carnival cookies (or, i had my doubts)

it was a baking kind of day.  josephine and i didn’t leave the house and it was cold and rainy and i wiped snot from a certain someone’s nose way too many times.  we needed something sweet.  josephine was rooting for cake, but i was curious about this cookie recipe in a great cookbook we have called super natural every day.  the author, heidi swanson, puts together ingredients i would never consider to be compatible and somehow every dish we’ve made from the cookbook or her blog has been delightfully delicious. and these cookies didn’t disappoint, either, even though i fiddled with the recipe a bit to account for ingredients we didn’t quite have enough of.  i admit i was skeptical. how does a cookie with no sugar (other than chocolate chips), no eggs and no flour hold together or have any flavor? but these did/had both and as soon as i hit “publish” i’m going to go eat a few more. josephine kept saying “i love chocolate chips!” as she ate hers.

this version of the recipe is based off the original recipe on her blog and i think i’ll try those next. the popcorn, while a fun addition, gets a little lost. and i think coconut would be really good. these probably could host a wide variety of add-ins; a sort of healthy granola bar cookie.  if you didn’t add chocolate (gasp!) they would be pretty much as healthy as cookies come.

Carnival Cookies
Super Natural Every Day

1 1/2 c well-mashed bananas (about 3 large)*
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c barely warmed extra-virgin coconut oil (just so it’s not solid and hard to smoosh with the bananas)**
1 1/2 c oats***
1/2 c almond meal (you can make this by buzzing up almonds in the food processor–just stop before you have paste)
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c peanuts****
1 c chocolate chips
1 1/2 c popcorn (popped)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine bananas, vanilla and coconut oil. In another bowl, whisk oats, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate, then peanuts, then popcorn. (The dough is a bit looser than standard cookie dough–don’t worry.) Firmly shape small balls with your hands (or a cookie scoop), about one heaping tablespoon each, and place about 1 inch apart on baking sheets.

Bake 14-17 minutes, switching top tray and bottom tray halfway through baking time, until bottoms of cookies are deeply golden. Allow to cool on a rack. And enjoy!

Makes about 24 cookies.

And now my additions/adjustments/caveats:
*We only had two bananas, so I added a few tablespoons of peanut butter on a total gamble that it would play a similar unifying role.
**I just bought a jar of this, thanks to other recipes in this cookbook, and it’s great. We’ve baked it into oat muffins and used it for asian-y sautes and stir fries. I have no idea if regular oil would work here. Probably?
***Again, we didn’t have quite enough oatmeal (I was not the prepared chef today) so I just dumped in a bit extra almond meal.
****We didn’t have peanuts (now I’m getting embarrassed) so I used cashews, but I think peanuts would be better.

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