Ah, February, the heart month. This is a month where we think about our love for other people and hopefully also our love for ourselves. This is also a month where winter begins to feel a bit long, the lack of sunlight seems to matter more than ever before, and we while we want something sweet, we also know that too many sweets will make us feel even more heavy or draggy. Enter these lovely cookies. Filled with heart-healthy oats, nuts, and seeds, and other health-promoting ingredients like coconut oil, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips, these cookies strike a perfect balance: tasty, sweet, chewy, but also filled with nutrition. They are also naturally-sweetened, so you won’t be going on an emotional sugar roller-coaster ride. I’m not the kind of person who could cut sweet things entirely from my eating plan – it just won’t happen. Instead my philosophy is to transform the sweets from nutritional voids to nutritional stars. Pack them full of good things and then they too can add nutrients, fibre, protein, and antioxidants to your diet. All told, these cookies are quality, and that’s what we want more of in our lives, both in the foods we eat and the relationships we have, no?
I should also mention that these cookies are based on a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook. I made a few tweaks, but the concept of incorporating toasted nuts, seeds, and ground oats into the batter is from her recipe. Whoever originally thought of grinding up nuts and seeds and putting them into cookie batter was a genius, though – seriously. The nuts and seeds add such outstanding flavour and nutrition, and seeing as I always have random bags of seeds and nuts in my fridge, it’s a nice way to use up the odds and ends.
A few questions you might have about this recipe:
- Can this recipe be gluten-free? Essentially it already is, but if you want to be airtight sure, be certain to use certified gluten-free oats and oat flour.
- Can you taste the chickpea flour? Chickpea flour does have a slightly…er…beany flavour. You can taste this a little bit in the batter, but not in the finished product.
- Can you taste the banana? Nope – no banana flavour.
- Can I skip the banana? The banana could be optional, but it helps bind the batter together and add a bit of additional moisture. If you don’t like or can’t eat banana, trying substituting 1/4 unsweetened applesauce or 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin.
- How toasted should the nuts and seeds be? That’s totally up to you, but I think to keep the most nutrition probably very light is best – only 3 or 4 minutes under the broiler. I accidentally toasted my seeds to within an inch of their lives once, and while the cookies still tasted great, I don’t think blasting the healthy oils with excess heat did them any favours.
Heart-Healthy Vegan Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cranberries & Dark Chocolate
- 1 cup oat flour (certified gluten-free if you want to be 100% sure)
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup rolled oats (divided into 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup)
- 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
- 3/4 cup mixed nuts and seeds (I used almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey, if non-vegan – just be sure your honey comes from a reputable apiary that really cares for its bees)
- 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
- 2 tsps chia seeds
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 overripe mashed banana (or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin)
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- In a small pan (without oil) or under your oven broiler, lightly toast nuts and seeds until just fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- Plump cranberries by covering with warm water. Let sit for about 10 mins, then drain.
- When cool, mix toasted nuts and seeds with 1/2 cup rolled oats and grind in a food processor until fine.
- In a large bowl, mix together oat flour, chickpea flour, remaining 1/2 cup rolled oats, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
- Add ground nut/oat mixture and whisk until combined.
- Combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, chia seeds, vanilla, and mashed banana.
- Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and gently mix. When almost fully combined, stir in cranberries, chocolate chips, and coconut.
- Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until bottoms are golden.
- Share these cookies with people you like. Tough breaks for the people you don’t like!