Friday, August 11, 2017

"Locked and Loaded" Cookies

Caramel bits, chocolate chips and hemp seeds pack these whole-grain oatmeal cookies, creating treats so decadent you'll never realize they're made without butter, oil or eggs! 

Locked and Loaded Cookies

It's scary how close it is to "back to school" time! Granted, I'm in school now (taking my Sociology degree) but my teaching life doesn't begin until after Labour Day (phew). However, for those of you who are parents, like many of my friends, this crunch period is full of questions like "how many binders do I need?" "does he really need a 64-pack of crayons?" and most importantly, "what do I pack for lunch?".

Since my sister and I grew up with parents who needed to work full time during the Summer we were sent to day camp throughout July and August and always had a packed lunch. The rules for camp lunches and snacks were identical to school - no nuts, no peanuts - so nothing really changed. However, I know that if we were left to our own devices at home, we'd be scarfing peanut butter or Nutella on toast for lunch, and my mom always made killer peanut butter and chocolate chunk cookies that fit perfectly into the afternoon snack void. After a holiday like that, lunchbox treats had better be mighty fine to compete!

These guys not only compete, but score. I call them "locked and loaded" because of just how jam-packed of good (and good-for-you) things they are! Instead of butter, which for some reason we had run out of (I know, sacrilege in a baking household), I used a combination of cream cheese (which is now my "secret addition" to cookies) and SunButter for a rich nutty flavour and aroma. I almost never have eggs in the house (I don't eat them myself) so in went the flaxseed for binding the whole wheat batter. Finally, it was "raid the pantry" time - I managed to empty the last bits from bags of large flake oatmeal, hemp seeds, chocolate chips and caramel bits for good measure.

As with any whole grain cookie, especially one containing oats, a rest in the fridge is the way to go to properly hydrate everything, but once baked - boy were these fantastic! Tender and slightly chewy thanks to the cream cheese and caramel, snack-worthy but not super sweet (especially since I used dark chocolate) and just slightly nutty tasting, a single cookie satisfied any craving I might have had. The real magic came through after freezing them, though - you have got to try these frozen. Everything is just that much better, especially when its still 30C out. I haven't tried ice cream (or Frozen Yoghurt) sandwiches with them, but why not?

"Locked and Loaded" CookiesMakes ~14
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp SunButter (or your favourite nut/seed butter)
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.9 oz whole wheat flour
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
⅓ teaspoon baking soda
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch salt
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup hemp seeds
¼ cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips)
¼ cup caramel bits
  1. In large bowl, cream together cream cheese, SunButter and sugars. Beat in the vanilla.
  2. Add the flour, flaxseed, baking soda, nutmeg and salt, beating well.
  3. Stir in the remaining additions until fully mixed.
  4. Cover and chill for 1 hour, up to overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F
  6. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets and flatten with damp fingers.
  7. Bake 10 - 12 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Cool slightly, remove from sheet to wire rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 125.3
Total Fat: 5.2 g
Cholesterol: 4.5 mg
Sodium: 41.6 mg
Total Carbs: 19.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 2.8 g