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Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies! – but at least they are made with real ingredients

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal No Bake Cookies

I shop at a variety of places for our food, the locally-owned natural food store (Native Roots), a regional chain natural grocery store (Natural Grocers), the local farmer’s market, the local regular grocery store (Homeland), and even Wal-Mart.  The bakery at my local Wal-Mart is right next to the produce section and so I end up walking by all the cakes and cookies on my way to get the healthy fruits and veggies.  🙂 

The last few times, the packaged bakery “Peanut butter fudge no bakes” cookies have definitely been tempting me.  But, I know that they put lots of unnecessary and kind of scary things in packaged cookies.  The Wal-mart ingredients are: Granulated Sugar, Oats, Water, Peanut Butter (Roasted Peanuts, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Salt, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean & Cottonseed Oil), Margarine (Vegetable Monodiglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Palmitate, Artificial Butter Flavor), Cocoa, Non-Fat Dry Milk Solids, Vanilla.   Actually, not too horrible compared to other packaged cookies, except the peanut butter has hydrogenated oils in it and we don’t use margarine because of all the crap in it.

So, I dug out my recipe for no-bake cookies and decided to make my own.  These cookies are a bit addictive.  This recipe makes about 28-30 cookies.  Luckily, I have 6 people in the house to eat these things so that is only 4 or 5 cookies each and we stretched them out over 3 days.  I did cut the sugar a bit and upped the peanut butter from the original recipe and they were still just great.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies
makes 2-3 dozen depending on how big you make them

  • 6 Tbsp (that is 3/4 of a stick) real butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Demerara sugar (or other unrefined sugar such as “sugar in the raw”) 
  • 1/2 cup organic milk 
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder (not hot cocoa mix, I used Hershey’s)
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups quick cooking oats (I used organic, the only ingredient on the package should be OATS)
  • 3/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter  (made with just peanuts or peanuts and a bit of salt)
  • 1 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
  1. Add the butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa  to a large saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil for at least one minute, but two is better.  Note: To make sure cookies set up properly wait until mixture comes to a complete FULL boil and then start the timer for one minute.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla and mix well with a whisk until smooth and the peanut butter is fully melted in.  Add the oats and stir well.
  3. Drop by heaping Tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper or parchment paper lined baking sheets (I used my silpats). Let them set up and cool for at least one hour.  If you can’t wait, you can put a few in the freezer to speed thing up. 

Some folks like to add a bit of coconut flakes to the mix, but we like ours traditional.  We managed to ration these out over 3 days, but it was hard.

Note for those with special diets:

  • These are naturally gluten-free as long as you are sure about the source of your oats.  I understand that some oats are grown in the same fields as or near wheat and can become contaminated.
  • If you wanted to make these vegetarian, you could probably substitute coconut oil for the butter since it is also a solid a room temp. 
  • If you have a peanut allergy, I am sure that almond butter or sunflower butter or any other nut butter would work just as well.

 

– Stacey

If Eggnog were a cookie… Frosted Nutmeg Logs recipe

Frosted Nutmeg LogsOk, it is the holidays, so we still want to use real food ingredients, but white flour and sugar are going to be a part of things this time of year. 

This recipe is one that we have made just about every year since I was a kid.  I believe it originally appeared in a Pillsbury(?) Christmas Cookie Cookbook.  It is not diet, it is not gluten-free, it is not low-carb.  But, it is yummy.  Just don’t eat too many at one sitting.

The flavor to me is what eggnog would taste like if it was a cookie, thanks to the nutmeg and rum.  The original recipe used rum extract, but since that is artificial, I just use real rum…it is only a few teaspoons.  I did try this recipe substituting whole wheat pastry flour for some of the white flour and it was not as good…so don’t do it.

The cookies are supposed to look like logs with snow on them.  So, let your kids help roll them out as they are not supposed to be perfect.  They can also help “score” the frosting with a fork to make it look like bark.

The original recipe calls for rolling the dough into logs and then cutting into 2″ pieces.  This is a fun activity for kids.  But, if you are making them by yourself and want to hurry things along, just roll the dough out flat about 1/2″ thick and then cut into 1/2″ X 2″ long strips with a pizza cutter.

Frosted Nutmeg Logs

  • 1 cup real butter, softened (that is 2 sticks, or 1/2 lb.)
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon rum
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup real butter, softened  (a bit more than half a stick)
  • 2 cup confectioners’ or powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon rum
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and rum; mix well.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg and salt; gradually add this to the creamed mixture. 
  3. Cover dough and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. (optional, kids usually won’t wait)
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into 1/2-in.-wide logs. Cut into 2-in. pieces. Place 1″ apart on greased baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until center is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
  6. For frosting, in a mixing bowl, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, rum, and enough milk to achieve a spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies and sprinkle with a little extra nutmeg.

I am not even going to bother to do a nutritional analysis for these…just remember,the main ingredients are butter, white flour, and sugar.   Enjoy!

– Stacey

Frosted Nutmeg Logs on plate

Holiday Cookies – Whole Wheat Orange Shortbread Stars

Whole Wheat Orange Shortbread Stars
Whole Wheat Orange Shortbread Stars

The holidays are coming up and everyone is having parties and making lots of treats.  Christmas cookies are a tradition, so why not make a simple old-fashioned shortbread cookie?  So, I pulled out the girls’ “Usborne Children’s Book of Baking” because I knew it had a simple recipe.  But, I made a few changes to make is slightly healthier. 

My version of the recipe substitutes whole wheat pastry flour for the regular white flour and Demerara or “sugar in the raw” for the white sugar.  I did run the sugar through the food processor first to make it finer.  Note: I used salted butter (what I normally have in the kitchen), but if you use unsalted, you might need an dash of salt.  I also made my dough in the processor like I make my whole wheat biscuits.  Can you tell I love my KitchenAid Food Processor?

Since this recipe is so simple, it is a great opportunity for your kids to help you in the kitchen.  Sarah helped measure and pour the flour and sugar and put the chunks of butter in.  She also helped cut a few of the cookies out and then all the girls helped decorate the edges by punching around the stars with a toothpick before baking.  The decorating idea did come from the Usborne book.

These are not “health food”since they are basically empty calories, but only with only 4 or 5 ingredients that are all real food items that a 5th grader can pronounce, they are probably better for you than just about any store-bought cookie.

– Stacey

Whole Wheat Orange Shortbread Stars

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 sticks real butter, chilled and cut into small cubes (that is 1/2 lb or 1 whole cup!)
  • 1/2 cup “sugar in the raw” that was run in the food processor to make it finer
  • 1-2 Tbsp of Orange juice plus about 1 Tbsp orange zest OR 1-2 Tbsp of milk plus 1/2 tsp real orange extract  
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  Go ahead and process your sugar by itself in your food processor to make it “superfine”.  If using a real orange, go ahead and zest and juice it now. 
  2. Put the flour and sugar in the food processor; pulse to combine.  Then, add the butter cubes and pulse until it looks like tiny peas.  Add the juice/zest or milk/extract and pulse until it comes together and starts to pull away from the sides and form a ball.
  3. Sprinkle board with a little flour. Dump dough out onto board and knead for a few minutes, adding flour as necessary to avoid sticking and make a soft dough.
  4. Roll to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into whatever shape you like, we made stars. Prick with toothpick and place on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 13-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan for a couple fo minutes.  Move cookies to cooling rack and let cool completely before enjoying.Cutting out Whole Wheat Orange Shortbread StarsPricking Whole Wheat Orange Shortbread Stars
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