Monday, January 12, 2009

Recipe Review Monday

I'm going to try something different and review recipes on Mondays, as time allows. There will be no rhyme or reason as to where the recipes originate. Like any foodie worth their sea salt, I follow lots of food blogs. I belong to a forum which has become a source for many of my new favorite recipes. I read cookbooks for fun, and I'm a big fan of Cooking Light - especially since they have gotten back to using real ingredients like butter and real cheese, rather than gross chemically-altered substitutes. Once in a while, I even come up with something myself. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, you know. The hard part with my so-called recipes is actually remembering to write down ingredients, and proportions, and what I actually did. I'm one of those "pinch of this and that" and "cook it til it's done" kinda cooks. The way my Grandma cooked, the way my Dad cooked... the only way I know how to cook.

It actually stresses me out in some ways to have to follow a recipe. This is surprising, because my career prior to becoming an ass-wipin' lifesaver was as a baker and cake decorator. Ask anyone who knows and they'll tell you that baking is purely science. There is wiggle room in cooking, and room for individual interpretation; in baking, not so much. Screw with proportions too much, start that "little of this, little of that" crap with the wrong ingredients, and you can end up with hockey pucks instead of muffins.

So, having said that, what is the first recipe I'm going to post and review? A fool-proof pasta sauce, maybe? A great appetizer? How about my favorite side dish? Nope.

A cookie. Not just a cookie. A cookie made with healthy, non-processed ingredients, without the flour/butter/sugar combination found in 99.9% of the cookie recipes we tend to use. This is what attracted me to this particular cookie.

Let me first credit the source of this recipe: 101 Cookbooks
If you're going to browse this site, leave a trail of fresh-baked, organic bread crumbs, 'cause it's easy to get lost for hours in the huge variety of healthful recipes. The other wonderful tool on the site is that you can search recipes by category, or by ingredient. The photographs of the finished product are gorgeous, bordering on (food) pornographic. So without further adieu...

Nikki's Healthy Cookies - from 101 Cookbooks
3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid (or alternately, olive oil)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 - 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect - just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.


I really liked how these cookies turned out. They are dense, and only minimally sweet. I opted to use coconut oil, and really liked the mellow coconutty flavor in the background of these; The banana flavor is pretty subtle. I added a sprinkle of Demerara to the tops as I took them out of the oven, for just a little sweetness. I'm sure if you wanted to sweeten them up, you could opt to use sweetened shredded coconut, or a sweetened chocolate chip. I used an 85% cacao dark chocolate bar, chopped up. If you like the flavors of coconut, banana and dark chocolate, as long as you're not expecting the typical extremely sweet treat, I'll bet you'll enjoy this cookie.

These would be a great treat at the midpoint of a long hike.


  1. Oh My Goodness!!

    I am drooling.

    All my favourite one place! :cry:

    Chocolate, Bananas, Coconut and Almond (Meal). Dammit Janis! I'm dieting1

  2. They spelled your name wrong, though. That wasn't nice. Ps they're even better out of the freezer. I'm gonna have to hide them from myself.