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The Batter Thickens: Healthier Coconut M&M Cookies

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Healthier Coconut M&M Cookies

Every year, my school does this thing called "J-Term" (short for January Term) where for the month of January we just take one class. It's pretty cool... If you get a good class. This year, mine was Weight Training and Nutrition. Overall, it wasn't too bad. There wasn't a lot of work, but in some ways that was bad because there was zero structure to the class. But we did learn a little bit about nutrition, so I started looking up different healthy recipes to make. I found a lot of healthy real food, but real food gets kind of boring after a while, you know? 

Eventually I stumbled across these cookies on Imma Eat That and thought they were perfect. And because we had some lovely coconut M&M's sitting around in the pantry just waiting to be used, I made these pretty quickly one day on impulse. Impulse bakes (is that the right word? bakings? baking sessions?) are normally the best bakes, in my experience. And these didn't prove me wrong.

While my class did cause me to think a lot about what I eat, it didn't turn me into one of those health-food nuts. This isn't turning into a health-food blog. Healthy eating lesson number one: it's okay to not eat healthy sometimes and the perfect way to do that is to eat brownies and cake.

In fact, I love the word "healthIER" they use in the title of this recipe. Like, yeah, these aren't amazing for you, but they could be a lot worse, so dig in.

I mean I wouldn't have even posted these if they were up to par with everything else on here. Meaning, they are really good.

The use of M&M's and sweetened coconut (you could probably use unsweetened and get a similar, slightly less sweet result) ensured that these cookies were still plenty sweet, despite only the 1/4 cup of sugar in the recipe.

I can assure you that these didn't even taste healthy. They tasted just about as healthy as any oatmeal cookie you've had. They don't taste whole-wheat- or bran- or grain- or flaxseed-y. (None of those things are even used) I promise. This is not one of those "Oh yeah, they tasted just like the real thing" moments when it really tastes nothing like the real thing *cough, cough* every healthy food blog ever *cough, cough*

Sometimes I have really intense cravings for oatmeal cookies, and these are perfect for those moments. The coconut gives the whole cookie an interesting spin because ordinarily when you think oatmeal cookie you don't think coconut and when you think coconut you don't think oatmeal cookie. But they actually make a marvelous combination (I plan to look more into it, wink, wink). The whole cookie tastes like coconut, thanks to the coconut oil and shredded coconut, not just the M&M's.

My only complaint about these cookies? The fact that the coconut M&M's are green. It makes them look weird. Whoever decided that coconut flavored M&M's should be colored green must be a little bit confused. Coconuts aren't green. They grow on palm trees, but they themselves are not green when they're ripe. I guess if you really wanted a good look in these, you could pick out the green M&M's. And then eat them, because what else are you going to do with them? ;)


Healthier Coconut M&M Cookies
Makes: about 13 cookies
Adapted from: Imma Eat That

1/2 cup sweetened or unsweetened coconut
1 1/4 cup oat flour*
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup coconut M&M's
1 egg
1/4 cup plain 0% fat greek yogurt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread coconut out on it. Baked in oven for a 5-10 minutes, or until golden and crispy on the edges.
3. In a bowl, combine oat flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, M&M's, and coconut. Melt the two tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds, then 15 second increments after that. In a separate bowl, combine egg, greek yogurt, coconut oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until a dough is formed.
4. Roll dough into balls and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Take the cookies out of the oven before the bottoms turn golden brown, they're easy to overcook.
5. Place on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, or just dig in.

*To make oat flour, put 1-1 1/4 cups oats in a food processor and process until they are the consistency of flour.

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