Lately I have been looking at my pantry and the excessive amount of baking supplies I have. I am determined to make use of all of these goodies, and today was a good day to dig in! I wanted to make my girl some cookies. She loves waking up from her afternoon nap, knowing there is a snack involved. She feels really special when she gets a cookie all to herself! When I make cookies for her, the recipe typically involves things like gluten-free oats, bananas, sweet potato, things of this nature.
I looked around my pantry and noticed excessive amounts of oats, in every variety you can imagine. Clearly, oatmeal was going in the mixing bowl! Then I ran across some chopped dates that were vying for my attention. Ok, so I’ll do a twist on oatmeal raisin and make some oatmeal date cookies. I found a great, really easy, really clean recipe on Pinterest from The Lean Clean Eating Machine which I adapted slightly by adding an extra banana and some almond butter for protein. (Great website, by the way. You should check it out if you love manageable clean eating recipes. I’m going back to try a few of Danielle’s other gems.)
I used three ripe bananas, because frankly, I had three that needed to be used. Who doesn’t love more bananas? I also knew using the chopped dates would slightly dry the cookie, so I figured the extra moisture from the bananas would serve my adapted version well. (If you are not familiar with chopped dates, they are often lightly coated in oat flour to keep them from sticking together.) Before I even mashed the bananas, I tossed in roughly 1/4 cup of smooth almond butter. Not only is my girl addicted to almond butter, but it also has protein. Score! Then I mashed the bananas and almond butter together with a fork until I got a creamy texture.
After the smashing/mushing process (super technical), I added in the oats. I took Danielle’s advice from The Lean Clean Eating Machine and roughly processed the rolled oats. I feel like it allowed the oats to absorb the bananas better. After I mixed the oats with the bananas and almond butter, I added in 1/2 cup of chopped dates.
I also discovered my daughter loves chopped dates. She likes to sit in her high chair and watch the process and taste-test along the way. I’m not sure why it never occurred to me to offer her some chopped dates before, but she LOVED them. Of course she did, they are sweet! But they have awesome fiber and some other nutritive goodness as well, plus they are the perfect size for her fingers and mouth.
After the dates were mixed in, I added a dash of cinnamon and a dash of pink Himalayan salt. Oddly, I had pink Himalayan salt on hand. I say “oddly” because it is such a specific recommendation for the recipe. I’m sure this would work well with regular sea salt, although I didn’t try it. I found the salt nicely balanced out the sweetness of the dates.
I used a small cookie scoop to form the balls, which Danielle recommended be the size of golf balls. Perfect! Then I used the back of a fork to slightly flatten the balls ahead of baking. I set my oven to the recommended 350 degrees, and I let my version bake for 20 minutes. Below, are the pre-baked version. You can see the size of the cookies once they have been flattened, and some on the right side pre-flattening.
I found that 20 minutes was perfect for my daughter, who really needs a softer cookie at her age. They were definitely cooked through, but not browned. I left a few of them in the oven (for me) for an additional 3 minutes. They were just lightly browned when I took them out. I have to say, these cookies are really super tasty! My husband even enjoyed them. I will definitely make them again. My daughter LOVED the end result and, naturally, was asking for more. She can have another one tomorrow after her nap! I kept several on hand for the next few days and froze the rest for as needed use. Thanks again for the inspiration, The Lean Clean Eating Machine!
Check out my adapted version of the recipe below.