i love cookies. there's nothing more home-y than baking in the afternoon and sharing cookies with those you love. growing up, my mom was always baking cookies for holidays or special occasions. america's favorite cookie is chocolate chip cookies, but my favorite is either soft sugar cookies shaped with cookie cutters or snickerdoodles.
recently, however, i've realized that i have a real problem with how much sugar i'm eating in a day, and i feel it's been the root cause of stubborn fat that i've struggled to get rid of for years. in an effort to finally have the body i've always known i have the potential to have, i'm cutting a lot of sugar out of my diet. but, as someone who's had a sweet tooth her whole life, i don't think i'll completely eradicate sugar from my life forever. enter: these oatmeal cookies.
what started as the search for a more healthy cookie, has ended in me making my own recipe based off of this one. i've made about 8 batches of these, changing the recipe each time until i felt it was lower in sugar and healthier. the great thing about my variation is that it's plant based. the next best thing is that it's high in protein and fiber.
i admittedly don't eat breakfast much. for someone who does, though, i think these cookies would be a great, "grab and go," fix! i personally enjoy them after a meal, when i'm usually craving something sweet, or with a protein shake after a workout. i get a lot of compliments on these cookies, and i'm sure you'll love them!
some things to keep in mind
brown sugar doesn't exist in germany. the concept of brown sugar here is, "raw," cane sugar (called braunzucker or rohrohrzucker), which is brown, but not brown sugar. brown sugar is white sugar and molasses, and considering you can buy both at the store in germany (although molasses is harder to find), i don't know why it isn't a thing here! i love this blog post on how brown sugar differs from other sugars and how to make it. if you're german and you hear an english-speaker talking about brown sugar (or vice versa), they're probably not talking about your idea of brown sugar, and these cultural differences are as important to languages as the words themselves! brown sugar is used to make so many different things: sauces, meat rubs, cookies, cakes, pies, breads, and more. to me, the ironic thing is that so many of those things are so popular here! germany's missing out! unfortunately for me, this means i have to make my own brown sugar. you could follow the recipe that i linked above, but i've made my own for these cookies by simply adding 1 teaspoon of honey (locally sourced, filtered is best) to 1/4 cup of "raw" sugar in a separate bowl and mushed and fluffed with a fork until it's combined. molasses would be healthier, however, as it is more nutritionally dense.
baking soda is another thing that doesn't really exist in german kitchens. on occasion, i've been able to find arm & hammer baking soda at ullrich, but typically, germans use natron. i understand it to be essentially the same thing and you won't need to change the salt content or amount in this recipe.
there are about a million ways to introduce vanilla into a recipe in germany. in german grocery stores, you can find dried chunks of pods, whole pods, vanilla sugar, vanilla powder, vanilla syrup, and more, but not often vanilla extract. again, i have no idea why it isn't a thing here, but most germans use vanilla sugar when baking. considering the fact that when you do find vanilla extract in germany, it's very pricey and not as strong as it's american counterpart, i suggest you use vanilla pods and scrape out the seeds. it'll yield a more genuine vanilla flavor, rather than an artificial one, and it won't contain sketchy, artificial colors that extracts usually contain. as these cookies are low in sugar, i'd advise against using vanilla sugar.
lastly, if you're german and are unfamiliar with the american measuring system, cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons are actually exact forms of measurement and not just a cup from your cupboard or a spoon from your table setting. 1 cup is 8 ounces is 250 mL (it's actually a little less, at exactly 236.588, but most of the time that last bit won't matter much. that is, of course, unless you're baking, which is why it's recommended to weigh your dry ingredients!). I memorized that before i moved here and it's come in handy more times than i can count. i personally keep american measuring cups and spoons in my kitchen because the recipes i follow tend to be american. if you don't have access to american measuring cups or spoons, conversions on google are super user friendly!
types of sugar
you may read through this ingredient list and say, "hold on, brown sugar, honey or molasses, white sugar, bananas, AND raisins? that sounds like a lot of sugar!" let's unpack this. first, i've halved the amount of brown and white sugar from the original recipe. yes, i add honey to make my brown sugar, but it's such a nominal amount to each serving, i'm not scared by it. second, fruit sugars are different than refined sugars. while they originate from the same place chemically, fruits contain the fiber required by your body to break down the sugar they also contain. refined sugars don't boast that feature. this article breaks it down a bit more. eventually, your body can't tell the difference between a fruit sugar or a refined sugar, but the other nutritional constituents make the difference in your body processing it. therefore, the use of whole bananas and raisins, rather than the juice extracted from them, adds to the fiber and vitamin/mineral content of these cookies! a healthy cookie? i think so!
prep time: 15 minutes | chill time: 30 minutes | cook time: 10-12 minutes | | total time: 55-57 minutes | yield: 16-18 cookies | serving size: 2-3 cookies
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (405 flour in germany)
2 level scoops vanilla or peanut butter flavor protein powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (I use sugar in the raw + honey, see above)
1/2 cup banana, mashed
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons peanut butter, smooth
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1-2 inches vanilla bean seeds, scraped
1/2 cup raisins
in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, protein powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. then, stir in the oats and set aside.
if you're making your own brown sugar at home, this is when you'd make that.
in a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana, brown sugar (mixture), white sugar, and peanut butter together for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined. add the egg and vanilla extract or seeds and mix until fully combined.
add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients and mix until a dough forms, then mix in the raisins.
cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). line one large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop or a large spoon, scoop the cookie dough, roll into balls, and place on the lined baking sheet. gently press down with your hand to flatten each ball of cookie dough slightly. Make sure to leave a little room between each ball of cookie dough as they will spread a little while they bake.
bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly golden brown and the tops are set. remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack cool completely.