Healthier Thin Mint Cookies

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While in the process of going through EVERYTHING I own for my big move down to Texas, I also had to go through a lot of separation. I let go of bags and bags of clothes, books, and surprisingly some food stuffs I’d never used up. With the food, though, I was able to eat my way through a lot of the dried goods I’d accumulated during my two years in this apartment. One of which was a bag of pitted dates. So yummy, and bought with equally yummy intentions for a dessert I had in mind in the spring.CC Pics 009

But that idea passed. The dessert went unmade, and then I remembered a Thin Mint Brownie recipe from the Fabulous Chocolate-Covered Katie, whose cookbook comes out soon, I hope (Katie?).

Well these tasty treats are really good. Just ask the friends I made them for, for a summer picnic in July. And you could ask the other group of friends who tried them, too, at a fireworks show. They were happy to indulge, and I only felt bad when they looked at my little thin mint cookies and then looked at the big, sugary-frosted store-bought ones they bought with a twinge of remorse.

Okay, I didn’t feel too bad about giving friends a healthier alternative they liked just as much. I didn’t want anyone to feel embarrassed about the cookies they brought though. CC Pics 010

To share this positive embarrassment/ healthy kindness with your own friends, check out the recipe I’ve adapted from CCK’s version for a slightly chewier, cholate-ey-er cookie recipe.

Ingredients

1/2 cup walnuts

1 and 1/2 cups pitted dates

1 t vanilla extract

1.5 T cocoa powder

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scant pinch of salt

1 t stevia

Directions

-Combine all ingredients in your food processor. Blend ’til a dough forms.

-Roll into bite-sized balls and flatten between your palms for a flat cookie.

-If you wanted a small pan of brownies, simply press the dough into a small pan and slice.

-Serve cold or even frozen if that’s how you like your thin mint cookies (I do!). Enjoy.

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Instant Deep-Dish Oatmeal Cookie

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A lot of you say you read my recipes but never actually try them because it looks like they take too long to make. I often get told, “Yes, that sounds healthy and delicious, but why would I want to make just one? I’d make a whole batch instead… I don’t like getting all those ingredients for one little treat… Too much work… I’m tired…”SAM_4890

I’m not going to say those are excuses in my book, but I will give you a no-excuses recipe I think you’ll like. But first, a few reasons:

1. Do it for your bank account! Single servings save you money.

2. Do it because few leftovers are ever as good as their original selves.

3. Do it to save resources. How much of the materials and ingredients used to make multiple-serving recipes just end up stale and in the trash?SAM_4483

4. Do it for portion control. The one Americans understand the least.

5. Do it because it’s fun! I love to experiment with cooking/ baking, and single-serving recipes let me try lots of new types of cuisine. Some fail. Some are delicious.

On to the super simple deep-dish cookie…

Ready for this?

IngredientsSAM_4493

1 packet of oatmeal

1-2 T almond milk (or regular milk or yogurt)

optional: dash of baking powder, vanilla

and whatever mix-ins you like (I like cinnamon + peanut butter, and chocolate chips on top)

Directions

Empty out the oatmeal into a microwave-safe dish. Mix in milk or other substitute (you should add in about half of whatever the oatmeal directions specify so it’s not runny.SAM_4888

Mix well, but again, make sure it stays firm and wet, not soupy. If you’re not feeling too lazy, you can add in the dash of baking powder and vanilla. Top with whatever mix-ins you like. Microwave as directed. If not completely firmed up like a cookie, press sides together with the side of a spoon and microwave a tad longer or pop it into the broiler for a crispier finish.

It’s essentially like some of my baked oatmeal recipes and it’s delicious.

So, no excuses! Try it. I dare your lazy bones… 😉

Hotcake Hearts Bar & Muffins

“Only boring people get bored.” quoth Ruth Burke.

I’m always looking for a new and crazy recipe inspiration, something odd and out there, and this is because I get bored easily with the most commonplace dishes that make up the American diet.

Does this mean I’m boring?

Or does the pursuit of new baking ideas make me an innovator? The antilogoi to boring?

Did you ever think food preparation could be so philosophical?

I did and do. Just read my “Philosophies & Such” page.

Or make this warm brunch treat and see what you can learn about yourself.

Makes 1 big hotcake heart or 6-7 mini muffins.

Ingredients

3 T nondairy milk

1/2 T melted vegan butter or applesauce

1/4 large egg or flax egg, mixed

1/2 T stevia

1/4 cup spelt or white whole wheat flour

dash of baking powder

splash of vanilla

optional: dash of salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease whatever pan you’d like to bake in. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Then blend in wet.

Transfer to prepared dish and bake for 6-7 minutes for mini muffins, 10-12 for the hotcake heart.

Serve warm and top with whatever you like. Pure maple syrup is delicious, but so is my favorite cream cheese frosting.

Mini Cherry Crunch Pie

Need a pie fix quick?

I’m not a huge pie fan, especially not fruit pies, but there’s something sweet about this little mini cherry pie. I like it. So much that I might try the same recipe with blueberries.

And peaches.

And maybe apples, too?

You could probably sub any fruit you like. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 T oats

1 T white whole wheat flour (or spelt)

1 T stevia

1/2 T cinnamon

1 T nondairy milk

2-3 cherries, chopped

optional: 1 t organic light brown sugar

Directions

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a mini pie dish or ramekin with a rounded bottom. Set aside.

-Combine all ingredients, except cherries in a small bowl. Mix well.

-Place half of mixture in the prepared dish. Press down to form a thick-ish crust.

-The next layer should be the cherries. Spread evenly, but don’t place cherries along the outer edges.

-Take remaining dough and pat into a flat cookie-like patty. Place over cherry layer and pinch sides shut. Slice vents in the top if you like.

-Bake for about 6-7 minutes. Likewise, you could also try microwaving this little pie for 90 seconds.

Sweet & Salty Pretzel Crunch Bars

There are some pairs that are just perfect.

Gin and tonic.

Birds and the bees.

Pen and paper (+ creative inspiration).

And if you’re lucky, a perfect pair of jeans. 🙂

Of course, there are plenty of perfect food pairings, too. The one I can’t resist? Ever? Sweet and salty. There was a point in my life when I thought Nature’s Valley Sweet-and-Salty Peanut Butter Granola Bars were going to be the end of me. I inhaled them!

That’s an exaggeration, I know. There’s nothing bad about them, especially in moderation, as the Greeks would advise. But if you’re like me, sweet and salty is hard to do in moderation. But what makes this flavorful pairing so hard to resist also makes it highly desirable.

Desire away, dearests! I’ve adapted this Sweet & Salty Pretzel Crunch Bar recipe from Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Pretzel Bars. It’s perfect for one, and I think this version is made even sweeter with a honey and peanut-butter honey substitution, too.

Makes 3 bars.

Ingredients

1/4 cup brown rice crispies (smashed up a bit)

2 T spelt or white-whole wheat flour

5-6 mini pretzel twists, crushed

scantest dash of stevia

1/4 t vanilla

1 T organic raw honey

1 T peanut butter (I used an organic-honey version from my local health market)

Directions

Combine dry ingredients. Mash up well.

Then add in honey, peanut butter and vanilla. Press into dry ’til sticky and well mixed.

Press into bars or other desired shape. You can either freeze for a colder bar or melt a few dark chocolate chips over the top. Spread the melted chips evenly and let cool for a nice crunchy coating. Top with one pretzel or more crushed ones.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. I’m planning on making them for a potluck very soon. I know my writing center tutors will gobble them up.

Maple Syrup Oat Muffin

Not quite like oatmeal.

Not quite like a traditional muffin.

Not quite like a flapjack.

This delicious baked treat is deliciously odd. It takes from the three beloved breakfast staples, ones that can easily be prepared in a bland way, and pulls them together with a rich, flavorful syrup taste.

Yum.

Ingredients

2 T quick oats (save 1 t for topping)

2 T spelt or whole-wheat flour

dash of baking powder and cinnamon

1 t vegan butter

2 t pure maple syrup

1 flax egg

1 T nondairy milk

optional: chopped pecans or sliced almonds

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin slot or a ramekin. Set aside.

-Combine all dry ingredients; then wet.

-Softly mold to prepared baking dish. Press in extra oats and nuts.

-Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean. Alternatively, you can microwave for about a minute and a half.

Top with extra maple syrup or honey if you like. Serve fresh out of the oven.

“Nutz Over Chocolate” Copycat Candies

Luna bars are pretty good. They claim to be the very best nutrition bar for women, and they’re certainly not bad considering they’re packed with vitamins and minerals.

But what if you could just make your own? And do so using a lot less sugar.

The thought came to me when I was perched up in the engineering complex quad, munching on a promotional Luna bar, “Nutz Over Chocolate,” to be exact.

I thought to myself, “I can make this. Easy!” With Chocolate-Covered Katie’s copycat recipe as a guide, I went to work. Changed a few ingredients around. Scaled back to a single serving.

And then decided that a candy ball was more fun than a regular bar.

I’m not going to hold anything back. I’m just going to say it: This recipe is SO MUCH BETTER than the Luna bar I had for lunch today. So much.

Thank goodness for pleasant surprises.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup rice crispies (brown rice works great!)
  • 1 t coconut flour
  • dash of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T all-natural, salt-free peanut butter
  • 1 t sticky sweetener, such as agave or brown rice syrup (I used agave)
  • optional: 1-2 t protein powder
  • dark chocolate chips

Directions

-Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish. I used a cake balls tray for this candy-like version, but you can use a regular ramekin.

-In small bowl, toss crispies and flour together. Place nut butter, sweetener, and vanilla on top. Microwave for a few seconds (7-9) just to warm up the mix.

-Mix well. Smash the crispies for a tighter crisp, and to keep all ingredients stuck together better.

-Press into your dish. Evenly distribute chocolate chips on top. I used two per candy.

-Bake for only 2-3 minutes. This is just long enough to let some of the ingredients fuse and melt the chocolate on top.

-Remove from oven. Smear the chocolate around for a bottom coating. Let cool in the freezer. Pop out and serve.

Gingerbread Brownie

English is a living, breathing language. This claim enables me to make up words. No, my words are not made up at random. They are always purposeful and more descriptive of a state or condition than any other currently existing words.

Today’s word is a verb in past tense: “Cookied Out.” As in, I have had so many cookies lately that I am effectively cookied out.

If you find yourself in this state of mind, know that you are not alone. I too find myself cookied out sometimes. In July, I find this inconceivable. As the holiday season gradually encroaches, I quickly remember. December is still a ways away. It’s too early to experience this condition already.

But I never lose my sweet tooth. Oh, no. I just seek a new sweet instead.

I’m not yet brownied out, and this delicious treat (inspired by a similar recipe from Healthful Pursuit) is fixing my dessert conundrum quite well.

Try it! If you like the strong sweetness of blackstrap molasses, you’re sure to love it.

Ingredients

4 T whole wheat flour

1 T cocoa powder

dash of cinnamon, ginger, and baking powder

1 T stevia

1 T blackstrap molasses

flax egg (1/2 t flax +1/2 water, mixed)

2 T nondairy milk

optional: Pumpkin spice Hershey’s kiss to melt and swirl around on top

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a ramekin. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients; then blend in wet.

-Transfer to ramekin and bake for about 12-14 minutes. Or microwave on high for a minute and a half.

-Let cool slightly.

I recommend serving warm. And if you’d like to have an easy pumpkin-spice icing like the one I had, just nab that kind of Hershey’s kiss, unwrap, and rub in a circle until the entire kiss has melted and a frosting forms.

Apple-Cinnamon Haystacks

I love fall! Don’t you?

I also love this single-serving recipe, one I’ve adapted from the wonderfully creative culinaire, Healthful Pursuit.

Why?

I could go on and on about its delicious flavor and warm spice aroma. But I do that all the time. AND this time is a little different…

I love this recipe because I’ve found two ways to make it.

Option 1: Bake into cookie-like balls if you want a soft crunch. (Yes, I realize that’s an oxymoron, but for this recipe it applies.)

Option 2: Microwave or bake for a few minutes in the oven, then spread over a crisp apple slice–sort of like a warm spread.

You choose your apple-icious adventure. I promise to you that both are excellent.

Makes about 3 balls or one large serving of spread.

Ingredients

2 T steel-cut oats

pinch of cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ground cloves

1 t stevia

1 T peanut butter (or sunflower or other nut butter)

1 T applesauce

dash of vanilla

2 T chopped apple

Directions

-To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish. Set aside.

-Mix all dry; then mix in wet. Form into balls and transfer to prepared dish.

-For cookies, bake about 10-12 minutes. For a spicy spread, bake for only 6-7 minutes.

Pumpkin Protein Bar

October tastes like pumpkin! As I trained for my first half marathon, I was inhaling protein and carbs to keep my body fueled. Hence why I love this yummy fall protein bar. Really, it’s more like a dessert or a … Continue reading