Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fruit and Spice Breakfast Cookies

22You know when your alarm clock goes off, and you hit snooze over and over? Or maybe you wake up to a radio program, and you just listen to it for too long. And soon, you realize you only have 30 minutes to get up and get out the door. For me, the first thing that gets cut from my morning routine is breakfast. I guess I choose to be clothed and clean breath-ed over being fed.

So lately, I've been trying to make quick and easy breakfast items to eat en route; you know, scones and muffins. This weekend I made breakfast cookies.

The idea is to have a good amount of healthy, whole grains, and a small amount of sugar with some satisfying flavors and add-ins like dried fruit and nuts. I started with my almond chocolate chip cookie recipe, but made some pretty notable changes. Then I started scrounging around for mix-ins.

I started with dried currants, because they're so much tastier than raisins, and I always have a box on hand. Then almonds, of course, because they are the best nut and I also always have some on hand - often in multiple forms. Right now, for example, I have whole roasted & salted almonds, almond meal, and almond  butter.

So then I started getting a bit creative. Frozen banana? Sure. All the spices on my sweet spice rack? Why not. How about some fresh ginger? Let me go ahead and add that right in. Let me tell you, the ginger is clutch, although Nick says it's the banana that makes these awesome.

Into the stand mixer it all went, and then into the oven. I thought this recipe might come out OK, but I planned on needing to make some major adjustments to make them really good. Imagine my surprise when they came out absolutely fabulous, just as they were. I might have eaten one or two right there. OK so maybe it was three.

Fruit and Spice Breakfast Cookies
(Makes 2 dozen. Takes about 1 hour including baking time)

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup ricotta cheese (you could probably also use yogurt)
1/2 tsp almond extract

1 cup rolled oats (not the instant kind)
2/3 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
2/3 cup 10-grain cereal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
(Or your favorite mix of spices)

Mix-ins: (Feel free to play around with this part. Here's what I added)
1/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/2 banana, cut up into small pieces
1" chunk of fresh ginger, grated.

Adjust oven racks to top and bottom thirds. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Blend the butter and sugars until uniform in stand mixer. (You could also do this with a hand-held mixer, or simply by hand with a wooden spoon.) Add the rest of the wet ingredients, and mix until uniform.

In a separate bowl, whisk all dry ingredients to combine. Add dry to wet, and mix just until no large streaks of flour mixture remain.

Add mix-ins to dough, and fold them in gently. Dough should be relatively uniform.

Scoop balls of dough onto cookie sheets about 2" apart using a small portion scooper. I use a #40 scoop.
Bake in 350F oven for about 12-14 minutes, rotating and switching sheets halfway through baking.

Cookie are done when edges are starting to brown.