconut oil for butter, so you can skip the creaming and just mix that bad boy up with a simple wooden spoon, no need to bust out the mixer. There is a lot of measuring due to all the add-ins, but it goes pretty quick. The dough is rather thick – once I got all the stuff mixed in, I scooped heaping tablespoons and basically pressed them into little balls, them smooshed ‘em a bit for that classic cookie shape. They are very crumbly right out of the oven (I know this through scientific, uh, research) but firm up nicely once cooled completely. Then they are pretty portable, if you are into running around with a cookie in your fist. Makes about 26 cookies. If that is too much, scoop all your cookies as directed, bake just a few, then freeze the rest on a baking sheet for a couple of hours. You can then store them in a ziplock bag and bake them straight out of the freezer as needed, adding a minute or two to compensate. Next time I might try adding an extra egg white and maybe some peanut butter for extra binding and protein. And of course there is plenty of room for experimenting with the add-ins.
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
¼ cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped dates
½ cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl with a wooden spoon, stir oil and brown sugar together until smooth. Mix in egg until well blended. Stir in vanilla.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt (or just mix together, I never bother with sifting). Add oats, seeds, coconut, raisins, dates and walnuts and stir until well blended. Gradually stir dry mixture into oil mixture until well blended.
Drop batter by heaping tablespoons on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Press tops down with the bottom of a glass or your hand to flatten cookies evenly. Bake until golden, about 14 to 16 minutes. Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, and finish cooling completely on wire rack.
Update 3/17/2013: I tried a batch with an extra egg white and puffed rice in place of the sunflower seeds. They held together pretty well, but the puffed rice sort of disintegrated into the cookies.