Have you ever wanted to make a quick cookie because guests were on their way? Or maybe you were craving something sweet now? These cookies fit both those requests, and they have very few ingredients so a swift run through the pantry and you are ready to bake. They come together so quickly that I had them ready before the oven came up to temp, and that never happens.
I didn’t have to make any changes for vegan or high altitude, so I let my creativity run with the ingredients. The original recipe contained dates but I used dried apricots, cherries and blueberries for more depth of flavor. You could try any dried fruit, such as cranberries or currants for a tart twist. To add even more layers of flavor, I added spices, but including spiced applesauce would make it simpler. So, not only are these treats easy but they are healthy and will satisfy my gluten free friends, too.
Fruit and Oat Cookies based on Banana-Oatmeal Snack Cookies
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
1/2 cup finely chopped dried fruit (such as apricots, cherries and blueberries)
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine bananas, applesauce, oats, walnuts, dried fruit and spices in a bowl until evenly blended. Using a 1 TBS scoop, scoop out cookies and place on prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with a spatula. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to one week. Makes 18-20 cookies.
’Tis the season for fruitcake, although I’m not a big fan. The jewel-toned rum-soaked fruit frightens me. But in the spirit of dried fruit studded bread, I went searching for an alternative. Thus, I give you my homage to holiday fruitcake, in muffin form.
I found a recipe for a bread that contained both dried and fresh fruit with the idea that the fresh fruit would lighten it. I then changed it up so the fresh to dried ratio was higher. For altitude I added a bit of flour and reduced the leaveners. For dryness at altitude I added more milk. Then, to combat the possibility of collapse, I made them into muffins.
Holiday Fruited Muffins loosely adapted from Peaceful Dumpling
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup + 1 TBS all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 TBS sucanat
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 small apple, cored and cut into small chunks
4 Medjool dates, pitted and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup dried blueberries
1 cup + 2 TBS non-dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Heat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with paper liners that have been lightly sprayed with oil. In a bowl, mix together milk and vinegar and let sit. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sucanat, and spices. Add apple, dates, and blueberries. Add sour milk to flour bowl and quickly combine. When just combined, transfer to muffin tin. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 1 dozen.
To embrace a new year of healthier baking, I thought I’d start with a muffin. Homemade muffins are generally lower in sugar and fat so I had a lot of options. My search found a very healthy muffin – it had nutrient-rich molasses as one of the sweeteners as well as the addition of whole wheat flour. It also contained anti-inflammatory ginger and superfood cacao nibs. Healthy, here I come.
To make adaptations for high altitude, I added flour and almond milk while reducing baking powder. I also added cardamon along with the other spices because, well, I like cardamom. The result was muffins with a flavor reminiscent of gingerbread cookies. They were light and airy but dried out a bit after two days because I didn’t store them in an airtight container. It’s okay – they weren’t around long enough to dry out completely.
Gingerbread Spice Muffins adapted from a recipe on deliciousliving.com
3/4 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 TBS almond milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 TBS molasses
2 1/2 TBS canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
4-5 tsp cacao nibs
Preheat oven to 350F with a rack in oven middle. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium bowl, sift flours, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Whisk lightly to aerate. In another medium bowl, whisk milk, maple syrup, molasses, oil, and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Divide the batter evenly among 10 muffin cups. Scatter cacao nibs over tops. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out muffins and cool completely on rack. Makes 10 muffins.
I collect recipes. I have thousands of them. They usually sit for awhile before I dust them off and use them, but some I refer to immediately. This recipe is one of those. I crave warm spices this time of year, so I thought a spiced cookie would taste good. When I came across this recipe with chai spices I baked it up pronto.
To veganize the original recipe, I used vegan margarine and yogurt subbed for an egg. For altitude adjustments, I added flour and reduced baking powder and oats. I thought they were tasty as is, but my husband thought they were lacking in dessert finesse (due to the lack of chocolate). To elevate them from what he deemed a breakfast cookie, I slathered vanilla frosting between two cookies and made them into cookie sandwiches. Now they were fancy enough for dessert.
Oatmeal Spice Cookie Sandwiches adapted from the Mountain Rose blog Cookies
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Chai Spice – 3/4 tsp cinnamon powder, 1/2 tsp cardamom powder, 1/4 tsp ginger powder, 1/8 tsp clove powder, 1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
14 TBS vegan margarine, softened
1 cup vegan sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats Filling
4 TBS vegan margarine, softened
4 TBS vegan shortening, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp soymilk
Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chai spice together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat margarine and sugars until fluffy and creamy. Add yogurt and vanilla to butter mixture and beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until it just becomes smooth. Gradually add oats and mix until well combined. Roll balls of 2 TBS of dough and place on baking sheets. Gently press down each ball. Bake until cookies are golden brown, for 16-18 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheets to wire rack to cool.
Make filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together margarine and shortening. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until well combined. Beat in vanilla and soy milk. When cookies have fully cooled, slather the flat side of a cookie with frosting. Top with another cookie and push down slightly. Makes 12 dessert cookie sandwiches.