Saturday, February 11, 2012

Healthy Cookies

Healthy is to Cookie as Decaf is to Coffee, Nonalcoholic is to Beer and Vegan is to Burger. Take the beef out of a burger, and you are left with squirrel food in a cylindrical shape. Take the refined and processed flours and sugars out of a cookie, remove the butter, disallow chocolate and again, you are left with squirrel food but in a slightly smaller cylindrical shape.
That said, I just read (skimmed) Super Immunity by Joel Fuhrman, MD. Joel Fuhrman, MD says that if you are going to eat white flour and white sugar you may as well lie in a bed of asbestos, French-inhaling Unfiltered Camels and sipping Tab. Also, it is January, time of the new leaf, the kale juice cleanse, the intention to stretch at least five times a week, the commitment to always apply moisturizer in short, upward strokes.
I thought I’d give it a whirl. I started with something called Chia Cookies (be still my beating heart) from Joel Fuhrman, MD, himself. Joel Fuhrman, MD wants you to soak some currents in hot water. I used raisins because I didn’t have currents. There may be some prohibition against raisins because they rarely appear in his recipes.*
Then he wants you to whiz up your rolled oats in a food processor. I skipped this step altogether. I whizzed up the raisin and water mixture. I combined the rolled oats, the raisin water mixture, some nuts and chia seeds, some apple sauce, some dried coconut, a little bit of almond butter and a tsp of vanilla. I formed this into cookie like shapes and dehydrated them in a 200 oven for 2 hours.

The result wasn’t totally disgusting. I ate about half of them. They were sweet and crunchy, the texture and consistency of Mrs. Bentley’s oatmeal cookies, if you haven’t had Mrs. Bentley’s oatmeal cookies in a long time and your memory of their specific texture and consistency is vague. And they are healthy, as long as you can be healthy and dramatically dyspeptic at the same time. Bottom line: I wouldn’t eat them if they weren’t healthy and I won’t be making them again.

Next I tried some carrot oatmeal cookies from 101 Cookbooks, my new favorite web site.

These have ww flour, maple syrup and coconut oil, along with carrots, ginger and rolled oats. There is even some baking powder and they are actually baked at 375.

Needless to say, they were better. But of course, less healthy. I’m divining a pattern and I don’t like the looks of it. Bottom line, I’m not sure I’d make them again because they were about as tasty as they were healthy, which is to say not enough of either.

I tried one more, also from 101 Cookbooks. These are called Nikki’s Healthy Cookies. Healthy, right there in the name. How encouraging. And they call for chocolate chips. Downright propitious. This recipe has you mix up some mashed bananas, some coconut oil (oleagine of the Gods apparently) rolled oats, almond meal, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, baking powder and those promising chocolate chips. They are baked. And they are good. And they are pretty healthy. I used dark chocolate. Next time I’ll skip the cookie shape and form them into rectangles, bake them a little longer so they are a crispy and eat them as a bar. They could happily sub in for a Clif bar on a hike or long bike ride.

The healthy cookies are definitely healthier, or at least not as unhealthy. All whole grains, some of that miracle oleagine, some fruit, vegetables, nuts, chia seeds. But since it is January, and the real goal of the new leaf, besides no colds, no flu, no MRSA, is no cellulite. So are these cookies less fattening? Sadly, no. The Nikki’s cookies come in at a little over 100 calories per. A quick search of Tollhouse cookies puts them at 100 calories per. My favorite salted butter chocolate chip cookies probably have twice that, but they are bigger.
The healthy cookies might be less fattening in the long run because I just won’t eat as many. It’s like having a bag of yogurt covered pretzels in the cupboard. They have zero calories because I won’t go near them.

*Joel Fuhrman, MD’s recipes: Black Bean Brownies which contain 2 cups of cooked black beans. Mighty Mushroom Stroganoff with a sauce made from cauliflower, white beans, hemp milk, a salt substitute and some nutritional yeast. The Acorn Squash Supreme calls for acorn squash, apricots, pineapple, raisins and a salt substitute. These are the kind of recipes that make Mollie Katzen want to go out with Ray Kroc for a steak tartare binge.

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