Cookie for Breakfast

I’ve had the same Saturday morning routine for nearly a year now; wake up a bit late- for me this means around 8 (8:30 if I’ve been up partying, like last Friday- I had two small glasses of hard cider after dinner. Party animal.) Then I have my morning lemon water, read a few blogs, change and make my way down to Birds and Beans- my favorite local coffee shop. There, I order my favorite breakfast of the week- a medium organic soy chai latte {the only time I drink soy milk… still too chicken to ask if they’d use my own almond milk. working on it.} and a breakfast cookie.

I LOVE this breakfast cookie. Choc full of whole oats, nuts and seeds, spiked with tangy cranberries throughout and the perfect balance of crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. And didn’t every kid dream of being able to eat cookies for breakfast? I know I did. It’s literally my dream come true. Or was, that is. Until I discovered my intolerance to gluten and I could no longer enjoy my Saturday morning treat.

My weekend breakfast cookie was, and still is probably the hardest thing- aside from beer (and pizza)- to give up on a gluten-free diet. I will admit I have had more than one momentary lapse of judgment and ordered my beloved breakfast sweet…let’s just say that didn’t end well. So I knew I was going to have to come up with a solution to my cookie yearning. The problem was, I knew if I was going to re-make this cookie I was going to do it right. The original cookie was definitely not gluten-free, more than likely contained both dairy and eggs, and-judging by the sweet taste, likely filled with refined sugars. Not my cup of tea, not my cup of tea at all.

So I set out to make the ultimate Saturday morning breakfast cookie to go along with my tea. I wanted to make sure it was:

vegan {no eggs or dairy}
free of refined sugars
packed with healthful ingredients to start my morning right
moist and chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside.

I found this recipe online and was overjoyed- bananas sounded like a perfect addition to my cookie quest! So I mashed up my banana, added my ingredients- the dough was perfect, crossed my fingers and waited.

What came out was, well, not exactly what I had expected. Fluffy and moist, with crunchy bits of almonds, sweet bites of raisins (I was out of cranberries) and an ever-so-slight banana taste. These cookies are amazing, don’t get me wrong- but they weren’t the crispy-chewy-sweet cookies I ate every Saturday. I was so disappointed. He quickly pointed out how good they were, and requested I make them for him every week for breakfast {yeah, okay honey…}, still I wasn’t convinced.

Then I ate one for breakfast topped with a little raw almond butter… WOW. They really tasted like breakfast! Much more than the cloyingly sweet cookies I was used to, and they were filling too! Perfect with an {almond milk} latte or as a quick grab-and-go meal. Maybe they weren’t the sweet, crispy perfection I grew to love at the coffee shop, but re-creating that without wheat, eggs, dairy or white sugar? Let’s be real- that’s nearly impossible. That’s not to say it won’t stop me from trying again and again- but for now, these babies are the perfect substitution. In fact, I think I may just have me another one….

Grab-and-go Breakfast Cookies

1 medium banana, mashed
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/4 cup sucanat
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (or whole wheat)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup raisins (or dried cranberrries)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mash banana and mix with flax, oil, milk, sucanat, maple and vanilla. Set aside.

2. Sift together flour, xanthan, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add dry to wet and mix until combined.

3. Stir in oats, almonds, sunflower seeds and dried fruit. Mix well, but be careful to not overmix. Dough should be very thick and almost able to stand on it’s own.

4. Place large mounds (~ 1/3 cup each) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in oven for 12 minutes or until top starts to turn golden.

5. Let cool for 5 minutes on pan, and transfer to a rack to cool. Enjoy warmed (will be crumbly) or with a bit of almond butter spread on top. Great with your morning coffee, tea or as the perfect one-handed meal!