Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eat: An experiment in breakfast cookies

August is a rough month.  I feel the new school year creeping up on me and I go through a few stages of madness.  The first stage involves aggressive merry-making, and somewhere between the stages that include compulsive shopping, short-temperedness and hyperventilating comes the baking.

The baking is a way to assuage my guilt a bit for the craziness that is about to descend upon the household as we all return to school and daycare.  Since mornings during the school year are a special kind of crazy around here, I thought I'd come up with a morning baked good that I could whip up on the weekend and give the kids for breakfast throughout the week.  They're fans of these Quaker Oats Breakfast Cookies that taste like they're made of sawdust and silly putty, so I figured I could invent a better version by healthying up my favorite unhealthy chocolate chip cookie.  Here's what I came up with:

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons of wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup fat-free vanilla flavored Greek yogurt
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
7 ounces 70% cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup finely grated zucchini

* I'm thinking a cup or so of chopped nuts would be a good addition, but they are strictly forbidden at both girls' schools and Little E eats her breakfast there.

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 and combine the flours, wheat germ, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine them.

2.  Use a mixer to cream together the butter and sugar.  (A stand mixer works really well for this recipe.)  Add the yogurt, then the eggs and vanilla. 

3.  Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Then, add the oats, zucchini and chocolate chunks.

4.  Use an ice cream scoop to put 1/4 cupfuls of dough about two inches apart on a cookie sheet.  If you line the sheet with foil, you'll save yourself some clean-up time.

5.  Bake for about 20 minutes, gently flattening each cookie with a spatula halfway through the cooking time.

6.  Allow the finished cookie to cool for five minutes on the cookie sheet before removing them to a rack to cool completely.

The verdict:  Well, I hope that they're as healthy as they taste...but they're actually not bad --sort of a cookie-muffin hybrid.  Most importantly, both girls liked them and no one questioned the zucchini.  So, guilt assuaged for now and I even managed to get in some vegetables; though I must remember to wipe their mouths before they leave the house, lest I be left to scrape chocolate off Big E's face at the school door with only a finger nail and some saliva...
Thankfully, Little E's post-breakfast face will be her teacher's problem.


  1. Love the pics, and recipe. Can I make it without the zuchinni?!

  2. If it's a flavor issue, you really don't taste the zuchinni. When I'm making dessert cookies I use coconut. If you go that route I'd use another stick of butter in place of the yogurt. Definitely less healthy, but also more delicious.