It’s been a busy weekend, and I have to say my own reminder to “slow down and enjoy,” worked. Putting aside my school work today – after a nonstop week – I allowed myself a glorious beach excursion and am feeling entirely renewed and refreshed!
In celebration of my boyfriend’s birthday, we drove up the coast to Ventura for a brewery brunch and beach day (followed by epically delicious fish burritos on the pier, of course). I always love driving up the PCH, but especially today – having just marked my first year in California – I was struck by the first hint of autumn as it steadily engulfed the northern suburbs, seemingly overnight. It’s a bit different here than on the East Coast but regardless, in all corners and landscapes, autumn is my favorite season. The crispness in the air and the cool breeze, sweeping in merrily like an old friend, these moments are just as real here on the Westside. (Bring on sweater weather!)
So naturally, to properly conclude Matt’s birthday celebration and welcome in our good friend Autumn, I had to make my “semi-famous” homemade oatmeal cookies – traditionally, my grandma’s secret recipe. But, of course, I adapted the recipe to include my own spin – and if I may – a taste of the West Coast 😉 I thought I would share* because it’s a great example of how to make something classic and impressive, using what you have and made the way you want it (as delicious – and nutritious! – as humanly possible, for you).
I’d love to know how yours turn out!
California Oatmeal Cookies (makes 2 dozen)
- 1 ¾ cups Whole Wheat Flour – I actually used what we had in the cupboard: good ol’ enriched white flour. But, next time I would try Whole Wheat flour or there are great substitutes like coconut, soy or almond flour that you can find in a Whole Foods, and are gluten-free – and delicious!
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder – $1.99 at Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) – Note: different then Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda – $1.99 at Trader Joe’s, but check the back of your fridge first!
- 1 cup Organic Coconut Sugar – I used “Organic Coconut Sugar” from TJ’s this time around (no regrets!), but I would advocate for any raw or organic sugar first, then cane sugar, then synthetic sugar/artificial sweeteners – if you’re going to make cookies, you should do ‘em right!)
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt – I used sea salt because – especially when paired with dark chocolate – it just seems to make everything better! Pink rock salt (i.e. Himalayan) is also great if you can find it, as it’s chock-full of minerals for detoxification (if you go this route, make sure you get “table/cooking salt” as there are other varieties for bathing, etc. as well) And if all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with iodized [regular old table] salt!
- 2 Cage-Free Eggs – If you can afford to go cage free and/or organic, please do! (Just think of a bunch of chickys playing in the grass and laying eggs versus being cooped up in a dark shed – that always gets me. Support Chicky Playtime, Go Cage Free!)
- ½ cup Coconut Oil – I was excited to use coconut oil because I was curious how it might change the consistency. I have to say they look and taste very much the same, with a little hint of coconut. (Also from the sugar. We’re on a coconut kick!) Other options here might include: vegetable oil, olive oil (earthier taste, better for your heart), sunflower oil (try Whole Foods for this), applesauce or your favorite butter or margarine – there are also a few good coconut oil-based margarine brands out there! (We love a brand called, Melt.)
- 6 tablespoons Molasses – I went straight for it on this one and used the real thing.
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla syrup – Ditto.
- 2 cups Gluten-Free Quick Oats* add later – I used TJ’s steel-cut, gluten-free quick oats because that’s what I had on hand. Any oats will do (including Quaker) as long as they’re “quick” oats.
- Any Add-ons: Your chance to add in whatever you like (and they can be different each time you make them)! Some ideas might be dark chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts, chopped almonds, apricots or figs. 6 oz. of one goody is enough for the whole batch – if you plan to use several add-ons, remember to use less of each. (I made some plain, some with dark chocolate and chopped walnuts and paired with vanilla soy ice cream (non-dairy is happier to digest, especially for late night snacking. And still delicious)…Mmm)
325 F for 12-15 minutes
- Combine ingredients in a bowl (ideally, in order as listed) and stir until the mixture is even and doughy.
- Add in Quick Oats (& add-ons) and roll into dough using spoon, until even throughout.
- Use tablespoon to drop dough onto greased pan, do not flatten out.
- Heat in oven at 325 F for 12-15 minutes.
Enjoy! And remember to keep some, and share the rest with family and friends (and classmates and coworkers and mail-carriers). Because, food is love ❤