Friday, May 17, 2013

Banana Drop Cookies

So I've been on a health kick lately. I'm trying really hard to train for some 5ks this summer in addition to losing baby weight. We have been doing juicing, blending and increasing our physical activity as a family. The hardest part when I'm trying to eat right is avoiding sweets. I completely and thoroughly enjoy a well-made dessert. I've been on a quest for healthful cookies. It seems like they either aren't truly healthful or they taste healthful (and not in a good way). It's hard finding both. Because we enjoy juicing frequently we always have fruit pulp leftover. We felt guilty throwing this nutritional bi-product away, so I tried thinking of ways to use it. We use it as organic compost for our garden, but I wanted to benefit from the fiber. I decided to try adding some of the pulp to these cookies as a source of fiber and it turned out great. You couldn't even tell that it was in there. If you don't juice, don't worry about adding the pulp to the cookies. It's completely optional.

So as far as the cookies I couldn't believe how yummy they turned out and they are packed with so many good-for-you ingredients. I also love that they are dairy and fat-free (if not using chocolate chips) and packed full of fiber. They are the perfect balance of sweet and chewy and I loved the texture of the chia and flax seeds with the oats. And they are SO moist! If you haven't tried adding chia and flax seeds into your diet, you are missing out on some great benefits. You can buy either at health food stores, but I have found mine at my local Winco and Kitchen Kneads stores for a fraction of the price. Maybe I'll do a post on the nutritional benefits of these lovely seeds for those of you that don't know much about them.

I  really loved the addition of the dark chocolate chips to this recipe. These can be optional if you want these to be more healthful, but I thought a few added a great flavor and made me feel like I was eating regular cookies. If you freeze your ripe bananas and you use them for these cookies, you may need a little more agave for sweetness. I've made these cookies with fresh and frozen bananas and I've noticed that I don't need any extra sweetener when I use fresh bananas.

I hope you enjoy these. I love that I can still have a little something sweet without completely breaking my weight-loss goals. I love storing the leftovers in the fridge--they taste SO good cold!

Here's what you need: Makes 25-30 cookies

3 ripe bananas, mashed with some chunks
1/3 C unsweetened applesauce
1/4 C almond milk
1 T chia seeds
1 T flax seeds
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 T agave (or stevia)
2/3 C dried fruit, cranberries and raisins mixed together
1/3 C dark chocolate chips or carob chips
2 C oatmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c fruit pulp, opt

1. Preheat oven  to 350 degrees. Combine mashed bananas, applesauce, almond milk, cinnamon salt, agave and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Add baking soda and stir until incorporated

2. Add chia and flax seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips, oatmeal and fruit pulp if desired. Stir until well incorporated.

3. Spoon on to parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350° for 15-16 min until top begins to brown.

4. Remove from oven and allow to rest on baking sheet 2-3 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and enjoy a cookie while they are still warm. :)

Enjoy and Happy Baking! (And Healthful Eating!)

Here is the printable recipe.