Cookies: What's For Breakfast

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Breakfast Cookies

Lately people have been talking about dessert for breakfast. First there was Nicholas Bakalar's article for The New York Times proclaiming that eating dessert at breakfast could help folks lose weight. The gist? Bakalar reported on a study done putting 144 obese people on different diets. Those on the diet that included more carbs and a small slice of dessert in the morning lost an additional 13 pounds during the 16-week follow-up. Those on the dessert regimen boasted lower levels of ghrelin and reported feeling fuller longer. At first, this seems like fabulous news to all of us who love a little sliver of cake in the mornings: finally!

Baking Breakfast Cookies
Breakfast Cookies Hot Out of the Oven!

The health portion of the news is certainly news, but eating dessert for breakfast is nothing new, now is it? Nutella has been a socially acceptable choice for quite some time, and food bloggers like Deb of Smitten Kitchen have even created spin-offs of the popular chocolate spread. We've long had coffeecake, and have admired its many adaptations into apple praline coffeecake or Pumpkin Coffee Cake. Then of course, we start chatting region with anything from New York Style Coffeecake to a gooey Midwest version.

There have always been donuts. These days there is even donut bread pudding or even donut ice cream. From crepes to beignets to waffles and blintzes, sweet breakfast foods have been on restaurant menus and our own tables for years. For some reason, cookies simply haven't made the bridge from afternoon treat to morning breakfast. It's time to fix that.

Raisins and Pecans
Laying Out Ingredients


This recipe for breakfast cookies is one of my favorite recipes I've developed in quite some time. I knew I wanted something with whole-grain flour and oats that didn't rely on butter, had a nice spice profile, and was loaded with nuts, coconut and raisins. This recipe uses coconut oil, a wonderful fat source that I've been using for many of my baking recipes and much of my stovetop savory cooking lately (it's very heat stable, so unlike olive oil, it withstands very high temperatures). Melissa Clark wrote about coconut oil last year, exploring its quick transition from fatty villian to health food store prom queen.

coconut oil
Trader Joe's Coconut Oil: The Most Used Ingredient in my Kitchen

Perhaps the growing vegan population can be largely attributed to this face-lift as coconut oil gives baked goods moisture and flakiness without the animal fat component. Clark says it has a "haunting, nutty, vanilla flavor. It’s even milder and richer tasting than butter, sweeter and lighter textured than lard, and without any of the bitterness you sometimes get in olive oil." You keep coconut oil room temperature and it remains good for two years. The best news: it used to be quite expensive but now Trader Joe's carries it. This recipe is your excuse to make a beeline right on over there.

The nice thing about this cookie is its versatility. Use the base recipe as a vehicle to add your own favorite nuts and fruits. Pistachios and dried apricots would be wonderful and so would dried cherries and almonds. The ingredient list looks long upon first glance, but it's really the dried spices that take up the visual landscape. In all reality, these are an almost-one-bowl affair and don't even require a stand-mixer or beaters. If you're anything like me, you'll just mix these with your hands and call it a day. They're that simple. And if you're smart, you'll double the recipe and freeze a few. Especially if you're baking these off at night when they magically become the un-breakfast cookie.

Breakfast Cookies

Coconut, Raisin and Pecan Breakfast Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Total Time: 25-30 minutes

Makes: 12 3-inch cookies

1 1/4 cups white-whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup bran cereal flakes
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut chips
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, oats, bran flakes, baking soda, baking powder,cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.

In another medium bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, maple syrup egg and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, fold the ingredients together until incorporated. Add the coconut chips, raisins and pecans and fold into the dough until evenly dispersed. At this point, I'll often use my hands and almost massage the dough quickly to make sure all of the wet and dry ingredients are joined. Let dough sit and rest 10 minutes.

Using between 2 to 3 tablespoons of dough, scoop out onto cookie sheet, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Use the palm of your hand to gently flatten the cookies until about 1/2-inch thick. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are firm on the outside but still slightly soft in the center. Allow cookies to cool slightly before enjoying. If kept in an air-tight container, they will be good for 3-4 days.

Other Dessert Recipes for Breakfast: