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Flying from Hawaii to the eastern side of the Mainland US is hungry business. International flights ply you with semi-edible food-like substances far too often, but it’s a lucky flight, indeed, if you can get the world’s smallest bag of pretzels on a domestic itinerary. As regular readers know, Papi Chulo and I are pretty serious about our food. We not only eat more than you might guess based on looking at us, but we are careful to eat certain amounts of carbs, fat, and protein whenever possible. This is difficult while away from home, and even more so while flying!
So what does that have to do with cookies? I came up with this pumpkin oatmeal cookie recipe to give us something vaguely more nourishing than pretzels (and certainly less expenisve than airport food!) to bring on our flight today. No, they’re not paragons of nutrition, but at least they have some protein, good fat, and fiber. Plus they’re way tastier than many other “healthy cookie” recipes I’ve tried in the past!
A neat thing about this recipe is it’s very easy to make gluten-free. Just make sure you’re using gluten free oats and then use your favorite gluten-free “flour” – the rest of the ingredients are already safe! Plus they have no eggs and can be made dairy-free. They are not, however, tree nut free. Not at all! So that’s the one major allergy this recipe can’t really accommodate.
My husband likened these cookies to miniature pumpkin breads, and that’s a fairly apt comparison. They’re not thin, flat cookies – they’re large and cake-like. They’re not dry or crumbly, though, as long as you don’t over bake them. Even though they’re large, they only need about 15 minutes in the oven. Only the very top peaked areas should be browned when they’re ready to come out of the oven.
Whenever I make cookies, I always use my Cooks Illustrated recommended cookie sheet. Mine’s a real trooper that’s lasted for years and multiple moves. It’s an investment you’ll enjoy for years to come!
- Vollrath - 5314 - Natural Finish Half Size Sheet Pan - 13 Ga
- Natural Finish Half Size Sheet Pan - 13 Ga
- 1 cup raw oatmeal
- ½ cup flour (white, wheat, or your favorite gluten-free substitute)
- ¼ cup protein powder (I use Now Foods whey isolate, but you could use vanilla or a different protein, such as pea protein)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup almond butter
- ⅓ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk or water (I use almond milk)
- ½ cup chopped nuts, dried fruit, or chocolate chips (I used macadamia nuts)
- Preheat your oven to 350º F and prepare one or two heavy rimmed baking sheets with silicone mats, parchment paper, or by lightly greasing.
- Combine the dry ingredients (oatmeal through baking powder) in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Combine the pumpkin, almond butter, honey, vanilla, and milk in the bowl of a standing mixer or in a medium bowl you don't mind using your hand mixer with.
- Mix on medium-low until combined, about 45-60 seconds.
- Add about ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined, then make two more additions, mixing until combined each time.
- Fold in the nuts (or fruit/chocolate chips).
- Scoop the cookie dough onto your baking sheets with a large spoon to make about 12 total cookies - they should be over 2" across each. Flatten each one slightly with the back of a spoon. They don't spread out much, but you'll either need two cookies sheets or to bake the cookies in two batches.
- Bake until the cookies are lightly browned but are still slightly soft/puffy, about 15 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack before storing in air-tight containers or enjoy right away!
If you’re keeping these to enjoy later, make sure the cookies are fully cooled before placing them in an air-tight container. If they’re still warm, the container will steam up and the cookies will get soggy. Ick. If you live somewhere warm like we do, that means they’ll probably even get moldy! No bueno. So make sure to let your cookies cool before storing them, or just enjoy them warm out of the oven. =)
Hopefully with these hearty cookies (and a few other pre-portioned snacks) in our hand carry luggage we won’t feel too hungry or malnourished on our trip! We have three separate flights headed out, but only two on the way home. I doubt these cookies will make it until the return trip, though! I’ll be surprised if any even make it all the way to West Virginia. They didn’t even all make it until the same afternoon they were baked! You’ve got to taste test a new recipe to make sure it’s fit to eat, right? Oh, the sacrifices.
Do you plan meals before getting on a plane? What’s your favorite airplane friendly snack to bring along?
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