oat + choc chip cookies

I want to blame my pregnancy cravings for my need to have freshly baked cookies within reach at all times, but I know this desire exists equally as much when I am not with child. The making, the baking, the dipping in the milk…it’s all a fantasy of the cookie process that is often lingering in the forefront of my mind.

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But as you know, one cannot snack on sugary, so-calorie-high-it’ll-make-you-hallucinate cookies all the time for the simple fact it’s not good for you (and one’s teeth might fall out). Good for your soul, yes. Good for your insulin levels and general health, maybe not. So, I’m always trawling for recipes that allow me to bend the rules about just how many cookies I can ingest before I head steadily into a sugar coma. And of course, I’m always conscious about the nutrition side of things. Well, ladies and gents, these are my perfect little morsels of heaven.

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I’m truly not a fan of the super-sweet cookie, preferring a much more substantial kind, one that could double as an afternoon snack with a glass of milk, and keep me going ’til dinner. These oat cookies are sweet enough to satisfy your cravings, yet wholesome enough and not likely to spike your sugar levels. Oh, and you don’t even need stirring utensils! All you need is the one bowl and your two hands. I’ve amended the recipe from The Healthy Chef, simply to suit my own tastes and because I can’t leave well enough alone. I’m certain you’ll love these, especially when dunked into a tall glass of milk. If you prefer a more chewy cookie, decrease the sugar to 1/3 cup, although they’ll be slightly less sweet of course. I often make them with the lesser amount of sugar during the week for the kids and make a cheeky batch for the hubby and I with that just touch more sugar. We deserve it.

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oat + choc chip cookies – adapted from The Healthy Chef – makes 12 – wheat free (can be gluten free if oats are certified)

you’ll need…

  • 2 cups/200g rolled oats (traditional style)
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup rapadura sugar (decrease to 1/3 cup for a more chewy, less sweet cookie)
  • 60g melted butter
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g 70% cocoa choc chips

here’s what you do…

  1. Preheat oven to 150C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine all ingredients except the choc chips, mixing and squishing with your hands until the oats start to stick together. Let mixture rest for a few minutes to allow oats to soften.
  2. Add in the choc chips and mix through. Using an ice-cream or cookie scoop (or simply your hands) form into little mounds and place on the tray. You should have around 11 or 12. I use this OXO Cookie Scoop – it’s a lifesaver.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, checking half way through. Allow to cool on the tray. Serve with a tall glass of milk, at any time of the day you see fit.
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vanilla-chai bircher with cashew milk, figs + buckinis

Milky chai, in its most traditional form, laden with honey and sweet milk, is purely satisfying in both its spice and richness. It wraps me up, parts the clouds for a mere moment. So what on earth am I doing sharing such a warming, nurturing recipe in the heat of summer? See, this is where I blow your mind. This bircher has the delectable flavour of chai interwoven with vanilla and cashew, yet it’s served cold. Neat, huh? Of course, come winter, when your bones are a snowflake away from being pure ice, you can warm this up in the pan, adding a little more milk to loosen it up. Soaking the oats and seeds overnight will assist with digestion, allowing nutrients like vitamin B, magnesium and iron to be readily absorbed into your body, perfect for sensitive tummies. Plus, who doesn’t like having breakfast ready the moment they roll out of bed?

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I love the creamy richness the cashew milk imparts, and I find it to be gentler on my tummy, but feel free to indulge in any other nut milk or full cream dairy. It’d work especially well with almond milk, even coconut milk. If you can’t get a hold of those magical, fresh figs (say, from a neighbours overhanging tree), sub in any other stonefruit, or in the winter months, oranges would team nicely. And try to get your hands on either pre-made buckini’s or make them yourself (super easy), you won’t regret the cinnamony-crunch they add. This recipe is totally adaptable, it’ll change with the seasons. It’ll become like a good friend to you, honest.

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vanilla-chai bircher with cashew milk, figs + buckinis – serves 1

you’ll need…

  • 1/3 cup oats (not the quick-cooking type)
  • 1 tsp flaxseeds/linseeds
  • 1/2 tbsp pepitas/pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup cashew milk (I make mine with a ratio of 1 cup of soaked nuts to 3 cups of water)
  • 1/4 cup strongly brewed black chai (my all time fave is Prana Chai’s masala blend)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • to serve – caramelised buckinis (to make your own, you’ll find the recipe I used here), fresh figs, natural yoghurt, extra milk if preferred

here’s what you do…

  1. Combine the oats, seeds, vanilla and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add the cashew milk and mix to combine, ensuring all the ingredients are wet.
  3. Dissolve the honey in the tea, then add to the bowl of oats, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Soak overnight and sleep tight.
  5. The next morning, slice up your figs and top the bircher with them along with the buckinis, yoghurt and a cheeky drizzle of honey, should your heart so desire. If it’s cold, heat the mix in the pan gently before adding the toppings.

cocoa + hazelnut oats with banana

So this happened. There was no way around it this morning, especially not with the way my eyes were bulging from my head after a long, restless night. Sick kidlets = tired mama. But I guess from such a situation arose this delicious breakfast, so it wasn’t a complete loss.  When hubby asked what I’d had for breakfast, he was intrigued as to how I’d worked my all time favourite ingredient into my breakfast meal. He was excited enough when I made these must-make pancakes, so it’s not like I’m above incorporating chocolate and breakfast. Oh no, not at all.

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These oats were thrown together in such haste that I was surprised they were as comforting and soul-nourishing as they were. I’ve run out of cacao, hence the use of cocoa, but do as you please and use whichever you prefer. I quickly blended up some hazelnut milk as I was out of almonds, but feel free to use whatever nut-free milk you prefer. Or even cows milk. But beware, you’ll remove the hazelnutty-ness, so just remember to add it back maybe with some crushed hazelnuts on top. Or don’t, who am I to tell you how to eat your oats?

cocoa + hazelnut oats with banana – serves 1 – dairy free, wheat free and refined sugar free

you’ll need…

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup hazelnut milk (blend up 1 cup hazelnut milk with 3-5 cups water, depending on your preference for thickness – I love it thick!)
  • 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract/vanilla bean paste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cocoa/cacao
  • 1 banana, sliced on the diagonal
  • flaked/sliced almonds, chia seeds + extra nut milk, to serve
  • maple syrup, to serve (optional)

here’s what you do…

  1. Add oats, hazelnut milk, coconut sugar, salt, vanilla and cocoa to a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring frequently, until oats are tender and liquid has reduced/gone creamy. If you prefer more sweetness in your oats, add some more coconut sugar or maple syrup.
  2. Serve topped with extra milk, banana, chia and almonds, and if you prefer, a drizzle of maple. Enjoy!