Gluten-free, vegan, naturally sweetened peanut butter "breakfast" cookies
Fifty is the new thirty, nerdy is the now sexy, and cookies are the "it" breakfast. No, I won't really plate these up for breakfast...not really. But I can tack one or two on to a plate of fruit or alongside a scramble without compunction; and I did have a really good run yesterday almost immediately following scarfing down a few. Though, I've always run pretty well on peanut butter. "Breakfast" is the new code word at our house for snacks that are deceptively treat-worthy. They satisfy hankerings (of a two-year old, specifically) where the individual, healthful components might not.
We're easing out of the holiday season gradually here. Little Monkey has been slightly obsessed by cookies. He even startled us awake one night with plaintive cries in his sleep: "No! That's MY cookie! My-eee cooooookieeeeee!". The funny thing is, Little Monkey has as yet hardly sampled any real "cookies", by traditional holiday standards. He has had quite the splendid variety of wholesomely homemade ones, sugar-free...or almost, with just a touch of honey or maple syrup. Over the holidays, he he did get a few very wee tastes of more decadent kinds. We don't want to create a lurking hoard of guilt-ridden forbidden fruits, and we don't want to be hypocrites. Little fellow giddily discovered he really likes chocolate, and found sprinkles dazzling to look at.
These cookies are so easy to make, I slammed together two experimental rounds back-to-back with my little sous chef in one toddler attention span. First round was a basic peanut butter cookie with no addends: I used a flax egg, one cup of natural, salted peanut butter, one banana, a little quinoa flour (rice, spelt, or other flour would work, too), and added 2 tablespoons honey. I liked the result just fine, but I also like peanut butter out of the jar. Dave declared the result "almost really good", and Little Monkey stoutly told me he "not really like them." So, on to round two.
Second batch, I discovered that simply inserting ONE dark chocolate chip into a cookie changed little sous chef's opinion from "not really like them" to "really like them" and "more, please". Adding a little fruit-only jam in the middle of them earned Dave's nod of approval, even as one who loves brownies and bars, but could live in a world without cookies just fine. What's more, the next day the cookies won further approval...somehow the simple flavors mellow and the texture stays the same (just crisp on the outside, soft on the inside) and they are even better. Maybe not dessert. But a really gook snack, and even ok with breakfast.
Sometimes I feel almost guilty for how much pleasure Little Monkey takes in the sugar-free stand-ins we have for popular treats, like I'm hoodwinking my dear one and one day he'll come back at me for it, hurling empty cartons of ice cream my way. But the truth is, he genuinely loves his snacks, and I love making them for and with him. Fingers crossed, he will continue to delight in the crisp freshness of whole foods and healthier treats the way he does now. His palate is beautiful.
Speaking of beauty, last night our dreams wandered through the wardrobe and carried us along, and we awakened to this, everywhere:
It was like the moon stayed up weaving and dropped blankets of stars on the trees. Happy new week! Hope it glistens.
Healthy peanut/almond butter banana cookies Prep time: 7 minutes Bake time: 20 minutes Yield: 15-18 cookies
- 1 cup salted natural almond or peanut butter (or, if using unsalted, add ½ teaspoon sea salt)
- 1 mashed medium banana
- 1 tablespoon ground flax meal mixed in 2 ½ tablespoons water
- ¼ cup to ⅓ cup quinoa flour (rice, spelt or oat flour should work too)
- *optional: ¼ cup honey ( if not including other addends below)
- fruit only jam (approximately ¼ cup) OR ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine peanut or almond butter, banana, flax meal mixture, and honey if using in a food processor.
- Transfer peanut butter mixture to a bowl. Stir in chips if using, and flour until forming a soft dough. Use any remaining flour for hands to keep dough from sticking; form into approximately 1-inch balls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- For jam-filled version, indent center of each cookie and use a knife or spoon to insert a small amount of jam. Close top of each cookie. Use a fork to flatten and make a cross pattern. It may help to lightly flour or moisten top before flattening.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until edges are beginning to brown.