Protein Breakfast Cookies with Oats and Chocolate

I'm a big fan of breakfast cookies. They are so fun, and delicious. I love being able to eat a cookie at any time of day or night. I've seen various cookie and bar recipes that incorporate some beans or legumes for a healthy protein boost and have been wanting to try it. I finally did with these cookies. They start out seemingly like a pretty typical oat cookies, but then there's a little surprise; 1/2 cup cooked white beans! It's a nice little way to add some nutrition to your breakfast, but still make it feel like a treat. 

Once these cookies bake up, it really is hard to tell that there are beans mixed in. They do taste a little different than a "normal" cookie, but not at all in a bad way. They are delicious, and are a feel-good way to start the day. Enjoy!

After I made these cookies I had a sneaking suspicion that I may have accidentally doubled the coconut oil... Oh well! I couldn't remember for sure how much I put in but it may have been 1/4 cup instead of the 2 tablespoons I call for. I'm going to have to try them again and find out. What a problem!

 
 

Protein Breakfast Cookies with Oats and Chocolate
Adapted from Foolproof Living
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (70 grams) old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup (60 grams) oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 can (120 grams) white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons (56 grams) coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons (56 grams) maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams) Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set it aside. Mix chia seeds and water in a small bowl and let it sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, process 1 1/2 cups of the rolled oats in a food processor until it turns into flour. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the rest of the rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Place the white beans and coconut oil into the bowl of the food processor and process until creamy. Add in the chia seeds (with water), maple syrup, orange zest, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Pulse until everything is combined and it is smooth mixture.

Pour the white bean mixture over the rolled oats mixture. Add in the chocolate. Stir to combine. 

Shape the dough into 12 equal balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 16-20 minutes, flipping the sheet halfway through the baking process.

Oat Flour Banana Carrot Muffins

I recently stumbled over this recipe for a simple and nutritions blender muffin. I had a carrot in the fridge, and bananas turning brown on the counter so it was almost like it was meant to be! I went to work putting it all together and am glad I did. These muffins turned out delicious; light and moist, full of whole grains, healthy fats, fresh fruit and fresh veggies. How great is that? They are also made with no wheat flour, and no dairy, so if you are avoiding either of those this is another plus. They are not vegan due to the 2 eggs, but you could always try a vegan egg replacement if this is something you care about. 

I followed the original recipe other than decreasing the honey just a bit from 1/4 c to 2 tablespoons and didn't miss it at all. The bananas themselves are nice and sweet. I also had a little freezer jam hanging out that I decided to add to the center of the muffin for a little sweet surprise! You can't see it in the picture, but it's there, I promise! It's a fun addition if you have some extra jam lying around. If you use peanut butter as your nut butter it'll turn these muffins into a "PB&J muffin"! Yum!

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Oat Flour Banana Carrot Muffins
Adapted from Running with Spoons
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (120 grams) oats
  • 2 tablespoon (14 grams) flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp (96 grams) almond or peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons (40 grams) honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 medium bananas (200 grams or 1 cup)
  • 1 cup (115 grams) shredded carrot, about 1 medium carrot

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a muffin pan by lining the cavities with parchment paper liners or greasing them well with oil. Set aside.

Add all the dry ingredients (oats through salt) to a high-speed blender, and process on high until the oats have broken down into the consistency of a fine flour.

Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the carrots, and process on high until the batter becomes smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds. Periodically stop and scrape down the sides of your blender, if necessary. Transfer the batter to a medium-size mixing bowl and fold in the carrots by hand.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each one about 3/4 of the way full.
Bake for 16 - 18 minutes, until the tops of your muffins begin to turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Yields: 10 muffins
Approximate calorie count: 165 calories

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Homemade granola bars. You can never have too many recipes. I'm always trying out new variations, and new renditions. They're all yummy and wonderful to have on hand for (healthy-ish) snacks. This version is a winner because Chocolate!! When I add some nice dried fruit, or delicious nuts or seeds to a granola bar, they're always delicious, but I always want chocolate. Always.  :) 

This bar is a version of my cranberry walnut granola bars, but I replaced the almond butter with peanut butter, and then obviously used chocolate chips instead of the cranberries and walnuts. Both good options, but when that chocolate craving hits there's only one option!

 
 
 
 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Adapted from Delectably Mine
Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup (112 grams) honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups (160 grams) old fashion oats
  • 1/3 cup (38 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12x9 inch or 8x8 inch pan, or line with a parchment paper sling, and set aside. 

Place the butter, and peanut butter in a large microwave safe bowl and microwave until the butter melts. Stir until the well combined. Mix in the honey, vanilla and salt and give a good stir. Add the egg and stir the whole mixture until smooth and combined. 

Add the oats, whole wheat flour, and chocolate and stir everything together until well combined and there are no more dry pockets of flour. 

Transfer the mixture into the prepared  pan and pat down firmly into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Yields: 14-16 granola bars
 

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Zucchini Cookies

Two zucchini cookies in a row?? Why not! This round I decided on the chocolate peanut butter combo, and then amped up the chocolate making a double chocolate peanut butter cookie - with zucchini! Trust me, all the zucchini does is add little green flecks to the cookies, and keeps them nice and moist, no zucchini flavor at all! These cookies are dense and hearty and scrumptious! Perfect with my afternoon cup of coffee. Try it with yours!

 
 

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Zucchini Cookies
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) butter
  • 3 tablespoons 45 grams) peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly grated zucchini (anywhere from 125-150 grams seems to work)
  • Chocolate chips or chunks

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and peanut butter and place in the microwave at 20-30 second intervals until completely melted, whisking as needed to completely combined. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine. Stir in the grated zucchini. Stir in the dry ingredients until everything is combined and you have a dark chocolate dough (the dough will be very thick, and you might initially think that there is too much flour, but don't worry, it will come together). Fold in the chocolate chips.

Use a 1/2 to 1-inch scoop and scoop the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart from each other. Press down lightly to flatten. The cookies will not spread very much during baking. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the cookies are just set. Let them cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet. 

Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers

I really needed to use some sourdough this weekend, but I've been enjoying some absolutely delicious naturally fermented local bread (Field and Fire Bakery anyone? If you're in GR you must check it out) and didn't have any need to make bread. Crackers it was! I have a beautiful rosemary bush outside that is doing great and decided a little rosemary, a little garlic, and a little olive oil baked into a simple cracker was a quick, easy and delicious was to use up a little starter to get me through until I'm ready to bake bread again.  

I halved the recipe for these crackers and it was perfect. Just the right amount of dough for one baking sheet. I actually used my pasta roller to roll out the dough to an even thickness. I went to setting 3 on my Atlas pasta roller and thought it was the perfect thickness. But a rolling pin and a little arm strength work just as well. Just keep an eye on the crackers while they are baking to ensure you don't burn some of the thinner crackers. 

 
 

Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) unfed sourdough starter
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped finely
  • 1/2-1 whole garlic clove, finely minced
  • oil for brushing
  • coarse salt for sprinkling on top

Directions
Mix together the flour, salt, sourdough starter, olive oil rosemary and garlic to make a smooth(not sticky), cohesive dough. If dough is too wet add a few extra tablespoons of flour. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a small rectangular slab. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to a couple of hours, until the dough is firm.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Very lightly flour a piece of parchment, your rolling pin, and the top of the dough. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough to about 1/16" thick. 

Transfer the dough and parchment together onto a baking sheet. Lightly brush with oil and then sprinkle the salt over the top of the crackers.

Cut the dough into 1 1/4" squares; a rolling pizza wheel works well here. Prick each square with the tines of a fork. Bake the crackers for about 20 minutes, until the squares are starting to brown around the edges. When fully browned, remove the crackers from the oven, and transfer them to a cooling rack. Store airtight at room temperature for up to a week; freeze for longer storage.

Lavender Honey Buckwheat Cookies

Once again it's one of my favorite seasons; lavender season! I love lavender so much, the sight of the elegant little purple flowers, the fragrance that heralds early summer, and of course, the delicate floral notes that add a little extra something special to baking when lavender buds are part of the mix. Of course, you don't want to go overboard and add too much lavender which can make you feel like you're eating a mouthful of potpourri, but in just the right amount in the right thing, lavender can really make your baking a little extra special; especially when using your own home-grown or home-foraged lavender. Last year I made some fantastic lavender cupcakes. This year one of my projects was these yummy little buckwheat cookies. A perfect couple of bites of sweetness balanced with the bitterness of the buckwheat and the floral lavender, a perfect combination. 

If going gluten or wheat free is something you're into, these cookies are a great option. In case you're wondering, buckwheat is actually not wheat, they're not even related. Buckwheat is the seed of a flowering plant that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. It has an unique flavor, somewhat bitter, but in a good way. I personally have no problem with wheat in any shape or form, but I still love these cookies. They use oat and buckwheat flours, softened butter, a little sugar and an egg. And of course, lavender. Because, tis the season!!

 
 

Lavender Honey Buckwheat Cookies
Adapted from Dishing Up The Dirt
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) oat flour
  • 1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons (42 grams) honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) buckwheat flour
  • pinch of kosher salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. 

Beat the butter and sugar together for a couple of minutes, until creamy and light. Add the lavender and honey and beat until well combined. Add the egg and mix well.

Add the oats, flour, and salt to the butter mixture. Mix until it forms a cohesive mixture. Divide the dough into 10-12 equal size balls. Place on baking sheet and press down gently with your fingers, or the bottom of a glass. (The cookies will not spread a lot when you bake them, so flattened them to the thickness you would like the finished product to be.)

Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Yields 12-14 small cookies, depending on how big you make them

Fudgy Chocolate Chunk Protein Bars

I'm not a big fan of trying to rebrand food as something it's not. I understand the reasoning, but I still don't like it. Vegan cheese is not cheese, almond milk is not milk, and a turkey bacon is not bacon. It's not that I have anything against these foods and don't necessarily have a problem eating most of them, I just don't like how they're named something they actually aren't. Instead of always trying to replace a food product with something else, why not instead try to come up with something different, and better!

Black bean brownies are another thing that I just can't get into saying. I just don't think a baked good full of black beans is a brownie. To me a brownie is chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar with just a little flour. It's a magical combination, and no recipe with beans is going to be comparable, unless of course the ratio is so out of wack that there are hardly any black beans in it anyway and then what's the point? But this does not mean I'm against what most people try to brand as "black bean brownies". I'm intrigued by anything that claims to be nutritious AND delicious. I'd just like to propose that instead of calling these concoctions "brownies", that we step back and just call them "bars" instead. A bar can be made out of anything, including beans!

I searched the internet high and low and came back with dozens of black bean brownie recipes. There were several that I was considering trying when I just decided to make up my own! That way I had complete control over what went in it, and I could make it to my taste. I wanted to make something less dessert-y and more of a snack I could feel pretty good eating in the afternoon when I suddenly realize that I didn't eat enough for lunch and dinner is still hours away! These bars were the result. I would especially not call these a brownie because they are not sweet enough. I didn't want them to be super sweet, just enough sugar to make them taste nice, but not like a rich dessert. So be warned if you want to try them that they will not be sweet. 

In the end I was very pleased with how they turned out. They are dense and fudge, yet a little dry in texture. They hold together very well and are a great on-the-go snack. They are chocolate-y enough to feel like a treat without being so rich as to seem like dessert. And as for any bean flavor, nope! You really can't tastes beans at all. I cooked my beans from dry, so I can't say how canned black beans would taste in this recipe, but I imagine they would be just fine. Overall, a good snack, satisfying and nutritious. 

 
 

Chocolate Chunk Protein Bars
Created by Delectably Mine
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) pureed black beans
  • 1/4 cup (64 grams) almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
  • 6 medjool dates (110 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams) honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A couple dashes of cinnamon and/or cardamom
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) chocolate chunks

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor place the beans and almond butter. Process until smooth. Add the eggs and process until well combined. Add the remainder of the ingredients (except the chocolate chunks), and process until smooth and uniform. Remove the blade and stir in the chocolate chunks by hand.

Transfer the batter (it will be very thick) to a greased and lined 9x9 inch pan. Smooth the batter into an even layer. Place in preheated oven and baked for 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan until cutting into bars. 

Cranberry Walnut Granola Bars

As I believe I've said before, I'm always on the lookout for healthy, easy and delicious snacks that I can carry with me on busy days. Something that can keep hunger at bay when I have to postpone lunch for a little bit, but still need something to fill my stomach in the mean time. I've found that oat bars are my favorite. I feel good about eating them, there are so many different options out there that you don't have to make the same thing twice if you don't want to. These oats bars are a mash up of a couple of different recipes that I adapted to fit my needs. They turned out wonderfully!

There oats bars hold together GREAT!! Sometimes I have a problem with getting bars to hold together. I think this is because I don't like to fill my bars with tons of sugar, but sugar is often what holds them together. I've found that while you do need some sugar, both for structure and for flavor, if you add a little bit of flour and an egg or two this can also help firm things up. These bars are not super sweet, you could always add a bit more sugar if you'd like, but they were perfect for me. They were easy to keep in a little baggie in my purse, ready for whenever I needed them!

These bars are just a little crisp with some chew as well. They aren't hard, but not super chewy either, they're just the right mix! I put cranberries and walnuts in this time, a classic combination that never disappoints. If I'd had an orange laying around I would have thrown in a bit of orange zest as well to really take things over the top. But as is, they are a great bar to have on hand for when those snack attackts sneak up on you, but you want to keep things a little more on the nutritious side! Enjoy!

 
 
 
 

Cranberry Walnut Granola Bars
Adapted from My Humble Kitchen and Delectably Mine
Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) almond butter
  • 1/3 cup (112 grams) honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups (160 grams) old fashion oats
  • 1/3 cup (38 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12x9 inch or 8x8 inch pan, or line with a parchment paper sling, and set aside. 

Place the butter, and almond butter in a large microwave safe bowl and microwave until the butter melts. Stir until the well combined. Mix in the honey, vanilla and salt and give a good stir. Add the egg and stir the whole mixture until smooth and combined. 

Add the oats, whole wheat flour, cranberries and walnuts and stir everything together until well combined and there are no more dry pockets of flour. 

Transfer the mixture into the prepared  pan and pat down firmly into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Yields: approximately 14 granola bars
Approximately 130 calories each