Thursday, October 22, 2009

Healthy-ish Oatmeal Cookies

I love oatmeal. Always have. Always will. When I was growing up, oatmeal was a regular at the breakfast table. And I get it. Some of you hate oatmeal and I totally understand why. Particularly every time I order it at a restaurant or plop out some into a bowl at a hotel's continental breakfast buffet. Plainly and simply: Other people's oatmeal SUCKS.

I mean, no wonder people hate oatmeal. Other people make it and its gloopy and pasty and flavorless. It's gross. When you make it at home... the way my mom always made it, with brown sugar, salt (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T FORGET A HEALTHY PINCH OF SALT) and two slices of buttered whole wheat toast, it's heavenly. It's like a warm hug for your insides. I used to break up my buttered toast and toss it into the oatmeal and swirl it around, until it became soft, buttery bits in my oatmeal (I know, I have this gross obsession with things that are supposed to be crunchy being soggy. Don't even talk to me about my favorite part of a platter of nachos). Or, if I didn't do that, I'd slather the oatmeal onto my toast and eat it like a sandwich. Yum. Oatmeal sandwich.

Okay, so before I totally lose you oatmeal haters out there (if I haven't already), let's talk about other uses of oatmeal. Like... cookies. Oatmeal cookies. Yum. A cookie with oatmeal is hearty and filling... almost as much of a hug as the bowl of oatmeal is. There's something homey about an oatmeal cookie. And... bonus: Oatmeal is fairly good for you. It's got loads of fiber (which is supposed to make you feel fuller, but, dude... nothing makes this stomach of mine feel full) and probably some other good stuff in it that I'm too lazy to look up right now.

Sometimes, I'm just in the mood for a healthy treat. I mean, not MOST of the time. Most of the time I'm in the mood for something loaded down with butter and sugar, but SOMETIMES I want something a little healthier and when I think of a healthy baked good, I usually think: Oatmeal.

I found a recipe at David Lebovitz's site (although, generally... don't go there if you're looking for something healthy. Cause he'll easily distract you with ice cream recipes) that I decided to tweak a bit and attempt to make even healthier. I tried to used a ripened banana for most of the sugar. Good idea, right? Yeah, I thought so, too. Until I tasted the batter. And immediately pulled the sugar out of the cupboard and added some (just for good measure, ya know).

Chewy-Almost-Healthy-Oatmeal Cookies
original recipe from Nick Malgieri, adapted from David Lebovitz's adaptation.

This is the recipe I used, with the addition of the sugar that I originally tried to leave out. The cookies turn out very chewy and cakey. Very delicious. Normally, I'm not a cakey cookie kind of girl, but I find that when I'm eating something that I know has things in it that are good for me, I tend to ease my texture demands.

I will definitely make these again. And I might even experiment further to try and make these actually healthier.

1 cup of white whole wheat all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp of unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed, light brown sugar
1 ripe banana
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups rolled oats (not instant!)
3/4 cup dark raisins (I used chocolate chips, can use any dried fruit)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and banana until smooth-ish. Mix in the egg, applesauce and vanilla.

Stir in the dry ingredients, then the oats, then the raisins (or whatever you're using).

Drop the batter by the rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Use a fork to gently flatten the dough.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes.