Breakfast Cookies!

I think most of the recipes I’ve posted thus far have been dinner menu ideas, but today I want to talk about breakfast!  Some people, myself included, absolutely love breakfast and would never dream about starting the day without it.  Seriously, forced to skip a meal, I might just pick dinner, but take away my breakfast, and I might get a bit grumpy.  I come from a family of breakfast eaters.  We are up and at ’em early in the morning, and we always have our breakfast!  I can still remember waking up around 4 a.m. to the sound of my dad’s cereal spoon clanking the bowl.  He was eating breakfast before going hunting!

However, I’m willing to admit it.  I’m probably in the minority when it comes to my love of breakfast. In fact, I’m married to a guy who doesn’t always eat breakfast, and when he does, it’s only because he should (or because I made it for him!).  This is unfathomable to me, but I’m learning to come to grips with it.  🙂

Some people simply aren’t hungry first thing in the morning.  (I’m with you if I ate late at night, but I like going to bed on an empty stomach.)  Other people say that breakfast makes them feel sick.  Others are so extremely rushed to get out the door and get to work or school, that breakfast takes a backseat to being on time (okay, I can understand that one).

The thing is, the numbers don’t lie.  Breakfast eaters do tend to have less weight issues than non-breakfast eaters.  A number of things could contribute to this, but a big one would probably be that we get busy with the day.  Then, when we finally sit down to eat something (maybe by now it’s lunch time or even worse, dinner!), we’re absolutely famished.  We eat the whole fridge and then some.

Other theories have arisen that eating within one hour of waking helps to boost your metabolism.  We are, essentially, breaking the fast that we experienced sleeping.  I really, really like this theory.  It makes me and my love of breakfast feel very justified.  I feel an “I told you so” cropping up, too.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t really appear to be a whole lot of actual scientific evidence to back this up.  Darn it.

However, I stick to my guns.  Breakfast is a good idea.  If anything, even if you’re not hungry, you may find you have better focus, clarity, and energy in the morning hours.  Even my husband can attest to that.

So, what do we do if know we “should” eat breakfast?  I’ve got a few suggestions.  First of all, if eating breakfast makes you sick, find something, anything that agrees with you.  Most people can handle a protein shake pretty well.  Just make it small.  Maybe an apple or some unsweetened applesauce would sit fairly well.  I’ve even found people who have come to me claiming to get sick if they eat breakfast, and then they end up loving oatmeal.  Find something that works for you.  Maybe it’s a glass of water and then an hour or two later, something small.  Work yourself into it, but find something that works!

I’ve got a great grab-and-go breakfast for those of you who simply don’t have time to prepare anything before rushing out the door.  They are called “Breakfast Cookies,” and they taste great!  I love packing them for my husband who may not take the time to grab something before leaving for work, but loves to find something in his lunchbox ready for him when he arrives at the office.  And while he’d probably jump for joy to find a blueberry lemon scone (I’ll admit…they’re my specialty, but they’re not necessarily good for you…), I pack a breakfast cookie instead.  The Hubs is typically wary of anything in baked good form that I’ve informed him is good for him.  He’d rather not eat it than eat a “healthy” muffin!  However, even these cookies passed the Hubby test of approval!  Granted, they’re not the absolute healthiest thing you’ll ever put into your mouth (they still have a bit of all-purpose flour and some sugar), but all in all, they’re okay.  I’d love to throw some flax seeds into them also to boost the fiber content and heart-healthy fats, but it’s baby steps for the Hubs, and right now he eats these no problem.

These are a snap to whip up on the weekend and keep for the week ahead.  They are also very forgiving.  For example, I love oats and find bran cereal flakes generally filled with unhealthy, unpronounceable ingredients, so I used 1 cup of rolled oats in lieu of the bran cereal.  I also didn’t have enough nuts, so I threw in some dried cranberries to round out my 1/3 cup.  If you live in altitude like me, you may want to add an extra tablespoon of whole-wheat flour to the recipe so that they don’t flatten out as they bake.  Take the time to find the whole-wheat pastry flour.  It uses a more tender grain and bakes much better than regular whole-wheat.  Also, I think I had to bake mine around 15 minutes rather than the suggested 12.  Just keep an eye on them, and take them out when they’re slightly golden.

This recipe comes from a one-time magazine entitled Quick & Fresh.  It comes from the makers of Fine Cooking magazine, and features recipes by one of my favorite Food Network stars, Ellie Krieger.  I think I bought it back in 2009.  Sorry to say it’s not still available.

Breakfast Cookies

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup (1 small jar) strained carrot baby food
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup bran cereal flakes
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted in a dry skillet for 2 minutes until fragrant, and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized bowl.  Combine oil, butter, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute.  Add the egg, carrot puree and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds.  Add the flour mixture and beat for an additional 30 seconds.  Add the oatmeal, bran flakes, raisins, and walnuts and mix over low speed just until incorporated.  The dough will be slightly sticky and less cohesive than traditional cookie dough.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Shape 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter into a ball and place on cookie sheet.  Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies.  Wet your hands and use your palm to flatten cookies until they’re about 1/4-inch thick.  Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are fragrant but still soft.  Let the cookies cool slightly and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serves 12

Serving Size: 1 Cookie

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