I’m strangely lethargic this week. I think I’m still recovering from the intense concentration of last week’s course. Anyway, I’ve been mooching around on my last week of leave, not doing very much, and not even having the energy to feel properly guilty about it! I did, however, do a little bit of baking this morning. You see, a friend of mine has just had keyhole surgery, and is at the bored-out-of-her-skull-but-too-weak-to-do-much phase of recovery, so I’d arranged to bring lunch and spend the afternoon.
Lunch did, of course, need to be somewhat healthy, so I made quinoa tabouli, augmented it with falafel from the excellent Half Moon Café and zaatar bread from the equally delightful Zaatar, and added a tub of tzatziki which had been lurking in the fridge. Delicious, healthy, and hopefully sufficiently gentle for a stomach recovering from surgery and not very tolerant of fatty, rich foods.
Which is all very well, but some sort of sweet was clearly required. I mean, yes, we all like to be healthy, but sweets are what I *do*. My first thought was to make my choc-chip oatmeal cookies, on the grounds that they are, in fact, the best cookies ever. But, while they are certainly not the most unhealthy cookies out there (I am firmly convinced that the presence of oats in any food renders it instantly healthy), they do contain quite a lot of chocolate, as well as butter and canola oil and an egg.
On the other hand, I did have some rather glorious dried fruit from my market visit, which sounded more like it. And replacing butter with apple-sauce in a recipe this prone to being chewy and moist was probably not going to be a problem.
It wasn’t. These cookies are soft, a little bit chewy, and very, very comforting to eat. They practically beg for a glass of milk (or soy milk, if that’s the way you groove) (no, I don’t know why I just typed that either) and a nice book to read while you curl up on the sofa. Actually, summer is entirely the wrong season for this kind of biscuit, but what can you do?
As a bonus, they are even quicker to make than the choc-chip cookies. You can’t ask better than that, now can you?
Your Shopping List100 g brown sugar 75 g raw caster sugar or ordinary caster sugar 75 g apple sauce (pick a brand that really is mostly apple, with as little sugar or other stuff as possible) 60 ml canola or sunflower oil 1 egg 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 100 g rolled oats 150 g plain flour, or a good gluten-free flour mix 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp cinnamon 10o g raisins 75 g chopped dried apricots
Now what will you do with it?
Pre-heat the oven to 175°C, and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
In a medium bowl, mix together the sugars, apple sauce, oil, egg and vanilla until they are well combined. Incidentally, the very easiest way to deal with this recipe is to put your bowl on a flat set of scales with a tare function, set it to zero, and just add everything in one by one, re-setting to zero if the maths starts getting out of hand.
Stir in the oats, then add the flour, leavening agents and cinnamon and mix well to a nice, thickish batter. Stir in the dried fruit.
Now, this batter is a bit wetter than my usual oaty cookie batter – you will probably not be able to roll it into balls, but that’s OK. Just drop spoonfuls onto the trays, well apart so that they have room to spread (I can fit 12 on each tray, and I apologies for not photographing this, but I forgot at the key moment. Rest assured that if you have really messy looking splodges of batter, you are on the right track).
Bake for about 12 minutes, or until getting nicely golden on top. Rest for about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack. I really do mean this! The cookies are very soft and will break if you don’t give them that extra time to firm up. They may try to break anyway…
Eat, with a sense of wellbeing and a nice glass of milk.
Let’s just start by saying you can use any sort of dried fruit that takes your fancy here. Dried apple would be especially good. You could also use any sort of thick, unsweetened fruit puree to replace the apple sauce. Mashed banana will also work, but do be aware that your cookies will then taste like banana oat bread. This is fine, but only if you like banana oat bread. Also, if you prefer ginger or cloves or cardamom to cinnamon, be my guest!
In terms of dietary requirements, these cookies are already dairy-free, nut-free and vegetarian, of course. It’s not really low-GI, either, though you could do worse. A standard gluten-free flour mix would work here, but do use a proper one – replacing all the flour with something like almond meal will definitely not work, as these cookies are already pretty soft and will need some help holding together. Low fructose would entail taking out all the dried fruit, at which point you have an entirely different cookie and might as well make an allergy-friendly Anzac biscuit instead.
I’d be a little reluctant to take out the egg and replace it with any of my usual substitutes here, just because of the softness of the batter. This might be the time to experiment with flax seed eggs.
Good luck with it!
This time last year…Recipe: Extremely Good RatatouilleIn which I am wildly excited! Farmers’ Market on a day which is Just Too Hot