Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Healthy Vegan Valentine - Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

It’s hard to miss the bright pink and red wrapped chocolates and candies in stores for Valentine’s Day. I've never understood why we push these sugar and fat packed treats on our loved ones. Sure, they may taste good temporarily. But, why don’t we give treats that not only taste good but are healthy? Yes, these sweets do exist! It starts with the oatmeal raisin cookie recipe below. Oats are a great source of soluble fiber, helping to reduce cholesterol. To be festive, I formed them into various sized hearts, but you can also drop a spoonful onto the pan instead.

The splash of pumpkin pie spice is not recognizable but certainly turns a classic into something awesome. Rolled oats give the cookies a chewier texture while staying crunchier on the outside. Instant oats have been precooked and dried while rolled outs are steamed and then toasted, hence the chewier texture and longer cooking time if you use these to make oatmeal. If you like that crunch on the outside of the cookie, I like to heat mine in the toaster oven before eating.

One difference in cookies I make tends to be the quantity. You’ll notice this recipe makes about 1 dozen, where several other cookie recipes go into the multiple dozen land. Seriously, no one needs that many cookies, regardless of how much you health-ify them. A treat is clearly not a treat if you have one every day. However, if you are making cookies for the masses, the recipe doubles easily.



Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Ingredients
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, golden preferred
3 tablespoons luke warm water
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix the flaxseed with the water in a small bowl, let sit a few minutes to get a gelatinous, "egg" like consistency.
3. With an electric mixer, mix the applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and flaxseed mixture until well blended. Try not to over blend, this causes the flaxseed to become super chewy.
4. In a separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients (minus the raisins) together well. 
5. Add dry ingredients into the mixing bowl with the sugars/applesauce. Mix until well blended. Stir in raisins until well dispersed. 
6. Use a small spoon to scoop dough onto greased cookie sheet. The dough balls can be 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter, or feel free to form into heart shapes. :)
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are golden brown. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes after removing from the oven to help them firm up. Transfer to a wire rack or container to finish cooling...or enjoy your heart healthy treat right from the oven!





2 comments:

  1. Do you have any insight on cooking these at high altitude? Also do they freeze well?

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    Replies
    1. Each recipe will be a little different, but most of the time a slight changes will make a huge difference. Try increasing the oven temp by 15 degrees Farenheit and baking for a few less minutes first. This will help the cookie form but without getting too dry. You can also decrease the sugar or increase the liquid. If you find what works well for that recipe, be sure to write it down for next time!

      These would freeze well for a couple weeks. If you wanted to keep them longer, I would suggest freezing appropriate cookie portions of the dough. When you're ready for a cookie, remove the dough balls from the freezer, thawing preferred, and bake.

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