When I moved in to my own charming place in Los Angeles, the kitchen proved to be one of the hardest obstacles. I mean, I had nothing. Have you ever tried to stock a kitchen from nothing? It’s harder than you may think. Once I had all of the appropriate utensils, I decided to start cooking and opted for a buy as you go philosophy. The very first thing I made were cookies. Obviously. So I guess that means I decided to start baking and not cooking? Tomato/Tomato. I googled “Healthy Cookies” (I know, who was I kidding?) and came across these essentially healthy chocolate chip cookies. They are butter-less, flour-less, egg-less, and sugar-less that call for what I like to refer to as a banana batter. And that sounded super delicious to me? So I skimmed the directions and headed to the store with a list. You guys, you absolutely c a n n o t skim when it comes to baking and allow me to tell you why. Did you know that baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing? Yeah, they’re not at all. The recipe called for powder, but while cruising the baking aisle I saw soda and thought Tomato/Tomato. No. It’s like tomato and whatever is so completely and utterly not tomato it’s not even funny. But of course I didn’t realize that until the first batch came out of the oven. Eating one tasted like swallowing a salt lick. And it wasn’t until I was so discouraged I called my mom and gave her the play by play, that I realized my mistake. But since I have realized the error of my ways and made the easy switch, these little nuggets have easily become one of my favorite treats. The oats give them texture, the coconut makes them sweet, and the banana keeps them tender. Use gluten free oats if you’re trendy, or have an allergy to gluten. And carob chips instead of chocolate if you’re vegan. And you guys, you don’t even have to feel guilty. In fact, they’re kind of good for you. So have at it. Just remember to use baking powder. Ugh, such a rookie mistake.
Nikki's Healthy Cookie Recipe
recipe and image via 101 Cookbooks
You can use unsweetened carob, or grain sweetened chocolate chips. You can make your own almond meal by pulsing almonds in a food processor until it is the texture of sand - don't go too far or you'll end up with almond butter. Or you can buy it from Trader Joe's, as I obviously did. And lastly, be sure to warm the coconut oil a bit - enough that it is no longer solid, which makes it easier to incorporate into the bananas. If you have gluten allergies, seek out GF oats.
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
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, 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.