Cookie for breakfast

When the kids came back from their week at Grandma and Grandpa’s, I had a new breakfast idea up my sleeve.  Some weeks back, I discovered Iowa Girl Eats, a great blog by, get this, a local!  It’s full of enthusiasm and great ideas, is practical and not pretentious, and features some lovely pictures.  

Kristin at IGE posts often about this “breakfast cookie.” From first mention, I was intrigued.  Initially, I thought a breakfast cookie would essentially be a granola bar, just a different shape. 

Not so.  While not as portable as a granola bar, it most definitely tastes better.  The oats are tender and creamy after spending the night hours softening in the yogurt and banana mixture, the creamy spread of yogurt is like frosting, and the fruit on top gives it a wake-you-up pop of deliciousness!  

 

The first time I made one, I was hooked.  (Though I will admit I was a bit skeptical when I prepped it the night before…Don’t fret if you try it and feel the same.  It’s totally worth any “is this really going to be any good?” doubts you might have.) 

Given my general lack of time every. single. morning, the breakfast cookie is ideal for me us because 

  1. It requires very little prep. 
  2. There’s no need to turn on the oven. 
  3. It requires just a few basic staples and only the teeniest bit of forethought.
  4. It’s packed with protein and filling enough to keep you going all morning.

 

Now, I tried this out on my kids and was surprised by their reactions.  Birdgirl loves oatmeal.  We’re talking loooooves it, even more so if there’s a dollop of yogurt on top. So, naturally, I thought she’d love the breakfast cookie.  The Boy, on the other hand, is not a fan of oatmeal, or new things in general, so I didn’t have high hopes for his review. 

All this is to say she didn’t like it and he did like it. Go figure. 

Anyway, I thought it was fantastic.  It’s even better with this: 

Best. yogurt. EVER.

 

I imagine you could mix this up any number of ways: 

– Use plain yogurt as a base and play off virtually any fruit (from fresh berries or peaches in the summer, to cooked apples in the fall); use vanilla yogurt (it’s like frosting); or pair a fruit combo–like bananas in the oats, strawberry yogurt for the topping. 

– Add some peanut butter and maybe some honey to the oat mixture (I tried this and loved it; kids…weren’t so crazy about it) 

– Include some dried fruit or, better yet, chocolate chips in the oat mix or on top! 

  

Here’s your starting point: 

Breakfast Cookie 

from Iowa Girl Eats 

1/4 c. oats 

1/2 mashed banana 

yogurt 

1 T. slivered or sliced almonds 

Mix the oats, mashed banana, and a few spoonfuls of yogurt and spread onto a small plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, top your cookie with a spread of yogurt and your favorite fruit.

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Chocolate chip cookies

*hi* she says meekly.

It’s been a while, no?  Though it would seem perfectly plausible given my month-long (*gasp*) absence from this blog:
A. My kitchen has not been under lockdown.
B. I have not been feeding my family fast food (very often) or “dinners” from the freezer section.
C. I have not accidentally nipped my own fingers while wolfing down cookies.
It’s just, you know, April is such a busy month.

I know.  That’s not an excuse for a real blogger. 

But it works for me.  Because I’m not a real blogger, I just play one on this here Internet.

And about those cookies??

Well, there have been a good many cookies around my kitchen lately.  While I haven’t exactly been prolific in writing about them, my Kitchen Aid has been prolific in the production of these delicious bits of wonder over the past six weeks.

Why chocolate chip cookies?

(Really, why not?!)

Because, after a lifetime of searching, I have finally landed on the. perfect. recipe.  To me, the perfect chocolate chip cookie has a specific structure; it’s a full-bodied cookie with lumps of chips and valleys of buttery, brown sugary cookie .  It is most decidedly not a flat, textureless disc.  Oh no.

About the texture, it must be ever-so-slightly crispy on the outside edges, chewy in the middle but not so much so that it can’t hold its shape when you lift it off the pan. And they must be full of chips.

And taste.  Sweet—it’s a cookie, after all—but not too sweet.  These  chips are my favorite; they make for the best, most balanced cookie.  But semisweet chips do just fine, too, and are what I use most often because they’re so readily available in my regular stores.

So, about the rest of the ingredients:  I’m a huge proponent of butter in baking.  The taste is far superior to anything made with margarine or shortening.  Though, I’ll admit, I have experimented with margarine in baking in attempts to create that perfectly structured cookie.  While margarine produces a good-looking cookie, the taste comes nowhere close to cookies made with butter.

Many of the recipes that call for butter direct you to cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, add the rest of the wet ingredients, then stir in the dry.  You know, the back-of-the-bag standard.  So that’s what I’d do, and then I’d bake them at 375° and they’d spread all over and resemble more of a spill than a cookie. 

I suspected that the spreading was due to the butter melting during its spell in the oven, but I was at a loss for how to incorporate the butter in a way that would result in a better-structured cookie.  I tried sturdier flours; I tried hand-mixing (thinking it would incorporate less air so there wouldn’t be that rise-and-fall result); I tried a combo of butter and margarine; I tried applesauce (yeah…).

And, after all those attempts, I landed on this gem in which you melt the butter first.  Until now, I assumed it counterintuitive to melt the butter because surely melted butter will give you a softer batter that will spread even more readily in the oven, right?  Wrong.  Melted butter = fat + water, so when you melt the butter at the outset, the water in the melted butter combines with proteins in the flour, which then, if I understand correctly, become gluten.  The gluten provides the chewy factor and gives the cookie that just-right structure.  Aha!  (After reading Alton Brown’s explanation and figuring that out, I feel all food scientist-y!)

Two other important differences in this recipe vs. the standard: 

The brown-to-white sugar ratio.  Brown sugar contains more moisture than white and lends to a moister, chewier cookie.  This recipe has a 2:1 brown-to-white sugar ratio.

As Alton Brown notes, egg whites draw moisture from baked goods.  So in his “chewy” recipe and in this one, the standard two eggs is replaced with one whole egg and one egg yolk.

So, enough preaching and explaining already?  Ah, yes, the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
from smitten kitchen, with my eternal gratitude

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

Whisk (I’m usually too lazy, er…hungry for cookies, to sift) together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.

Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the dry ingredients until just blended.

Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop dough into balls (about 2 T. each) and place onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly toasted. The cookies are best when removed at the first sign of toasting.  They’ll set up nicely after a few minutes on the still-hot baking sheet.  Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.