Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Low Fat and Vegan
This recipe was a long time coming. Don’t find this weird, but I often dreamt about these cookies, dancing around me in a little circle of deliciousness. Well, I mean I dreamt of what I imagined these cookies would be, if I had brought them into existence yet. After making ages ago Pastry Affair’s oat and sultana cookies I just couldn’t get them out of my head. They were seriously so good! So buttery and oaty and chocolatey. But they weren’t exactly healthy, despite what I tried to convince myself of with all those nutritious oats and chocolatey antioxidants.
I’m a firm believer in not making something taste bad for the sake of healthiness. It makes me mad when I see recipes for “birthday cake” which is actually a giant melon shaped as a cake covered in 99% reduced fat processed whip-cream sweetened with stevia. I mean come on people. What the actual *&#$. If someone presented me that on my birthday and I cut in to it expecting cake I would smash it on their head.
So I really didn’t want to make these cookies until I could think of a way to recreate the buttery, flaky oat cookies in all their glory. What was the answer you wonder? Peanut Butter! Sweet and nutty food of the Gods. I referred to Gluten Free Vegan Girl’s recipe as well as Healthy Chef’s recipe and ended up combining features of both in what came out as exactly the perfect cookie that lived up to my memories.
The cookies are sweetened with banana, dates and a tiny smidge of honey or maple syrup and they’re full of raisins and chocolate chunks. The quinoa flour makes them really flavoursome and adds heaps of health benefits as well, but you can substitute almond flour or hazelnut flour if you don’t have it. Similarly with the peanut butter, to make a nut-free version omit the butter and add in coconut butter or olive or macadamia oil. Add an extra teaspoon of honey or syrup as well. They won’t have that yummy flavour of peanut butter but they’ll still taste great.
These cookies are super healthy despite tasting as good as they do. The quinoa flour and oats have a much better protein content than plain flour, and the natural sweeteners take out all of the processed sugar and fats that normally go in to cookies. I love cookies, even giant ones full of chocolate and caramel, but I always feel a bit sick after eating them and still end up eating another one anyway…these aren’t like that. You could eat a couple for breakfast and feel fab, they have lots of slow-burning energy in them especially with the optional nuts and flax seeds.
Each cookie is about 140-160 calories and don’t worry, this isn’t one of those recipes that says “makes thirty for each 100 calories” and you end up making eight. Twelve generous cookies easily comes out of this recipe. They do have a downfall, and that’s their appearance. Please forgive the very average photography today! Me and my camera were not having the best cohesion. Sometimes I feel really great about the photo aspect of the blog but sometimes I feel like a great big amateur struggling with every shot, stuck in awkward angles and lightings that are impossible to break out of. But they do taste great! And that’s all that matters hey? Hey??? So make sure you give them a go.
130g (1 + 1/2 cups) rolled oats (not instant)
1 tsp cinnamon
60g (1/2 cup) quinoa flour or almond meal
60g (1/3 cup) raisins or sultanas
100g (4 ounces) vegan + sugar free dark chocolate chunks (or more dried fruit)
60g (2 + 1/2 tbsp) peanut butter
60g (1/2 cup) seeded medjool dates, soaked briefly in water
60g (3 tablespoons) honey or maple syrup
2 medium (1 cup mashed, 300g) bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: 50g each (1/3 cup) flax seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds or walnuts
Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and line two cookie trays with baking paper. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, spices, flour, nuts and seeds, dried fruit and chocolate.
In a blender, combine the dates, peanut butter, honey or syrup, banana and vanilla and blend until smooth. Use a large spoon to mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Use an ice cream scoop or small ladle to grab even scoops of cookie dough and place them on the trays. Bake for 17-22 minutes, swapping the trays halfway through. The cookies are done when they are completely cooked on the outside but still slightly soft. They’ll firm up on the trays.