Oatmeal Spice Cookies


2 Cups Mashed Banana (or 2 Bananas)
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Oats (Slow or Quick Cook)
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (or Unbleached)
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 Cup Raisins (or Chopped Dried Apple)
1/4 Cup Soy Milk (or Dairy, Almond, Rice)

A Brief History

My mom has this recipe for a sweet, crunchy cookie called an "Oatmeal Crispy" that has always been a family favorite. Not sure where she found it, but what I later discovered when baking them myself is that the "crispy" quality is a direct result of combining 2 full sticks of butter with a cup of sugar over heat. Turns out this lite 'n' crispy cookie was anything but what its delicate appearance would suggest.

One of my tricks when rethinking nutrition a decade ago was to start with recipes I had always loved and modify them into something much healthier, hopefully still retaining a sense of what I liked about them in the first place.

This oatmeal cookie hybrid came about much later, perhaps only a couple years ago when longing for a snack or "treat" to enjoy with afternoon coffee. The main objective was to find a substitute for the abundance of fat (butter) and sugar that held the otherwise healthy oats and bits of fruit together.

What was that sweet, adhesive solution? --- Banana

The consistency of the banana filled in for the butter, and its natural sugars satisfied with subtle sweetness. Now for the proof of concept...


Start by mashing (2) bananas in a bowl until they have a thick liquid consistency, then mix in the vanilla extract. Set this mixture aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: oats, flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and cloves. I tend to use the slower cooking multi-grain oats (usually called "old fashioned" or "5 minute"), though the "quick oats" will absorb liquids faster and may be preferable if you want less of a raw oats taste and consistency. It's all a matter of taste.

Add the banana puree to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Fold in the raisins, or you might prefer to chop up some dried apple rings (no sugar added) as they also complement these flavors nicely. Pour in a small amount of milk to help with stirring this thick mixture. Allow to sit about 10 minutes so that the dry ingredients absorb the moisture of the banana.

Drop by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet and flatten into the shape you'd like them to bake (due to the removal of sugar and butter, these cookies will not spread much as they cook). Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes (ovens vary).

The finished cookie will be medium-to-dark brown much like a banana bread, and have somewhat of a cake texture rather than the original's naughty crunch. Still, the banana, mixed-in fruit, and spices make them just sweet enough to serve as an afternoon treat or quick breakfast snack on the go!