There are few things I love more than a warm cookie right out of the oven. Even in the middle of summer. There is something so comforting about the warmth, the chewiness, and, of course, the sweetness. When I was a kid the first thing I learned to make on my own was cookies. There were all kinds of stumbling blocks along the way as I experimented with baking. Some of them were fiascoes, like the time I used a tablespoon of baking soda instead of a teaspoon. But some of them turned into specialties, like the time I let the chocolate chips get too chopped up in the food processor and the result were sugar cookies with chocolate swirls running through them. My dad called them “spider cookies” and they were his favorite for years.
And yet for years I experienced a combination of craving and guilt when it came to baked goods. I was constantly trying to control myself, which often left me wanting more and thinking about the leftovers incessantly. I would negotiate with myself, finding ways to get another cookie or rationalizing why I should have “just one more.” It was exhausting and stressful and, honestly, took a lot of joy out of eating the treats. So finding a balance in my life where I could eat what I enjoyed and not feel deprived was essential. One of the ways to find that balance was to find ways to make some of my favorite baked goods healthier, but still deliciously satisfying. The interesting thing is that once I found the right balance and was comfortable with the foods I was eating, the intense cravings started to dissipate. The enjoyment was there and the forbidden-ness was gone. It was a revelation!
One of the recipes that helped to get me there was this Oatmeal Cookie recipe. In developing this recipe I started with a favorite from my childhood and tweaked until I found the balance that would work for me. The sugar is cut in half, they are made with whole wheat flour, and they hold the benefits of walnuts and dried fruit. And the best part? They are AWESOME! I even have one friend who requests these as a Christmas gift each year! I hope that you will enjoy them as much as my family, friends, and I do and that they help you on a path to guilt-free enjoyment of food.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, chopped into smaller pieces
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup raisins, currants, or dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 375 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, cream the butter and sugar until smooth.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
- Add walnuts and mix until they are well chopped up.
- Add in flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until just blended.
- Add oats and dried fruit and pulse once or twice, then finishing mixing in with a spoon.
- Spoon out small amounts, about 1 ½ Tablespoons, onto the baking sheets.
- Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets at 5 minutes, if necessary.
- Remove from oven and cool on cooling racks (or eat one or two warm!).
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