Sunday, September 15, 2013

Zucchini Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

I promise we're at the end of the zucchini recipe barrage (or very close to it). There's still plenty of zucchini to go around and with the cooler fall temps sneaking in, it's a great time to bake. If you want to eat cookies on a regular basis (as I do), it's best to make them of the healthier variety. These little cookies are just the right balance of healthy breakfast (or snack) fare and delicious dessert goodness and the kind of snack that gets me through my morning at work. Zucchini is obviously a summer squash, but the combination of spices used here make this cookie feel perfectly at home in fall. The healthy amount of oats, fruit, and nuts make me think of these as a breakfast cookies, all the flavor of a hearty oatmeal baked into delicious, portable bites. The schizophrenic weather plaguing Wisconsin in these early days of September might making planning to bake a bit of a gamble (nobody wants to fire up the oven when it's 90+ degrees), but these store happily in the freezer for breakfast-on-the-run or bite to satisfy your sweet tooth anytime. Can't get around to these cookies until after zucchini season has passed? Swap in some grated carrots for convenient bites of carrot cake heaven.

Zucchini Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine applesauce and brown sugar, mix until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract. Next, add the shredded zucchini. Mix until combined.

4. Slowly add flour mixture until just combined. Stir in oats, raisins, and walnuts.

5. Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-14 minutes or cookies are slightly golden around the edges and set. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

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