I had the pleasure of leading a short discussion this week, with a group of parents at a friend’s church. The topic was sugar — I came armed-and-ready with all the notes from my sugar series, and proceeded to dump information on small a group of (perhaps unsuspecting) moms (plus one dad) for an hour. What I learned this week was that I’m a much more concise writer than talker. When I talk, rabbits get chased, shiny objects get followed, and trains-of-thought get derailed. There’s no “undo” button for my spoken word, no way to go back and not waste so much time on one thought when another one was just as deserving.
It kind of reminded me of the very situations that caused me to start blogging: by the end of the conversation, I wasn’t sure where I stood with my listeners, whether I did more damage than good to their thoughts about sweeteners. An admittedly appealing aspect of blogging is that I don’t have to witness anyone’s eyes glazing-over, or know if someone clicks away without finishing a post. I am a blissfully ignorant sharer of information.
But what I can’t do, ever, in blogging, is give everyone a cookie. Which is exactly what I did at the end of my talk — I figure if I’ve left anyone’s brain in a minutia-induced fog, the least I can do is end on a sweet note.
Of course, it helped that I wasn’t just passing around a box of Oreo’s (not that there’s anything wrong with that) — but homemade, edible example of using the kind of unrefined sweeteners I’d been talking about. I have no shame in the fact that I do use white table sugar in recipes (often, cookies) in our house. But when a recipe takes well to the molasses-y tones of an unrefined dry sweetener, I’ll reach for it every time. It was a bonus that, since this recipe calls for whole oats, they also hold their own using whole-grain flour rather than all-purpose (or a combination). Truly, these are some of the most addictive unrefined cookies I’ve ever made.
The recipe is loosely adapted from one acquired from a bakery I worked at in Georgia. Their dessert case offered a single egg-and-dairy-free cookie — the Vegan Oatmeal-Chocolate. They were, by far, my favorite cookie to sneak at work. I think most of this is due to their saltiness — I’ve long been guilty of bumping up the salt just a touch in cookie recipes, to give (what I consider to be) a better sweet/salty balance in our favorite hand-held dessert. But they were also sturdy and somehow delicate, an oatmeal cookie that didn’t too-closely resemble a version of what I ate for breakfast.
I use my own sprouted wheat flour in these, but you can use whole-wheat pastry flour with equal success. If you don’t have sucanat (or Rapadura) you could substitute a mixture of 1/2 white sugar, 1/2 brown sugar. But I encourage you to pick up sucanat in bulk at your health food store, and experiment with it. It’s flavor is earthy and rich, and the unrefined nature is gentler on spiking blood sugar (something mine is quick to do).
Watch these carefully in their last minutes in the oven, especially if you use a dark pan — they can go from perfect to charred very quickly.
Whole-grain Oat-Chocolate Cookies
makes about 36 2″ cookies
- 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry (or sprouted) flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/8 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp) butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cup sucanat
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350º, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Have oven racks in two middle positions.
In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients (oats through salt).
In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer), cream together the butter and sucanat until well-combined and a bit fluffy, about 2 minutes (scrape down the bowl as necessary). Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients until fully combined. Add the chocolate chips, and mix by hand or on low-speed until well-dispersed.
Scoop tablespoon-sized balls and place 2″ apart on cookie sheets. With a greased palm, flatten each ball into a disk.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, switching the cookie sheets from front to back and top to bottom, about halfway through. Watch closely at the end — it’s hard to tell they are browning until they are almost overcooked.
Let cool completely on racks, and store in an airtight container.Print This Post