A batch of homemade drop cookies may not sound particularly Halloween-esque. Yes, I’ve given these beauties an ample dose of fall flavor in the forms of cinnamon and cranberries, but I haven’t fashioned them into mock tarantulas, ghosts, goblins, or monsters.
But according to my husband, the prospect of a sugar-free, gluten-free, egg-free cookie is nothing short of terrifying.
The fear is warranted. At the beginning of the school year, I tried my hand at a number of sugar-free, über-health cookies, including chocolate-avocado cookies (I know, what was I thinking?) and carrot-zucchini cookies. I admit to feeling somewhat self-righteous as I mixed my batters: do they give mother-of-the-year awards for best and most sugar-free cookies baked for school lunches? I’d give it my best shot.
Oh, what a fool I was. The carrot-zucchini cookies were laughable; think lawn clippings, bananas, and oats pressed into gummy disks. I imagine they would be effective for equine bowel disorders. At least the chocolate avocado cookies looked like cookies; however, the taste and texture were a marriage of guacamole and cocoa that ended in a bitter divorce.
So why on earth did I try again?
Stubbornness, for one. And a bunch of extremely over-ripe bananas, second.
I found what looked like a reasonable “template” recipe at the blog Choosing Voluntary Simplicity, but the recipe called for butter and milk; I decided to keep the cookies dairy-free and opted for oil and no milk. (Please, please do not cut back on the amount of oil; it is essential!) In addition, I didn’t want the cookies to read “BANANA.” Nothing against bananas, but we do a lot of banana bread and banana muffins as it is. I needed some stronger flavors, so I upped the vanilla and stirred in a significant amount of cinnamon.
From my previous sugar-free cookie experiments/disasters, I knew that going leavening-free was literally a recipe for leaden cookies. In went a bit of baking soda.
Flourless oat cookies need some texture, so I doubled the amount of walnuts and toasted them for added flavor. Please don’t skip this step! The walnuts are exponentially more flavorful and crunchy with a bit of toasting. Last, to make this more of an autumn cookie, I chose dried cranberries over raisins. Like the walnuts, I doubled the amount, this time for sweetness. I realize that dried cranberries are sweetened, so technically these are not entirely sugar-free cookies. If it bothers you, please fell free to use an unsweetened dried fruit. It doesn’t bother me (I can only restrain my sweet tooth so much…)
By George, I think I’ve got it! These really are delicious, perfect for breakfast in particular (a bit like a bowl of oatmeal in handheld form). And both Nick and Kevin have been goblin them up.
|The starring players. The browner and mushier the bananas, the better (browner=sweeter).|
|I could eat this right out of the bowl, as is. Oh wait, I did. Some managed to make it to the oven, though.|
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats (use Gluten-Free Certified if GF is needed)
- 1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped (I used cranberries)
- 1/2 cup chopped, toasted nuts or seeds (I used walnuts)
- 1–1/2 cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 large)
- 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1–1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, cranberries, and walnuts
- In a medium bowl, combine the banana, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda until well-blended.
- Add banana mixture to oat mixture, stirring to combine. Let stand 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets.
- Bake 14 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden-brown. Let cool on sheets 1 minutes Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (or freeze in airtight bags/containers)