Granola Cookies, aka Breakfast Cookies, aka Kitchen Sink Cookies

granola cookies

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.

Advertisements

Healthy-ish Beet Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting for Your Boo

beet cupcakes

Usually I am not the sentimental sort, but when V Day looms, I can’t resist whipping up something special for my boo.

Back Before Baby, I spent many happy hours concocting all sorts of decadent treats for my guy. One year, in a fit of unabashed sappiness, I crafted a surprisingly convincing 2D Jack Skellington and Sally from melted dark and white chocolate, complete with a chocolate Zero and little chocolate hearts. We ate the whole thing for dinner and washed it down with cheap champagne, lots of it.

But these days, now that I’m a mama, my efforts are a little more, wholesome, shall we say.

Like these here cupcakes. That lovely, vibrant red crumb? The work of beets, my friends! Also, there is whole wheat hiding in there. And the frosting is dark chocolate, which is practically a health food, am I right? OK, so the candy hearts are, ummm, candy. But know that I planned to top these with pomegranate seeds instead, I was just too lazy to peel the dang thing.

Healthy-ish Beet Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting for Your Boo

Cupcakes adapted from Sunset Magazine/Diane Morgan. Chocolate ganache frosting adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Recipe notes: These cupcakes are super easy to make, but it does take a bit of time to pull them all together. For me, it was easier to roast the beets (along with some other vegetables I planned to put in a stew) a day before, so they were ready to go when I started the cupcakes. The original recipe calls for cake flour, but I never have that on hand, so I went with a substitution. Also, I cut the sugar by 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons. As for the chocolate ganache frosting, the recipe calls for letting it cool in the fridge for 45 minutes before frosting your cupcakes. If you happen to let the frosting kick it in the fridge overnight, as I did, it may turn a bit hard, which makes it very difficult to work with. You might try whipping it to loosen it up, not sure if heat would help. Also, I’ve tried swapping out the whipping cream for other liquids, but so far that hasn’t worked out. This frosting, it’s finicky, but hey, only two ingredients.

BEET CUPCAKES

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 pound red beets (3 medium), scrubbed

1 cup all purpose flour

¾ cup white whole wheat flour

¼ cup corn starch

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, beaten to blend

2/3 cup canola oil

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Roast beets: Preheat oven to 400°. Wrap each beet in foil, put on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until tender when pierced, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let cool. Peel, cut into chunks, and purée in a food processor. Measure 1 1/4 cups purée.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin pan (1/2-cup size) with paper liners. Sift together flour, corn starch, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Whisk together beet purée, granulated sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. With a plastic spatula, stir in flour mixture one-third at a time just until smooth.

4. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each almost to the top of the liner. Bake until cupcakes spring back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in center of one comes out with a couple of moist crumbs clinging, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING

Makes about 2 cups, enough for 12 cupcakes

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Bring cream to boil in small saucepan.

Remove off stovetop (this is important. I forgot to do this once and the frosting turned out very, very dense).

Place chocolate in the saucepan, cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Whisk until smooth, then cover and refrigerate until cool and slightly firm, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from the fridge and frost those babies!