Thursday June 09, 2011

Nikki’s Healthy Cookie Recipe

My daughter is in the 6th grade. She will be graduating elementary school next week, and entering Junior High in September. She is my third child to graduate this school and even though my youngest son will not even start elementary for another 5 years it blows my mind that my older three kids have all passed this stage!

Where did the time go? My husband and I go for walks in the neighborhood and regularly pass the school as the kids study the morning away. How many times have I looked into the playground trying to catch a glimpse of one of my children, waved as they played during recess, and thought about this day coming.

I tend to do that a lot, look into the future. Not a recommended practice if you ask me, but it is somewhat of a habit. All three of my children were fortunate to get the same 6th grade teacher. I have really enjoyed the pleasure of experiencing what a great teacher can be. We have had a few gems throughout this school experience and she is one of them. During my second son’s 6th grade year the City of Fremont hosted a Pen Pal program that linked elementary school children to elderly citizens. They would exchange letters throughout the school year and at the end of the year they would meet at a city sponsored luncheon for a “Meet and Greet Event”, to honor all of the hard work it took to put the program together. This year the program fell victim to budget cuts. What a loss to the community, but our teacher decided to keep with the spirit of the idea, and with the help of her teacher aid found such loving and caring elders to participate. My daughter would come home with her letter and read each one to me with such excitement. So when I got an email to help out the day of their Meet and Greet Event I could not refuse. I wanted to make it extra special. My daughter and I planned out the menu and she decided to make chocolate covered pretzel sticks with sprinkles for the kids, and I decided one of the offerings would be a healthy cookie. I often turn to the first food blog I stumbled upon years ago and still one of my favorites. 101 Cookbooks is the creation of Heidi Swanson, the cookbook author of “Super Natural Cooking” and her new addition, “Super Natural Everyday”. She lives in San Francisco and focuses on natural, whole foods and ingredients – vegetarian recipes that are good for you, with the occasional sweet treat as she describes in her introduction. You should visit her site, I am sure you will also become a fan! This cookie recipe is so easy to make and is dairy, egg and flour free. Plus it has no processed sugar in it. The sweetness comes from the bananas. Genius! A friend of Heidi’s shared this recipe with her. My kids love these cookies. I thought it was a good fit so with my Baba strapped to my chest we made our way to the school cafeteria with all of our goodies, and with the help of a good friend and mother of my daughters classmate laid everything out for the party. What a wonderful time it was. I loved seeing everyone connect and enjoy each other’s company. I once went on a field trip to a rest home for the elderly in 3rd grade with one of my children’s class, and the experience made a lifelong impact on how I treat and respect our community elders. They are the true gems among us. I highly recommend reaching out to someone near you who may or may not need some extra company. In the end you will be richly rewarded with a priceless friendship and bringing some yummy, healthy cookies along could never hurt.

 pen pal and cookies group

Step by Step Process

pen pal and cookies ingredients

Before  Bake                      After Bake
Nikki’s Healthy Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm – so it isn’t solid (or alternately, olive oil)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 – 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 350˚F, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don’t worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect – just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies