Monday, April 21, 2014

Healthy and easy banana oat "cookies"

Hello, fresh new week!  The past week was a busy one.  Not only did we have Easter and the excitement of the Easter Bunny's visit, the little one was also home on a truncated spring break.  He had only three days off from school because of all those snow days but we managed to sneak off for a quick road trip to Boston before coming home and attending the beautiful wedding of friends over the weekend.  

When we got home from our short trip, I had very little groceries on hand.  I don't know about you but I feel like I go grocery shopping constantly.  In reality, it's more like 2-3 times a week (at least) and I've just come to accept it.  It's really amazing how, one minute, the fridge is stocked and loaded down but then you turn around, and it's practically empty!  
Banana-oat "cookies: Made with just banana and quick oats, then mixed with: mini choc chips, peanut butter and strawberry jam, and just chunky peanut butter
So while I always have things in the freezer and dry goods in the pantry, it was still slim pickings.  I did have one lonely ripe banana sitting on the fruit plate and thought I'd use it to make a handful of breakfast "cookies".
Ripe banana and quick oats bind to make the "cookies"...then add a mix-in or two of your choice
I thought I'd try a recipe I saw from Skinnytaste a few months ago.  When I first saw it, it made me think of one-ingredient banana ice cream because it again highlights the versatility of the banana.  These "cookies" are easy and quick to make - plus, healthy, too!  We're talking 3, maybe 4, ingredients and there's no added sugar, or flour, egg, butter/oil involved at all.  Start with a ripe banana (or two), add quick-cooking oats to bind, then add mix-in(s) of your choice.  I couldn't decide so I tried a few variations. 
Three ingredients: banana, oats, and miniature chocolate chips
This will come as no big surprise but of the variations we tried - ones with mini chocolate chips, chunky peanut butter, and chunky peanut butter with strawberry jam - we liked the chocolates ones best.  They tasted like this banana bread.  The ones with jam came in second and next time, I'd love to try a version with some toasted walnuts.  You could use other nuts, dried fruit, cocoa nibs, coconut, nutella, or whatever you like.  I think the mix-ins add a nice layer of extra flavor and texture.  A little goes a long way with these petite cookies so you can be a little less generous with the chocolate chips than I was.

These healthy cookies are ideally eaten warm from the oven.  Obviously, they're not cookies in the traditional sense (hence, those quotation marks) without all the usual ingredients like sugar and eggs. So don't expect a gooey, sweet cookie.  These are chewy and, ironically, somewhat doughy, despite not having any flour in them.  Adding some extra flavor and texture with a mix-in or two is really nice. I think this is a fun way to use up a ripe banana or two and get a sweet treat out of it without any guilt.  I hate guilt, don't you?


I wish I had more bananas on hand to make a bigger batch but all I had was one smallish ripe banana. I could tell I'd get roughly half a dozen tablespoon-portion cookies out of it.  I tossed 1/3 cup of oats into the mashed banana and divided the mixture in half.  

For one portion, I mixed in miniature chocolate chips.  For the other half, I stirred in a bit of chunky peanut butter.  I dropped one plain PB cookie onto the cookie sheet but made thumbprints with the other two and filled it with strawberry jam after baking.  This is obviously a really simple and a loose recipe to work with.  You might be tempted to play with it and maybe add a drop of vanilla extract, like I did, but keeping it simple is a good thing.
These can easily be prepped while the oven preheats.  In less than 15 minutes, they'll be ready and you can have a little something sweet yet wholesome for breakfast or for a midday snack to go along with your cup of tea.  Next time, I'm going to try it with a handful of toasted walnuts. 

Recipe:

Healthy and Easy Banana Oat "Cookies"
Adapted from Skinnytaste

- Approximately 16 cookies - 

2 medium-size very ripe bananas
1 cup quick-cooking oats 

Optional mix-in suggestions (choose one or, if using more than one, adjust proportions):
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts
2 tablespoons chunky or creamy peanut butter
4-5 teaspoons jam of your choice
Other ideas: cocoa nibs, shredded coconut, dried fruit, toffee chips, peanut butter chips, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

Place bananas in a medium-size bowl and mash with a fork.  Stir in the oats.  Add desired mix-in(s) and stir to combine.  

Drop rounded tablespoon portions onto the prepared baking sheet.  If making thumbprints, make an indentation in the center of each using the back of a teaspoon of your moistened thumb.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until cookies are lightly golden.

If making thumbprints, fill indentations with a dollop of jam.  Otherwise, serve and enjoy while they're warm.  






54 comments:

  1. Oh bummer that your spring break was cut short due to many snow days. We were worried that would happen to us. Now it is whether school will end as scheduled or be extended. Yuck! I love baking with bananas. I never miss the flour and I feel so much healthier enjoying the treat :D

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    1. I never realized bananas could work like this in a cookie. It opened my eyes. I love eating bananas so it's right up my alley. This has been a very weird school year. The snow days made life long but yet the year is flying by as fast as ever!

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  2. These cookies are perfect for me, since we always have extra bananas...like the oat and yes, easy and simple is good.
    Have a great week Monica :D

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    1. I always have bananas around the house and with them ripening extra fast in the warmer months coming up, I have a feeling I'll be able to use this recipe often.

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  3. Love how simple these are and all the variations you made!

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    1. I can never decide and always want to try everything. This is the compromise with my measly little banana. : )

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  4. Your weekend sounded wonderful Monica - so glad you got to go on a mini road trip too :) Hehe, it feels like we are constantly grocery shopping too even though it is probably only three times a week. These cookies sound perfect - bananas are one of my favorite things to bake with and adding oats to anything makes them irresistible to me. The thumbprints look so pretty filled with jam too - I love the sound of all the mix-ins too :)

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    1. It was a bit rushed but leisurely at the same time. I'm just grateful we were able to walk around a lot and not have to deal with snow! Thank you, Kelly - you have a good week!

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  5. I am all for the healthy and delicious treats these days! These oat cookies look fantastic, Monica.

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    1. There's definitely more room for healthy & delicious as opposed to decadent. : )

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  6. I love how easy these are! And I especially love all the various combinations you can do with them. Simple, delicious and so versatile. Healthy too! What's not to love?

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    1. Great way to use up a banana and feel like you're getting a treat when it's healthy...particularly if you go lighter on the chocolate chips than I did. ; )

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  7. I've done something similar but without bananas so they're not quite as healthy but they're still very tasty! :D And hehe we seem to be constantly stocking our fridge :P

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    1. I bet it's good! Grocery shopping is an endless chore. I don't mind the shopping - it's the unloading I hate.

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  8. They look quite delicious! :) ela@GrayApron

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  9. Hi Monica, love oats and bananas together, there's a cookie I used to make a few years ago kind of like this. But I forgot all about it. They used to be my son's favorite. Love your different variations of these.

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    1. Time to make those cookies of yours, Cheri. I'm sure they're wonderful.

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  10. I love the short ingredient list for these! Definitely perfect for when supplies are low! I try to keep the grocery shopping to once a week but that doesn't always happen. As much as I love a full fridge I also really like looking at it right before I go shopping to see it almost cleared (I have a sense of pride when I don't waste anything!! lol)

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    1. I love a simple fix sometimes. I totally love that feeling of using everything up...like that container of whole milk or buttermilk or re-purposing leftovers just right. haha. I used to aim for once a week...but it's just not working these days.

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  11. I feel like constantly grocery shopping too, of course it doesn't help that I have the memory of a 100 year old and all the shops within 2 minutes reach :) Love the cookies by the way!

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    1. haha! That is so funny. I wish there was a farmer's market (not crowded) that I could walk through most days to pick up fresh produce and just what I need. The only good thing about going to the market more often is not having 200 bags to carry home..but still.

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  12. Bananas have a way of making baked goods taste so moist and delicious. These cookies look fabulous. I'm always grocery shopping too. What I really hate is when I find out I don't have something that I was sure I had and then back to the store I go.

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    1. That is so true. And I am with you - it is so annoying to discover you forgot that one lime or the buttermilk or something!

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  13. My fridge has the same problem! Your cookies look and sound delicious. Oatmeal is the best. I'm new here and like your blog!

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    1. Thank you, Pam. Happy cooking (and grocery-shopping) to you!

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  14. Oh my...these look so good! Love the jam in the middle! hope you had a great Easter :)

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    1. Jam-filled things are definitely fun. My hubby is a big fan of strawberry jam. : )

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  15. I keep looking at the cookies and the recipe and thinking "How do they hold together?!" These are magic healthy cookies! I had no idea you could turn just a banana and oats into a cookie! These will make a great grab-and-go gluten free breakfast for my daughter. With the peanut butter added, there is even a little protein! I love magic. :)
    Our schools just added the snow days to the end of the school year. They were supposed to be out by Memorial Day but now go into June. My daughter teaches during the school year and is an inclusion counselor at a camp in the summer. This year her teaching job will overlap the beginning of camp! Hopefully her camper will be from a school district that also overlaps the beginning of camp! Crazy year!

