Baking has always been a kind of yoga for me. Being in the kitchen takes me out of my chattering mind and into the task at hand. So after my son was born, I scoured the Internet in search of the perfect healthy oatmeal cookie recipe. Breastfeeding meant I was constantly starving (nursing burns between 800 and 1,200 extra calories a day—crazy, right?), and I wanted to find a vegan, gluten-free, (mostly) sugar-free, and superfood-heavy snack that would satisfy my new-mama hunger and give my body tons of nutrition.
My son is now a toddler, and we’ve taste-tested a lot of oatmeal cookies since he was born, though none was quite right. I’ve spent the last two years tinkering to come up with a recipe that meets my criteria. I think it’s pretty perfect now.
The great news? You can eat this cookie for breakfast. Seriously. It’s protein-rich, whole-foods-based, and packed with powerhouse nutrients.
Even better? It’s a super kid-friendly recipe. My little guy loves to dump in the seeds, mash the bananas, and stir the raisins in. I always make sure to give him a little bowl full of sunflower seeds so he can snack as he works. Whipping up a batch of these cookies is the perfect opportunity to spend time together, teach him new words, like “cinnamon” and “cloves,” and bake our snacks healthfully from scratch instead of buying processed bars at the grocery store.
I like to throw a few cookies in my purse so I’ve always got snacks at hand wherever we are. We can eat a batch in a day or two, and if your life is anything like mine, you probably will too—so bake early and bake often.
And feel free to play with the ingredients—this recipe is very flexible. Most of the measurements are estimates. I pretty much just dump stuff in and stir it up, hoping for the best (and my family still devours them, even when they aren't "perfect." Cookies are cookies, right?)
3 medium bananas (or 2 large ones)
¼ cup almond or sunflower butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice or cloves
1 1/4 cups gluten-free oats (Though oats themselves are technically gluten-free, they are often processed in factories along with wheat, rye, and barley, increasing the risk of cross-contamination. Celiacs and folks with severe gluten allergies should confirm that the brand of oats you use is labeled gluten-free.)
1/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)
1/3 cup raisins
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 cup sunflower (or pumpkin) seeds
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet or 12-cup muffin tin with a little coconut oil or Earth Balance.
Place the bananas in a medium bowl and mash until smooth.
Add the almond butter and spices, and stir vigorously to thoroughly incorporate.
Fold in remaining ingredients, and stir until completely mixed.
Make tablespoon-size balls out of the mixture and drop them onto the prepared baking sheet or fill muffin cups halfway. You can also spread the dough into a 9”x9”x2” pan and cut into bars when cool.
Bake cookies or muffins or bars for 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely.
Makes about 12 cookies.