Flat Earth Cookies: Good for You and Good for Eating!
I'm taking a break from my Spain-related posts to bring you...cookies!
For my second experience with the fun, exciting, foodie-crazed Taste and Create (created by Min to foster recipe exchanges amongst food bloggers), I was paired with Alisa's very good blog, One Frugal Foodie. Admittedly, trolling her smart and informative blog, I was a little concerned over what I could make. Alisa very wisely goes for foods that are healthy and good for you--full of fiber, whole grains, veggies, and fruits--in other words, foods that my family has been (unsuccessfully) trying to get me to eat since I was off the bottle (baby bottle. not, like, tequila bottle...). Although I'm not a health food person (as is plainly obvious visiting my page for oh 15 seconds), I enjoy finding foods that I can enjoy guilt-free, substituting them in for the cookies and cupcakes that regularly march through my life. So I was delighted to find a recipe for dairy, butter, and egg-free cookies that featured my all-time favorite cookie pairing: chocolate and oats.
It was years before I ate a proper oatmeal cookie, partly because they are almost always studded with raisins, and one of my biggest pet peeves is fruit inside my food (Dave has learned the best way to keep me from eating his breakfast is to order a cinnamon-raisin bagel, the scamp.). Finally, I approached a plate of cookies one day, wearily wondering if, again, those were raisins in those cookies, only to discover, to my great pleasure, they were in fact chocolate chips! Suddenly, I was in heaven, a best-of-both worlds discovery that brought the hearty crunch and rich texture of oatmeal cookies with the sharp sugary burst of chocolate chip. From then on I searched out my holy grail, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, only to have my hopes crushed by-ugh-raisins. I always knew I could make my own, just substitute chocolate chips for raisins, but I didn't have an excuse (or justification to make 48 cookies for myself) until finding Alisa's recipe.
I was pleased to discover the recipe, although requiring me to get special ingredients (it calls for applesauce, flax meal, and oats), was extremely simple; no mashing in butter, no tentative adding of flour. Unfortunately, I did run into a few mishaps, but luckily they had little or no effect on the overall taste. First, I discovered that, indeed, 90-degree weather reaches your kitchen cabinets, where it will melt your chocolate chips into a gooey mess. Although I was initially concerned, it turned out to be a non-issue: the chocolate blended smoothly into the cookies, creating a uniformly chocolate cookie that was totally delish. My second problem was rather than cook into sturdy, round little cookies, they collapsed and swelled until they completely covered the cookie sheet like one giant mass. This also had an easy solution for the next time I made the cookies--add a little more flour to stabilize it into more of a dough than a mix (mine was a little runny, but kept its shape well when I dropped it onto the sheet so I thought I was home clear). And again, no real effect on the final product; they were cooked through, crispy but not burnt (just the way I like em), and instead of cookies I served them as bars, no fuss no muss.
I was so so pleased with the final result (I christened them Flat Earth cookies, thanks to their terrain-like texture and, you know, flatness). They were crunchy and sugary, rich with chocolate but also hearty, thanks to the oats and flax meal. Also, knowing exactly how much (or little) sugar was in them, I was able to enjoy them the way all cookies deserve: feet up, smiling, cookie crumbs falling all over my face. They're the perfect after-work snack or post-workout pick-me-up, a healthy, delicious sugar rush :)
FLAT EARTH COOKIES
1 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
1/4 Cup Grapeseed, Canola, or Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Water or Milk Alternative of choice (plain or vanilla)
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1/4 Cup Flax Meal
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup White or Brown Rice Flour (add more to make mix more doughy)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Oat Flour*
2 Cups Rolled Oats, Quinoa, or Rice Flakes
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180°C, or gas mark 4).
With a mixer or by hand, cream together the brown sugar, oil, water or milk alternative, applesauce, flax, and vanilla until smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients except for the oats and chocolate chips, and mix until dough is well combined. Add the oats and mix again until all ingredients are combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Use a small ice cream/cookie scoop or drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto the baking sheet. Flatten slightly.
Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned and semi-soft to the touch in the middle. Let cookies sit for a few minutes before removing from baking sheet. Remove from baking sheet to a flat surface (like a large plate) or wire rack to cool completely before enjoying.
* To make oat flour (gluten-free or regular), place some oats in your spice grinder and whiz for about 30 seconds, or until they are pulverized into a flour.