A funny thing happens when people start cooking healthful food for family and friends. They feel the need to announce that fact to everyone before serving it. “Ok, guys. Wait until you try this muffin! It’s made with flaxseeds and almond meal and it has no sugar! It’s unbelievable!” Of course everyone else is thinking it’s probably unbelievably bad and unbelievably tasteless. Or students will come to my class and go home very motivated (a good thing) to overhaul the pantry, the refrigerator and the family diet. And even though I urge them not to, they feel compelled to sit the family down and tell them how “things are going to change around here! There will be no more sugar! Or processed snacks! Suzy, spit out that gum. Don’t you know aspartame is the number one food-related complaint to the FDA?” Unfortunately, despite our well-meaning intentions, this strategy rarely elicits a positive response.
On the other hand, I love being able to share recipes that are delicious, easy, and just so happen to be good for you. Take these chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, for example. Using a base of walnuts, maple syrup and a touch of coconut oil in place of butter and eggs, these are just darn tasty and not-so-shabby, nutritionally-speaking.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and if your school or office allows treats to be brought in, why not make a batch of these? Like many cookie recipes, you can make the dough several days in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator. Take it out when you’re ready to bake and scoop it onto your cookie sheets. You can even freeze the cookies unbaked. Arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet and place the pan in the freezer. Once the cookies are frozen solid, transfer them to an airtight container and keep them frozen until you’re ready to bake. Then just place them on a prepared baking sheet directly from the freezer and add another minute or two to the baking time.
Yes, I know it is so very exciting that they are full of fiber and contain no refined sugar. No animal products either, if that’s important to you. You can even make them gluten-free by using gluten-free oats. But no need to go around saying, “OMG! Try these cookies! They’re gluten-free and they’re VEEE-GAN!” Unless your motivation is to discourage any takers and to keep them all for yourself. Hmmmmm……
- 1 ½ cups oat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups raw walnuts
- 3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 cup 100% pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 12 ounces or 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- *If you need to make oat flour, place 1 ¾ cups rolled oats in a food processor and process until powdery.
- Place oat flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and whisk together.
- Place walnuts in a food processor and blend into a fine meal. Add oil, maple syrup and vanilla and process until mixture has the consistency of natural nut butter.
- Stir walnut mixture into flour mixture. Fold in 2 cups rolled oats and chocolate chips.
- Use a 1 ¾ -inch ice cream scooper to form dough into balls, and place on baking sheets. You can fit 12 on a sheet. Flatten cookies slightly with a damp hand. Bake 13-15 minutes or until cookies begin to brown and tops look dry.
- Cool a few minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.