CINNAMON RAISIN COOKIES
On the East Coast, I was driving to the shore with my daughter and a batch of cinnamon raisin cookies in tow, headed to visit my friend and fellow painter Nikki Maloof, her husband Tim, and their beautiful new four-week old baby, Isla Moon (I’m still melting over her gorgeous name). Lucky to enjoy a sunny afternoon together, my toddler collected sea shells while the tide was out, Nikki and I chatted about her upcoming show at Jack Hanley Gallery, and Tim waded in the dark sandy mud, sludge covering his ankles, collecting crabs single handed to show my daughter while he carried his tiny babe.
A peaceful afternoon on the sand, yet I know firsthand how frazzled and starved new parents can be- it’s easy to forget to eat some days, or simply lose the time while you’re changing diapers, feeding a hungry baby, or cuddling around the clock. I brought them homemade soup and my daughter proudly handed off the box of cinnamon raisin cookies she helped make.
I regularly whip up a batch of these for my own family, however it hadn't occurred to me until I was headed to Nikki's that this recipe coincidentally works as a terrific “lactation cookie” for breastfeeding moms. Packed with iron and omega-3 fatty acids, the oats and flax together provide much needed calories and fiber, and many believe these ingredients can actually boost milk supply. I’m still breastfeeding my toddler, and I can attest to having a real craving for oats ever since she was born, throughout these two and half years of nursing. You might notice oats are in many of my recipes! Oats are certainly a comfort food, and relaxation is proven to promote the letdown reflex and 'hence also influence milk supply’ (http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/oatmeal/ - A trusted source for elaboration on this topic can be found on Kelly Mom’s website). The verdict is out on whether 'lactation cookies' truly work or not, but one thing is certain- it’s a great excuse to eat some cookies, and I thought I'd share the recipe here.
Yummy, chewy, and quick to make, this cookie requires no mixer, no food processor, no blender - no equipment! Just grab a bowl and a cookie sheet and you're good to go. You'll simply stir up the ingredients with a spoon, divide the dough into balls then you’ll be devouring these hot out of the oven in less then 20 minutes.
I love this cookie, but I also love it for my toddler because its free of any kind of added sugar, butter and eggs, and packed with nutrition and protein. Even the raw dough is safe to eat off the spoon! The banana surprisingly provides plenty of sweetness, and if you can stop yourself before completely mashing the banana thoroughly, you’ll thank yourself later and particularly revel in those here-and-there-big-chunky-surprise-banana-bites. We eat these as a grab n’ go breakfast or a snack at the playground- they’re portable, not particularly crumbly, and provide lasting energy. Our favorite way to enjoy them is straight from the freezer. The more ripe the bananas (read: must have spots!), the sweeter your cookies.
Cinnamon Raisin Cookies
(makes 1 1/2 dozen)
2 ripe bananas
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup raw almond butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
pinch sea salt
Use a fork to mash 2 bananas in a bowl. Add the vanilla, water and almond butter and combine with a spoon. Add the dry ingredients last to combine all ingredients together. Form into balls, then flatten the raw dough into cookie shapes on a baking tray (they will not flatten while baking). Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!