Winter decided to arrive all at once here in Connecticut and it got here just as I was getting serious about some nutrition changes I am trying out. I don’t bake all that much unless the weather turns bad, but when it snows, I break out the cookie sheets.
I’m really not going to turn this into a cooking blog, but I have been diving pretty head-first into the nutrition stuff, which is a story for another post. But that meant I didn’t want to go for homemade bread or Aidan’s and my favorite molasses cookies or, wait, those things sound pretty good actually…. Nonetheless, sticking to possibly healthy treats, since the snow started, I’ve made the Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies from the Run Fast. Eat Slow cookbook by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky and something called Honey Almond Breakfast Cakes from a recipe I had kicking around from Innovative Fitness and Wellness. My actual breakfast is almost always oatmeal and a protein shake, not cookies or cake of any kind, but these seemed like fun recipes to try.
So, first the Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies. I bought Run Fast. Eat Slow last summer when it came out, but I wasn’t initially impressed. I made a black bean recipe that was a bit blah, nothing special, and I was turned off that the recipes don’t include nutrition information. I understand the philosophy behind that choice, but I also want to know what I’m eating and how many calories I am putting in my mouth. But, I’ve been reading a blog called Salty Running and one of their writers did a great series where she made a bunch of recipes from the cookbook and then also graded them. The Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies got As on everything from taste to easiness and only scored poorly on cost, but I decided to give them a try. I already had baked sweet potato in the fridge so these were really easy to put together.
I also know that you are not allowed to copyright recipes (!!), so here it is, with my modifications:
Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies
- 3 cups oatmeal
- 1 cup almond flour (This is one of the expensive ingredients. With the amount of this stuff I’ve gone through in the past month, I am should buy stock in almond farms or something. But, I just found some for much less on amazon.)
- 1 T grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger (I used ground.)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp fine sea salt (I used regular salt. I mean, c’mon.)
- 1 cup sweet potato puree (I had a baked sweet potato in the fridge so I just put it in the food processor. I think you can buy this in the can, but I always have sweet potatoes hanging around my fridge.)
- ½ cup maple syrup (Another expensive ingredient, but we were out of this because of my children’s addiction to the stuff. I substituted brown sugar and water. For 1 cup maple syrup, you’re supposed to substitute about 1 1/3 cup brown sugar plus 3 T water so I cut that in half, more or less.)
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted (I substituted butter because I hate the flavor of coconut.)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ cup raisins (I left these out because I don’t care for raisins in baked goods.)
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Blend oats in blender or food processor and combine in large bowl with almond flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together sweet potato puree, maple syrup, coconut oil (Gross! Use butter!), vanilla, and shudder raisins (if you like them. If I were going to throw dried fruit in here, which I am not likely to do, I would put in dried cranberries).
- Use ¼ cup measuring cup to drop batter onto baking sheet. Press cookies down a bit to flatten them out. For me, this made 14 cookies.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until bottoms are deep golden brown.
I have to say, these were amazing. They were not too sweet and just the right amount of oat-y without tasting anything like granola. They hardly seemed like “cookies,” more like some kind of not terribly unhealthy snack. Everyone in my family loved them except Aidan, who is anti-sweet potato, and even he thought they were pretty good. I gave one to Snarky Girl and she wants the recipe (here it is, Snarky Girl). These are good enough that I am hoping to make more to take as a present to some folks. I’ll probably double the recipe because my family ate the whole thing in less than 24 hours.
I know Shalane and Elyse want you not to worry about calories and just eat “real food” but screw that. Here’s the nutrition break down for stuff I care about with my substitutes, calculated courtesy of myfitnesspal.com (a.k.a., MFFP – you can guess what the extra F is for). Also, it turns out one cookie apparently gives you 57% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. Who knew and sweet potatoes for the win!
So, are these low carb? Not really. Not exactly low in fat or sugar either, if anyone is watching those. They do turn out to be gluten free, though, if that’s what you’re looking for. If you can stand the taste of coconut, they could be vegan. Which makes me wonder what would happen if I subbed in applesauce for the butter/coconut oil, but that’s an experiment for another day.
Next up was Honey Almond Breakfast Cakes. I know chocolate is supposed to be the way to a woman’s heart, but actually almond-based sweets are the way into mine and these sounded delicious. In fact, this recipe is the reason I originally bought almond flour, but then I used it all up making the Superhero Muffins, also from Run Fast. Eat Slow. In fact, I am revising my view of that cookbook because except for the blah black beans, everything else has been good. I think it was probably a mistake to buy the Kindle version because I am missing out on the gorgeous pictures and it’s a little awkward to keep flipping the pages on the Kindle. Anyhow, back to the Honey Almond Breakfast Cakes. Innovative Fitness and Wellness (my beloved gym, for anyone who hasn’t figured that out yet) has a new recipe every week and I can generally count on these to be tasty and healthy so I’ve made quite a few of them. I needed to keep Rose (and myself….) occupied on day three of wow-that-is-a-lot-of-snow-out-there so we tried these.
Rose requested this for Christmas last year and her grandparents got it for her. It’s an R2D2 measuring cup set.
Honey Almond Breakfast Cakes
- 5 cups almond flour (Basically, you are already broke after reading that. I cut this recipe in half the first time I made it just to keep almond flour consumption somewhat under control.)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt (or, you know, regular salt.)
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 5 T coconut oil (By now my view on this is clear – I substituted butter, melted.)
- 2 T honey
- 4-5 T almond or coconut milk (guess which I used, ha ha!)
- 4 eggs
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- In another bowl, whisk butter and honey together. (I am not even going to pretend about the coconut oil.)
- Add almond milk and eggs to butter/honey mixture and whisk.
- Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix completely.
- Either roll into balls or scoop with spoon onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake 15-18 minutes until firm to touch on top.
- Garnish with sliced almonds, honey, maple syrup, fruit or just eat, as is.
This recipe didn’t have serving sizes so I wasn’t sure what to aim for. I decided I’d rather make little balls than larger more pancake-sized servings so that’s what we went with. With our half recipe, we made 10 little cakes, just about the size of walnuts. These turned out to not be very sweet at all and Aidan and I both topped ours with a little bit of honey, though Rose and Mervus ate theirs plain. We easily ate all 10 little cakes in one sitting and that included the family negotiation whereby 10/4 doesn’t come out evenly so the kids score extra. Aidan declared that the only thing wrong with this recipe was that it didn’t make more little cakes. I am not sure if these are intended as a substitute for pancakes and if they are, they seemed like too much work and too expensive, especially given how many pancakes my kids can eat. But, having made them once, it would go quicker next time and with my new-and-much-cheaper source of almond flour, I would absolutely make them again. They were a lovely afternoon snack. Nutrition information, again courtesy of the recipe calculator on myfitnesspal.com:
These have more fat than the Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies, but they do turn out to be pretty low carb and quite high in protein for a very small “cake”. They also turn out to be gluten free and they didn’t taste at all like some kind of intentionally-good-for-you dessert. These actually tasted a bit elegant and fancy and I would be tempted to serve them with sliced almonds on top of clotted cream and drizzled with honey as part of a truly stellar afternoon tea. I wouldn’t limit them to breakfast. In fact, I wouldn’t serve them for breakfast at all because I like something heartier in the morning. My kids would clearly be happy eating them any time at all!
Have you tried any of the recipes from Run Fast, Eat Slow? Which ones did you like?