I have a serious love for breakfast cookies.
Can you blame me though? Once I realized cookies were an option for breakfast, there was no going back.
I also tend to travel with random baking ingredients. You’re probably not surprised, but whenever I’m leaving for a few days, I find things like jars of nut butter, and miscellaneous bags of grains, seeds, and dried fruit working their way into my bag. Sometimes I do it with the intention of making a specific recipe, like when I brought all the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies with me on vacation this summer. Other times, I just throw a few things into my bag, knowing I might find use for them. These breakfast cookies came out of one of those occasions, when a jar of homemade cashew butter got tucked in with my socks for a weekend trip to my dad’s house.
I woke up on Sunday morning before Kevin, and went out into the kitchen to find my dad and uncle Chris sitting at the table reminiscing about some old movie from the 80s that I had never heard of. While they laughed and chatted, I began rummaging through my dad’s kitchen, deciding what I wanted to make for breakfast. I found a brand new bag of walnuts and chocolate chips on the shelf, plus a jar of coconut oil (that I likely bought months ago and left there…) and a little jug of maple syrup. Armed with my jar of roasted cashew butter and the serendipitous memory that Ashlae had a gorgeous looking cashew butter breakfast cookie I wanted to make, a breakfast plan was born.
My dad came over to check out what I was making, and, after being intrigued by this newfangled spread known as cashew butter, was downright suspicious of the concept of cookies for breakfast; a long, slow, drawn out “oooooooh-kay” was his only reply. Not one to let my dad’s stubbornness get in the way of feeding him delicious food, I soldiered on, adding in generous handfuls of walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter of cashew butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, oats, and whole wheat flour.
Ashlae’s original recipe uses oat flour (which also makes the cookies gluten-free), but since dad was low on oats and none of us is allergic to gluten, I went with my old faithful: white whole wheat flour. If you still haven’t tried baking with white whole wheat, you really have to. It has such a mild flavor and less assertive texture compared with regular whole wheat, to the point where I rarely use all-purpose flour for anything anymore; I just love white whole wheat flour so much. If you’re out looking for it at the store, my favorites are King Arthur Flour brand, or Trader Joe’s brand. Gold Medal also has a white whole wheat- and a few other brands market it as ivory whole wheat- but KAF and TJs are my faves, for sure.
By the time the cookies were out of the oven, Kevin was awake and my sister Heather had stopped by on her way out of town. Everyone reached for a cookie- even Dad- and was pleasantly surprised by their soft texture and not-too-sweet flavor (hello, people: I did mention these were breakfast cookies). Dad went back for seconds, then thirds, and ate his with a fork and an extra drizzle of maple syrup. In between bites, he asked if this recipe was going on my blog. I told him maybe, knowing that I had no intentions of making these cookies again anytime in the next few weeks, since I had already planned out all of March’s recipes. And yet, I kept thinking about them.
Then, on this past Sunday, I found myself craving breakfast cookies again. Needing to make a snack for the week anyway, I figured I would just whip up another batch while I worked on other things. Well, one thing led to another and I was photographing these cookies. It’s a good thing I did, because these might be the best breakfast cookies I’ve had in years. The cashew butter is mild enough that it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the cookies, but still lends a buttery, toasty flavor. For this batch I added walnuts and chopped dark chocolate like the first time, but I also chopped up some unsweetened dried cherries and tossed them in the mix as well.
You guys. The combination of the dark, sweet, earthy flavored cherries with melty dark chocolate and crunchy walnuts is out. of. this. world. I tweaked Ashlae’s recipe a little bit- using coconut oil instead of coconut butter, increasing the baking powder, and adding in a splash of vanilla extract for good measure. The end result is a thick, chewy, slightly crumbly cookie that makes you feel like you’ve won a prize every morning. Once the cookies cool, their texture is almost like a slightly underbaked shortbread cookie- a.k.a. the best breakfast, ever. I like to warm them for 10 seconds in the microwave and eat them in the car on my way to work, or throw a few in a container to eat cold as a mid-morning snack, but I’m guessing they would be equally delicious while sitting at home with a cup of coffee and a good book.
Whether you’re already in love with breakfast cookies like I am, or you’re as skeptical as my healthy-food phobic Dad, I think you’re going to love these cookies. They come together in one bowl in just a few minutes, and make for a satisfying, healthier snack option any time of day. Dark chocolate, cherries, and walnuts are a winning combo here, but you can absolutely swap out any of them for other dried fruits, chopped chocolate, and nuts. I’m thinking pistachios and apricots would be amazing, too. Maybe with a little orange zest and white chocolate chunks? Clearly there will be more breakfast cookies in my future.
- 1/2 cup roasted cashew butter*
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour**
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate***
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped unsweetened dried cherries
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (for easier clean-up).
- 2. Put cashew butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil in a large, microwave safe mixing bowl. Microwave for 20-30 seconds, or until coconut oil is soft and just barely starting to melt. Alternately, this can be done in a pot on the stove over low heat, if you don't have a microwave. Also, if your coconut oil is almost liquid at room temperature, you can skip this step. Mix well to combine.
- 3. Add all remaining ingredients to the cashew butter mixture, and stir until filly combined.
- 4. Scoop cookies onto pan. I measured 3 Tablespoons per cookie, and got 11 cookies. Depending on how big/small you make them, you should get between 9 and 12 cookies. Push down gently on the cookies with your fingers to slightly flatten them, then bake for 10-13 minutes. Cookies should be starting to turn golden around the edges, but still have tender centers when you pull them out of the oven. This ensures that leftover cookies aren't dry.
- 5. Allow cookies to cool, then either eat immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature. Cookies keep well for up to 5 days.
- *I used homemade roasted cashew butter in this recipe (recipe linked in blog post above). If you can't find cashew butter at the store and don't want to make it, I suspect almond butter would work well here as a substitute.
- **I love the flavor, texture, and nutrition profile of white whole wheat flour. If desired, you can use equal amounts of all-purpose or even oat flour, to make these gluten-free.
- ***Feel free to switch out the dark chocolate, walnuts, and dried cherries for your favorite cookies mix-ins.