Banana Oat Nut Protein Cookies (with or without chocolate, with gluten free option!)
I have a middle-schooler now, and he’s in cross country. They have meets after school. He needs good snack food. He also needs a lot of food; he’s at that “bottomless pit” stage right about now–the only time he’s not hungry is when I put vegetables down in front of him at dinner time.
Last week I found this recipe for “Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies.” I’ve now tried them in three different iterations and proceeded to mess with the recipe a good bit, and in all versions they were pretty darned good. The kids scarf them down like there’s no tomorrow. Even when there are no chocolate chips in them. The Boy can take them to his practices and meets and be filling up with something that takes most of its calories from good protein-y things. (Except for the chocolate chips.)
So, here are the different versions–if you want to go gluten free, substitute almond flour for the whole wheat flour, and make sure you start with gluten-free oats if the trace amounts of gluten will mess you up. I’ve tried both, and they are both really good. Honestly, I bet oat flour would work just as well, or any basic gluten free flour (except coconut), since there’s not much of it and the oats carry most of the weight.
Banana Oat Nut Protein Cookies (with chocolate variation)
In a medium-sized bowl, mix:
- 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 large)
- 1/2 cup natural peanut, almond, or other nut butter (or non-nut butter for allergies)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (recommend maple syrup for the chocolate variation)
- 2 tsp vanilla
Add, all at once (or mix the dry ingredients separately)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or almond flour for gluten free)
- 1.5 tbs ground flax seed
- 1.5 tbs oat bran (for the oat bran and flax seed, you could use all oat bran or all flax seed if you want)
- 1/4 cup powdered nonfat milk (or vanilla protein powder, but I don’t really like it) (for chocolate variation: 2 tbs each nonfat milk and unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon or other spice (omit or reduce for chocolate variation)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2-1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (or chocolate chips–especially if you used peanut butter)
The batter will be very gloppy, and it will spread only a little while baking. Drop by teaspoonfuls (for little cookies) or tablespoonfuls (for bigger cookies) onto parchment-covered cookie sheets and flatten; bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until slightly brown on the bottom.
So bottom line: for the “healthiest” version, leave out all chocolate and chips, and use cinnamon and unsweetened dried fruit. If you want a little choco-kick, add the other stuff. Notice the only fat in the recipe comes directly from your nut butter and/or almond flour, so it’s all to a good cause. Fat ain’t evil. But note that as good-ingredient-filled as these are, they are not low calorie. I did some calculations and figured out that if you make 2 dozen cookies from this recipe, it’s about 80-ish calories per cookie, more if you use almond flour and/or chocolate chips.
A note about the oats: I’d recommend starting with quicker rolled oats rather than the thick “old fashioned” ones, unless you like the chewy texture; the baking time isn’t long enough to really soften the oats if you start with bigger ones. I’m told you can toss thick-cut rolled oats in the food processor for a few pulses to break them up and they’ll work even better. I happen to like the chewy, oaty texture of the old fashioned oats, but I know not everyone does.
Let me know if you try these, and what other fun variations you might come up with!