Sunday, December 29, 2013

Simple, healthy oatmeal cookies (vegan and gluten free)

Carrots harvested from the winter garden

Our Christmas holiday was spent quietly at home pursuing our creative passions during the afternoon and later curling up in front of the fireplace to watch a movie.  My son and I spent a few hours exploring culinary adventures making a simple, healthy meal of comfort foods.  Our menu for the day was a colorful tossed salad including carrots pulled from the winter garden topped with hearty lentils drizzled with a quick balsamic vinaigrette.

Salad with lentils

Our main course was a vegetable pot pie with more of the harvested carrots and for dessert, thick oatmeal cookies that mixed together in just a few minutes.  This is a small batch of a dozen gluten free, vegan cookies so it all bakes on just one cookie sheet and is perfect to throw in the oven when you already have it on to bake something else.  They are thick and moist from bananas and maple syrup with little added fat so you won't feel too guilty if you have more than a couple or decide to have them for breakfast.   These were inspired by a recipe over at The Naked Label.

Oatmeal cookies with dark chocolate chips, golden raisins and walnuts

Healthy oatmeal cookies (vegan/gluten free)

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats 
2/3 cup brown rice flour* 
1/4 teaspoon of aluminum-free baking soda
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch Celtic sea salt (optional)
1/2 - 3/4 cup of (raisins or other dried fruit, chopped nuts, chocolate chips or cocoa nibs)

- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a mixing bowl combine bananas, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla.
- Add in oats, brown rice flour, baking soda, shredded coconut, cinnamon, cardamom and sea  salt (if using) and mix until combined evenly, but do not over-stir.
- Lightly fold in dried fruit, nuts or chocolate. (We used 1/4 cup each, golden raisins, dark chocolate chips and chopped walnuts)
- Place parchment paper or Silpat on a cookie sheet. Drop golf ball size scoops of batter onto the baking sheet and flatten slightly. (These will not rise or spread much during baking.)
- Place the cookies in the oven on the middle rack for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and place cookies on a wire rack to cool. 

* If you don't have brown rice flour but you have a grain bowl attachment for your Vitamix you can make your own by processing approximately 1 cup of brown rice until fine.   Measure out what you need and save the rest for later.

Thanks for reading!

Christmas cactus in bloom

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