Healthy Treats

MORNING GLORIES

While cruising the aisles of my local grocery store recently, I stumbled across a serious abomination: Quaker Oat Breakfast Cookies. Now, the concept of breakfast cookies have been around for quite some time, as we have all found someway of justifying desserts to jump start our day: danishes, crepes, cupcakes without icing – a.k.a. ‘muffins’. However, these cookies take the cake, ahem, and have absolutely no redeeming value. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they are BAD for you. If you have a sec, go check out that ingredient list… Yowza! What were they thinking?!
High fructose corn syrup? Partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil? C’mon Quaker, get with times. That garbage is so 2005.

I can do way better than that. My version of the breakfast cookie, Morning Glories, are loaded with fiber, healthy fats, and get this…beans! But I promise, no bean taste. I promise. They are not only great for breakfast on the go, but sooo delicious at tea time, or a nutritious pick-me-up when that 4 p.m. tummy starts to growl.
Morning Glories are also a complete protein, thanks to their grain and bean combo. The perky lemon paired with the mellow, licorice-flavoured anise is totally unexpected and delightful. They are a bit little crunchy on the outside thanks to a healthy coating of calcium-packed sesame seeds, and so soft and chewy on the inside – you won’t believe it’s not cake!

The super fiber in Oats
The star ingredient in Morning Glories is oats, an energy-packed grain that is a familiar guest at the breakfast table. But did you know why oats are such a smart choice for you and your family?
Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan.
Beta-glucan has been shown to have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels by removing it from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream.
In laboratory studies reported in Surgery, beta-glucan significantly enhanced the human immune system’s response to bacterial infection. Beta-glucan not only helps neutrophils (the most abundant type of non-specific immune cell) navigate to the site of an infection more quickly, it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there.
And Type 2 diabetes patients given foods high in beta-glucan or given oatmeal or oat bran rich foods, experienced much lower rises in blood sugar compared to those who were given white rice or bread. Starting out your day with a blood sugar stabilizing food such as oats may make it easier to keep blood sugar levels under control the rest of the day, especially when the rest of your day is also supported with nourishing fiber-rich foods.
You’ll be doing your busy body a real favour by noshing a couple of these cookies before you run out the door.

Morning Glories
Ingredients:
-2 cups whole, rolled oats (not instant oats)
-1 cup whole grain flour (I used spelt)
-2 tsp. aniseed, crushed in mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or use the bottom of a glass
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. baking soda
-Zest of one, non-waxed lemon
-1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
-One 15-ounce can white kidney, great northern, or navy beans, rinsed & drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans)
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1 cup evaporated cane juice (or brown sugar)
-1 large organic egg
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/3 cup chopped dates
-2/3 cup sesame seeds

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350F degrees and place a rack in the top third. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Pulse the oats in a food processor (or blender) until they resemble a very rough flour. Transfer the oats to a large mixing bowl and whisk in the flour, aniseed, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest and salt.
3. Pulse the beans and olive oil in the food processor until they are creamy. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract and pulse until smooth. Add dates and pulse a few times until chopped and incorporated. Scrap down the sides of the bowl once or twice along the way.
4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until the ingredients start to come together. Stir until everything just comes together.
5. Place the sesames seeds in a bowl. With a tablespoon, scoop out some dough about the size of a golf ball, then roll it into a rough log shape. (Yes, the dough at this point is very wet, but it becomes very easy to handle once coated in sesame seeds.) Roll the log of dough into the sesame seeds, remembering to dip the ends too. Set each log on the prepared baking sheet and with the palm of your hand flatten the dough just a bit, into a bar shape. You want the bar to be the same thickness all the way through – do not make the ends flatter than the middle. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving at least an inch or so between each bar – they’ll spread a bit, but not much. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the sesame seeds around the bottom start to get golden.
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies, give or take a couple.
Store in an airtight container for a week (if they last that long!).


Now, in an ideal world I would omit the sugar entirely and use some alternative sweetener, but for now this version will have to do. I am still unsure about substituting a solid (evaporated can juice) for a liquid (such as maple syrup). If any of you experienced bakers know the answer to this, please let me know!
I have yet to try different flavour combinations in these Morning Glories, so I think my next batch will feature coconut flakes and bananas, or maybe cinnamon, cranberries and orange zest! This batter is the perfect blank canvas to experiment with different tastes, so get creative and get baking! No matter what personal flourishes you decide to employ, you can rest and wake assured that a healthy, whole food breakfast is waiting for you – because you’re one smart cookie yourself and every morning should be glorious.

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