Bread & Baking Recipes

Nutritious Oatmeal Cookies Low Sugar

Nutritious Oatmeal Cookies Low Sugar

I am an addict. My drug of choice is sugar despite the ubiquitous warnings of doom and gloom. I am also a health nut. This dietary dichotomy challenged me to accommodate both my addiction and my predilection. I referred to my childhood training and my first teacher mom.

I grew up in the 50’s when our food budget was thinner than expensive proscuitto. Mom rose to the culinary challenge and like a chemist working on a new formula was capable of making something delectable out of next to nothing. It was an art and mom was an artist. I recall her standing over the stove stirring water and raisins and I asked, “What are you making?”
“Poor man’s cake, I guess.” She replied.
“You don’t know?”
“Well you know that if you mix water or milk, flour, and eggs you’ll get something.” That was my introduction to experimental cooking.

I have been disappointed by countless commercial oat bran muffins with a crunchy, grainy, top crust only to discover the body refined, floury and airy. Cookies with a predominant flour taste decorated with three grains of oatmeal are no longer on my menu. Where’s the beef? There had to be a better way. If a 90 year old grandma can squash a muffin with a spatula to the thickness of a nickel without breaking a sweat, it’s not something I want to consume. Oats, bran and seeds will stand up to the spatula test. I started experimenting.
Any recipe is fair game not just those designed for low fat or low sugar. I simply replace at least half the flour with oatmeal, wheat germ or flaxseed. My recipes are not original. I use any cookbook or online recipe and replaced 50% to 75% of the flour with oats. If a recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, I use one-half cup of whole-wheat flour and 1 and one-half cups of oats. White flour is for papier mache.

I’ve also tried this technique with sugar. I’ve learned that reducing the intense sweetness did not reduce my satisfaction in eating.

I wanted old-fashioned Oatmeal cookies but 2 sticks of butter seemed outrageous to me. I tried one-half stick. Delicious. I’ve never thrown away a single baked good and my son and grandson enjoy them no matter how nutritious. Here’s the modified recipe straight from the top of the oatmeal box. The only alteration is the amount of flour and butter and sugar.

cup (1 stick) of butter/margarine
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
cups of whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
tsp salt (if you want)
4 cups oats
1 cup raisins, or dried cranberries, blueberries of whatever. I never measure this.

Heat oven to 350. Blend together butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix well. Stir in oats and raisins. Mix well. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and enjoy. You’ll never miss the sugar and butter.

I’ve employed this technique with all kinds of baked goods. I toss in flax seeds and oat bran for extra oomph. If you love the highly refined, mile-high airy baked goods then don’t try this method. The sky is the limit but these won’t rise to the sky.

Here is another recipe to get started. Oat Squares (or chunks in my case).

2 cups of oats
c of whole wheat flour
c. honey
1 c. plain yogurt
2 egg whites
3 Tbsp oil
1 cup of milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
tsp. salt
Nuts or dried fruit if you want.

Heat oven to 350 F. In large bowl combine honey, yogurt, egg whites, oil, milk and vanilla; mix well. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Stir in oats and dried fruit.

Spread dough onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered.

My son cut into this before I had cut the squares and broke the knife. He laughed about 10 minutes but then proceeded to eat half the chunks. They are very dense and lightly sweet. Everything is adjustable.

The sky is the limit. Whatever desert you want to be grainier is a candidate for this technique.

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