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    1. Wendy - that was *exactly* my reaction when I first saw this! I am so glad to know I'm not alone. I was wondering how they'd hold together but sure enough, add the oats and it just binds. You're right they would be a nice thing to try for your daughter! I think adding something in there besides the banana and oats breaks up that chewy or doughy-ness, which makes them better though maybe more decadent. Worth a try...make sure to make fresh and eat warm.
      Those snow days did mess things up. Good luck with your daughter's schedule!

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  16. Love all the variations you can do with these oat cookies!

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  17. Bananas and oats...I have those sitting in the kitchen right now! Love that about these. :) So quick, too! The ones with the pockets full of jam look so delicious, I think I'll be dreaming about them for breakfast tomorrow.

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    1. Exactly - too quick and easy not to try one day as a breakfast or snack. Thanks!

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  18. I love how you made a whole variety of cookies out of just this one recipe! It's so versatile!

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    1. You could mix it up in so many ways, it's hard to decide! But chocolate never fails me. ; )

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  19. oh what a great idea! i'm going to try these for the Wee One for sure.
    and you're not alone, by the way: we're at the grocery store all the time too. we don't just "feel" like we are, we ACTUALLY are. like i basically high-five the produce guy every time we go in, and if we walk down the line of checkout lanes as we're shopping, the wee one thinks we're in a parade. SO much waving. :)

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    1. Add a few choc chips in there for the little one (I think I remember she likes chocolate) and I think she'd enjoy these little bites. So funny about the grocery shopping! My son used to go with me...now, it is rare!

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  20. What a fun and easy idea! Our pantry and fridge seems to thin out pretty quickly, but we almost always have bananas and oatmeal.

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    1. Exactly - same here as well. Worth a try. A guilt-free treat.

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  21. Oh my gosh, I can totally relate. I was actually at the grocery store the other day and thought to myself, "dang, I'm here a lot!" Although, of all the things to spend money on, good food is at the top of my list! These cookies look great - I have tried many short-ingredient banana recipes (the ice cream, the pancakes), but never the cookies. Must try these soon! I love your variations!

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    1. Those grocery store trips are just unavoidable if we want to eat fresh foods. I'm willing and you do end up eating better and saving more money than vs. eating out. I love banana recipes, too!

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  22. Awesome Portions Monica! Nothing compares to banana and oats :)

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    1. Thanks - this is so simple and a nice snack.

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  23. Great recipe Monica. I do love a good quick warm gooey delicious snack. But I bet you knew that about me. Glad the snow days are over and school will be soon. I know you look forward to less homework - like I used to! When really in need of a snack, I have been known to mix peanut butter with quick oats and a few chocolate chips. Eat it right out of the bowl - I should try it with banana next time. Thanks!

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    1. We all need something sweet everyday...I know I do! This is a nice healthier option to throw into the rotation. It is no traditional cookie but with a few choc chips thrown in, it tastes like a treat for sure. I love the sound of your PB creation. Yum!

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  24. This is a great recipe Monica!! Quick to put together, versatile and and so tasty!! We love an oat cookie in our house!

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    1. Simple mix and bakes are good to have in the back-pocket!

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  25. Okay, so I made oat cookies for my family two weeks ago and they finished like, in one night, so I KNOW that these are delicious - especially with that jam addition! I love eats that are healthy and delicious. Thanks for sharing Monica!

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    1. Even people who hate oatmeal love oatmeal cookies! These are not traditional cookies, obviously, but it's so healthy that it's a nice change.

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  26. I've tried these cookies too and they're so delicious! I have to try adding jam, because they look lovely that way, and I'm sure that the flavor is fantastic. These are such perfect healthy snacks! xx

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    1. Oh, glad to know you've had them. I like a little add-in with it. I was surprised that it really worked! : )

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  27. Haha yeah, I hear you! I try not to go to grocery stores so often because I really need to save time for extra chores, but I'm not always planning my meals well that I end up going often! And I get excited with all the ingredients and tend to go crazy with shopping. =P Love your healthy treat. I don't make enough cookies, but I should make more of these cookies for my kids!

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    1. Lately, I have totally been over-buying, over-stocking that I'm actually reminding myself not to buy so much. I hate worrying about waste so I might as well just accept I need to make more trips to the store instead! : )

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