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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies - An Oxymoron? - Maybe not!

The last thing I think of while devouring... umm eating cookies, is "healthy eating". Cookies translate to something sweet and decadent. At this point, you are probably wondering - what's up with this title then! Please read on. I enjoy cookies as much as the next person, but I also feel guilty after eating them (what's the saying? once on the lips, forever.... ).  It so happens that I run down to the cafe a couple of times a week, to get an afternoon snack, but faced with limited options, I end up getting chips or cookies. This just adds to my guilt. So, finally I decided it would be a better idea if I made cookies with healthy ingredients, cut back on the sugar and fat. Homemade is the best right? So, I used oatmeal, whole wheat flour, wheat bran and apple sauce. The end result was healthy and akin to granola bars. The texture is more on the "cracker" side because I baked them till they were well browned and no longer soft. (Of course you can stop when they are cooked through if you like soft cookies.) Now, there is no guilt, I can indulge and  it is a great to go breakfast. Tasty, filling and sweet minus the decadence. The best part is that my family loved it too.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp wheat bran
2 cups rolled oats (not the quick 1 min cook ones)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins

Grease a cookie sheet/ baking sheet and heat the oven to 350F. Sieve together the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the wheat bran and mix with a whisk. In another bowl, whisk together the egg and vanilla extract. To it add the melted butter, apple sauce, both sugars and mix well. To this add the wheat flour mixture and stir till ingredients are mixed. Then fold in the rolled oats. Using an icecream scoop or two spoons, scoop a little mixture into small dollops onto the sheet. Make sure you leave a couple inches between the dollops, as the cookies will expand while baking. Bake the cookies for about 20-30 minutes or more till they are brown. I baked them till they were well browned and dry. If you prefer soft cookies, stop baking when they are light brown and cooked through.

You can substitute the white sugar with brown sugar as well. The cookies will be a little less sweet. Brown sugar is white sugar mixed with molasses. I am not sure how much healthier it is compared to white sugar, but the resultant dishes are definitely  less sweet.


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