(Psst. I took some better pictures of these cookies now that I can actually kind of sort of work a camera. I'll leave the other pic's below so the post makes sense, but know that your food won't look entirely like deer droppings.)
(And here's the old photo.)
When you make chocolate-y things that are lumpy in form and then try to take pictures of them, you take certain risks. I will not elaborate too much on those risks, but there's a reason truffle makers often make them perfectly round or add little swirly do's to the tops--because chocolate lumpy things sometimes look like other lumpy things--things that rhyme with doggy choo, if you follow my drift.
Yeah, so anyway, these don't look like much. But they are possibly the best breakfast cookies I have made. And, not to be too humble or anything, I have made some good ones.
Also, if it matters to you, they're only 1 alteration away from being gluten free.
So get in touch with some inner beauty and give these a go.
Chocolate Oat Breakfast Cookies (aka Waybetterthantheylook Breakfast Cookies)
Makes 12-15 small cookies
Adapted from Kaylyn's Kitchen (hers look prettier than mine)
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 7-8 minutes
Cost of batch: $1.00
(Whole wheat: .12, cocoa: .25, baking soda: .01, butter .50, sugars: .05, vanilla: .01, oatmeal: .05)
Note on oat flour: I make my own by putting oats in the blender and blending until fine. It's a little chunkier than store bought, but still great (I think better in these cookies because it adds some nice texture). The original recipe actually called for "oatmeal crumbs," which would be a little coarser than what I made, but just by a bit.
Note on pecans: Nuts don't quite fit into our cheap eat challenge, but I chopped up 3 and put them in 2 of the cookies just to see how they would taste. They were really really good--and I don't usually like nuts cooked into my cookies.
Note on gluten-free oats: As you'll see in the comments, not all oats are gluten-free. However, if you need them you can order them online. After a QUICK glance over the internet, Bob's Red Mill looks to the be affordable.
Note on egg: If you'd like, you can add an egg to these (after you've creamed butter and sugar). A friend recommended this in order to make the cookies less crumbly. I tried it and it does make them more cohesive. Which is nice. However, as they stand these cookies have a rich, almost short bread/European cookie kind of taste to them. Adding the egg caused them to lose that quality. I prefer them without the egg. However, with the egg they're still delicious and they're less of a pain because they do cohese (is that a word) better.
2/3 C whole wheat flour (Use oat flour if going gluten-free)
5 T cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C butter, melted (I tried less, but it was just not wet enough--you can maybe cut out 1 Tbsp, but not much more)
2 T brown sugar
3 T white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp (a generous 1/3 C) oat flour
1/4 C chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 C chopped pecans (optional)
In large bowl mix whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a different bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix. Stir in oat flour or "oatmeal crumbs", then add chopped chocolate or pecans (or both if you like to live dangerously).
Roll into balls and then smash a bit. And by 'roll' I mean press into balls with your hands, because the dough is very very crumbly (in fact it looks like crumbs). If it's too crumbly add another T melted butter or T milk.
Bake at 350 for 7-9 minutes.
P.S. These are great at room temperature, but they are out of this world a bit warm.
P.P.S. I've been doing some further experimenting with these to see if I could get them even healthier. Here are some ideas.
1. I made them with half peanut butter and half butter. Good, but I needed an extra tablespoon of milk to make them ball-able.
2. I made them with all peanut butter (I even melted the peanut butter). It turned out remarkably dry. I ended up needing to add 1/4 C more wet stuff (I was experimenting, so I threw in yogurt, butter, and milk). Still they were barely workable and came out more dry than usual. If you want to add more peanut butter, this is what I recommend: 6 Tbsn peanut butter, 2 Tbsp butter, and (probably) 2 Tbsp milk.
3. I made them with 4 Tbsp (1/4 C) butter and 4 Tbsp (1/4 C) coconut oil. In the same night (because sometimes I cannot stop myself) I made them with 1/2 C coconut oil. They were both very very good. The texture of the half butter half coconut oil was slightly more cohesive, while I preferred the flavor of the all coconut oil one (I love coconut). If you make the all coconut oil cookies, you'll probably want to add and extra tablespoon of oat flour as they were acutally a little wet (normally this dough is a bit crumbly so I was surprised). Also, I threw a tablespoon or so of coconut flakes into a couple of the test cookies and that was super super good, so if you want to add 1/4 C coconut flakes to these cookies whether or not you use coconut oil, you won't regret it (unless you hate coconut and then you will regret it). I meant to take a picture of the coconut flake ones because they were quite pretty, but then I forgot and ate them first--is that alarmingly cookie-monster-ish? Hmmm. Also, are you getting lost in these run-on sentences yet? In closing: Why coconut oil? It is supposed to be quite healthy. Have a look here if you want to know why. Coconut oil isn't cheap (I'm only able to use it for this challenge because one of my best friends gave me some as a gift), but Mountain Rose Herbs sells quality stuff for a good price. And...One final note: My son, who does not like coconut, could tell even with the half and half cookies that there was coconut in them, which surprised me. He wouldn't eat them, saying, "They taste like coconut." So, be warned.