So You Say You Want a Healthy Cookie Recipe: Oaty Banana-Chocolate Chip Cookies

So you want a cookie, right?  Because cookies are wonderful and why wouldn’t you want a cookie?  But maybe you’re a pretty healthy eater, like myself, and want a cookie that won’t leave you feeling sick with sugar overload afterwards.  Maybe, just maybe, you want a cookie that will fit into your typical eating habits and not disrupt your nutritious lifestyle.

Well, here you are.

I love these cookies.  Mind you, these are not traditional bake shop cookies and might be quite a different experience for many cookie go-ers.  Because of the oats, the texture is chunky and chewy, not smooth.  I definitely can see how that could throw you for a loop if you haven’t had a cookie like this before.  I happen to find the texture of them really very satisfying.  They are dense and filling.  They taste like a treat and feel like a hearty snack.

Speaking of taste, the banana and chocolate in these come together beautifully. Chocolate and banana are (in case you didn’t know) very good friends.  I haven’t tried them with a different add-in, but I also suspect that replacing the chocolate chips with dried cranberries or blueberries would also be wonderful.

I think these taste best once cooled.  The sweet from the banana comes through much clearer then.  So, I know many of you love a warm cookie, but definitely wait to try some once they’ve come to room temperature for the full flavor experience.

The bonus, as I mentioned earlier, is that they really are a pretty clean, nutritious cookie option.  Whole wheat, whole grain oats, banana and minimal added sugar makes for a delicious, good-for-you snack.

I made these cookies vegan by using a vegan dark chocolate chip.  You can use milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate if you like.  You can also easily play with the size of these cookies.  I made them fairly small for a quick snack, but I think that baking them in larger portions could make for a tasty morning treat.  Eat one alongside a piece of fruit, cup of yogurt, or bowl of nuts and granola and you’ve got a delicious breakfast to start your day!

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Oaty Banana Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Adapted from Cookie + Kate

Makes 30 small cookies

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • ½ tspn baking soda
  • ½ tspn salt
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 2 tblspns coconut oil (melted) or Earth Balance (or butter if making non-vegan)
  • 1/3 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tblspn egg replacer + 3 tblspns water (or 1 large egg, if you prefer)
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ tspn vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips or carob chips

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your baking sheet by either spraying with cooking spray or lining with a sheet of parchment.
  2. Combine your flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.  Toss together with a fork or whisk until well combined.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the sugars and Earth Balance or coconut oil.
  4. Add the egg replacer mixed with water and beat in to the sugar mixture.  Follow with both the mashed banana and vanilla extract.  Beat until all ingredients are soft and combined.
  5. In batches, pour in your flour mixture, stirring well with a wooden spoon or spatula after each batch.  Stir together until all ingredients are combined.
  6. Pour in your chocolate chips and fold into the batter.
  7. For smaller cookies, use a tablespoon measurement to drop batches of dough onto your prepared baking sheet.  Bake in batches, for approximately 10 minutes each, until all cookies are done.  They will brown slightly and plump up a bit.
  8. Move each batch to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

Recipe: Hummingbird (Banana-Pineapple) Cake with Pineapple Frosting

Earlier in the week, I mentioned a birthday cake.  As the week has gone by I have been eager to come back to that topic.  This birthday cake, you see, has been on my mind.

It has lingered in my consciousness because it was (I think) a big success!  I still get nervous about baking cakes, in a way I do not about baking other items.  I don’t feel apprehensive about baking cookies, muffins, brownies, scones, or even cupcakes; but there is something special about creating a quality cake, particularly if that cake is to be presented and shared with someone as a celebratory gift.

I had inquired with the birthday man in question about what kind of cake he would like and he expressed a desire for a banana-pineapple cake.

Whoa.

I’m not sure why that seemed so intimidating to me – but it was.  After doing some research, I discovered that banana-pineapple cakes were actually, like, a thing.  They had a proper name and all.  Hummingbird cake.  It’s a lovely name, isn’t it?  It sounds like a delicate and beautiful baked treat.

Finding several recipes for hummingbird cake, I settled upon one that looked like the best bet to me, made a couple of adaptations, and set to work.

The process? = Much easier than I had anticipated

The result? = A deliciously moist cake, rich with flavors from the fruits, cinnamon, and vanilla

Hooray for cake success!

This cake was quite fitting for the season, too.  It felt like a farewell to summer, served on the first day of fall.  With the pineapple providing a last hurrah for warm weather days and the warmth of the banana and cinnamon welcoming autumn, it was a great cake for transitioning the seasons.

The recipe for the pineapple cream cheese frosting which finished the cake is also included below.   I hope you enjoy it all as much as we did!

Hummingbird Cake

Adapted from myrecipes.com

Makes 1 8-9 inch square or 8-9 inch round cake

Ingredients:

1 cup Whole-Wheat Cake Flour

½ cup White Whole Wheat Flour (or AP Flour)

½ tspn baking soda

¼ tspn kosher salt

3/4 cup raw cane sugar

½ tspn ground cinnamon

1 tblspn egg replacer + 3 tblspns water (or 1 large egg)

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

1.5 tblspns coconut oil, melted (15-30 seconds in a microwave should do it)

1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)

1 tspn vanilla extract

4 oz crushed pineapple, with juice

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat the square or round cake pan of your choice with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the egg replacer and water mixture, applesauce, melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and crushed pineapple.  Stir until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Stir well with a spoon until the mixture is combined and all the flour is incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cool in pan for approximately 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow cake to continue cooling on a wire rack.  Once completely cooled, top with pineapple cream cheese frosting (or frosting of your choice).  A smattering of chopped nuts on top of the frosting is purely optional, but makes a lovely presentation.

Pineapple Cream-Cheese Frosting

Makes more than enough to frost one 8-9 inch cake

Ingredients:

4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese/Neufchatel (standard or vegan)

½ tblspn butter or Earth Balance

2-3 cups powdered sugar

½ tblspn vanilla extract

2-3 tblspns crushed pineapple, with juices

Preparation:

  1. Combine cream cheese, butter/Earth Balance, and vanilla in a bowl and beat on high speed with a mixer until combined and somewhat creamy.  (It will be fairly stiff at this point.)
  2. Add the powdered sugar in batches, until you have reached your desired level of sweetness (I used about 2.5 cups), continuing to beat mixture after each batch is added.
  3. Add in pineapple, a tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition.  Check for flavor and consistency.  If you want a thicker frosting, you may need to add additional sugar, but for a thinner frosting (more similar to a glaze), add more of the pineapple liquid to the mixture.

*** The frosting will continue to thicken up after it sits for a while.  I made my batch a bit thinner than a traditional cream-cheese frosting, so that it almost seeped over the edge of the cake when I frosted it.  I thought it was delicious this way and it did firm up further as the cake sat for a couple of hours.