Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Breakfast Cookie

It has been far too long since I have shared a recipe with you. These cookies are super yummy and far healthier than the average sweet treat with chocolate chips. I contemplated selling these, but I am finding my path in the culinary world more focused on educating people on how to make their own foods, and sharing my recipes, to aid in that goal.

Having some key recipes (snacks, appetizers, quick meals, freezer meals, pantry staples, desserts)in your  repertoire frees you immeasurably. You have things to bring to pot lucks, you can make your family healthy and happy with traditional foods, and you can budget your costs. 

In that spirit, I offer you the Hidden Valley Camper Cookie, later renamed The Breakfast Cookie, due to their hearty texture and healthy ingredients, not to mention portability! These cookies work for  breakfasts, snacks, and desserts...for myself, they are best consumed early in the day, as they are packed with energy but I hear they make nice late night delights as well. My first offering then, is a combination Breakfast/Dessert Combo! Rare sighting.

A few quick notes about ingredients.  Please use the best (Organic, local) wherever possible. Thanks to substituting a chia seed gel for eggs, you are replacing that cholesterol with the best plant (seed) source of Omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium and hydration/blood sugar regulation. If you can find grassfed butter, please use it!  Cinnamon too has an impressive nutritional profile, and replacing table salt with a mineral salt like pink Himalayan or Real Utah is better tasting, and better for you. The addition of sucanat (dehydrated cane juice) to the sweeteners adds another dose of minerals lacking in cookies made with all refined/brown sugar.  Similarly, whole grain flour and almond meal cut the amount of refined flour content and up the nutritional value. Guittard milk chocolate chips are my favorite, by far. Not only are they a local company, I used their products for years before I knew. I wonder if they would make Non-GMO verification? That would be wonderful.  UPDATE: Guittard labels their products "GMO Free" (Dreams do come true!)

I know sugar and flour are generally considered by all health professionals "the enemy", and of course they should be eaten in moderation but ... what's better than cookies for breakfast?! Okay, besides bacon. I jest, I jest.... or do I?!

The Breakfast Cookie
(If you have a six quart mixing bowl, you can easily double this recipe.)

To make Cookie Chia Gel
1 T organic chia seeds 
1/4 cup water

Add chia seeds to water in a container with lid. Shake or stir a few times, allowing to "bloom" for 15 minutes, set aside. This step can be done in advance or while preparing the recipe.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup sucanat
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cookie Chia Gel
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup whole grain flour (ie. whole wheat, spelt, graham)
1/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (Himalayan pink fine grain, Utah Real fine grain, or Kosher)
3 cups Quaker oats, 1-minute quick
 6 oz. Guittard milk chocolate chips (about 1/2 of a standard bag)

In a standing mixer, cream butter, brown sugar and cane sugar for 4 minutes, scraping bowl as needed. Add sucanat and vanilla extract. Once incorporated, add chia gel and mix until evenly distributed, under a minute.  Turn mixer off.

In another bowl, or gallon sized Ziploc bag, combine flour, whole grain flour, almond meal, baking soda, cinnamon and salt - stir to combine.  With mixer on lowest setting, gradually incorporate the flour mixture to the butter and chia base. Add oats 1 cup at a time, and then finally the chocolate chips.

Using a standard cookie scoop or two spoons (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons), portion dough about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet (I double my parchment up and use it to bake the whole batch) . Because there is no egg, you need to then flatten the dough. I press in the center and make the dough the thickness of a chocolate chip, ensuring chips aren't stacked and reforming edges that may have cracked. There should be about 1/2 inch between cookies at this point. This step just takes an extra minute, and not one to skip unless you want partially cooked gooey chia middles.

Bake for 8 minutes, rotating and cooking for another 3 -4 minutes, or until they have puffed and fallen, and are a medium golden brown on the entire exterior. Allow to cool for several minutes before handling, and then transfer and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

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