Saturday, December 9, 2017

"A Bit Better For You" Oatmeal Cookies

These oatmeal cookies are "a bit better for you" - low fat and full of fruity flavour from homemade fruit butter!

"A Bit Better For You" Oatmeal Cookies

While the break rooms in offices everywhere are teeming with sugary goodies this time of year (ours sure is), sometimes it's nice to just have a bit of a break from it all. I'm not talking giving up treats cold-turkey, mind you - it is the season of sugar and spice after all, but why not opt for a sweet, chewy, moreish cookie that doesn't weigh you down even while you're enjoying the indulgence?

I'll be the first to admit, these cookies are not lookers. Think of them as the hobbits of the cookie world - a little lumpy, brown and rustic. I promise you though, if you can get past the rather imperfect appearance and have a bite, you'll be rewarded with all the best parts of Christmas baking in a mouthful. Cinnamon and nutmeg are the punchy spices in the batter, while hints of sweetness from the fruit butter and raisins as well as butterscotchy Muscovado sugar and crunchy pumpkin seeds prevent things from getting too hot. Egg free mayonnaise replaces the eggs to keep things vegan, and everything is bound together with oats and half-whole grain flour. It sounds a little strange - and I agree, the description doesn't do the cookie justice. But since the original recipe came from esteemed baker Daphna Rabinovitch, I'm not going to question. I'd rather taste, anyways.

One thing I will emphasize about this, and any other oatmeal-containing cookie you may happen to make: resting the batter, even for an hour at room temperature, will make a better, more even textured cookie. It softens the oats just enough so they don't turn into glasslike shards with the heat of the oven, and the cookie stays together better because the starches and proteins in oats have a chance to mingle and bind. Many bakers will say chilling overnight is best, but I've learned through years of teaching Home Ec that 60 minutes works pretty darn well when you have a high-hydration batter like this.

Don't worry though - I haven't bailed on the Christmas cookie train completely. Stay tuned - I'm going to try and post as many of the recipes I baked this year as I can before Christmas!

"A Bit Better For You" Oatmeal Cookies
Makes ~45
¼ cup non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
½ cup unsweetened apple butter (or another fruit butter, I used homemade peach)
1 cup Muscovado or dark brown sugar
5 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup large-flake rolled oats
½ cup quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking soda
¾ cup raisins, craisins, dried cherries or diced apricots
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  1. In a bowl, beat together the margarine and apple (or fruit) butter.
  2. Beat in sugar and mayonnaise, mixing well.
  3. Beat in vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Add flours, oats, and baking soda, mixing well.
  5. Fold in the raisins and sunflower seeds.
  6. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  7. Heat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Drop heaping tablespoons two inches (5 cm) apart onto baking sheets; flatten with the back of a spoon.
  9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to racks to cool.
  10. Store in an airtight container for up to seven days, or freeze for up to four weeks.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 73.4
Total Fat: 1.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 31.8 mg
Total Carbs: 15.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Protein: 1.5 g