Growing up as a kid, I loved oatmeal raisin cookies. Absolutely loved ‘em. My mother would usually make a batch every few weeks, and they didn’t last long. I loved everything about them … except for one thing.
Everyone’s got their quirks. I like grapes. I like grape juice. But I just don’t like raisins. I’d be picking those out of the cookies and flicking them away (much to my mother’s consternation, because everyone else in the family liked raisins and why do you have to be the contrary one?). I liked the little bit of sweetness they imparted to the cookie, but the rest of it…not so much.
This came up when I recently came across my mother’s old recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies. I thought to myself, I wonder if I could make these cookies with something besides raisins? The answer was certainly a “yes.” How about these goji berries I just happened to be munching on? I like those. No reason I couldn’t use those, and they add a lot of nutritional benefits too.
Could I make these cookies vegan, too? Sure, why not? I was able to tinker with my mom’s old recipe, combining it with other ingredients - both old and new - and one’s sure to make my mother wonder what the heck I was doing to the venerable family recipe. I came up with a dough that didn’t taste exactly like my mom’s old recipe, but was certainly something I’d happily make again. Mom might even like them.
Vegan Oatmeal Goji Berry Cookies
1 cup organic almonds, toasted, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups rolled oats, divided
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (sub for GF flour, if desired)
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
1 cup goji berries, coarsely chopped
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly ground, naturally)
1/2 cup organic maple syrup
3 tbs almond milk (soy works too, but almond milk has the flavor profile we want)
4 tbs organic coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder)
Makes about 18 cookies
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Toss the almonds with the olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool, then chop finely - you can use a food processor, just be sure you don’t turn them into a powder. Pulsing a few times should be sufficient.
Rehydrate the goji berries by putting them in a bowl of spring water for about fifteen minutes, then chop coarsly.
Combine flour, baking soda, one cup of oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, almonds, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and mix together. In a smaller bowl, combine coconut oil, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla, whisk until blended, then add to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined, then add the remaining cup of rolled oats and goji berries.
Using a greased tablespoon or disher (or even your hands), make small balls about two tablespoons large and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten the balls with a spatula (or, again, your hands; they’re already messy) and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and move the cookies to a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes.
NOTE: If gluten-allergies are an issue, gluten-free oats are becoming easier to find, and there are several good gluten-free baking flours on the market you can substitute as well.
The end result is a bit sweeter and a bit tarter than the original, but still quite good in their own right. I’ll see what my mom thinks of them. Who knows, maybe I’ll get her to stop putting those nasty raisins in everything.
Dave Meddish, Live Superfoods