These breakfast cookies were born out of a desire to make one of my favorite ordinary-occasion desserts into a nourishing snack that could be eaten any time of the day. They feature sourdough-soaked oats, chocolate chips, pecans, dried cranberries, and—here’s the sneaky part—lentils. Yes. Red lentils.
If you’re newer to baking with legumes, let me first say, Welcome. Also, let me say, you are entering such an exciting new world! I first experienced the wonderful delight of baking with beans (not “baked beans”) through a lovely recipe of Anna Jones’ in her book A Modern Way to Cook. It’s a cake made with beans. I know. A cake. Made with beans! How many cakes do you legitimately feel ok with eating for a snack—or breakfast, for that matter? Such was the beginning of my sort of mad-scientist-like exploration of what else I can do in the kitchen with beans.
Whatever your relationship to beans, here are a few things to know about why legumes are so terrific for our health and why we all would benefit from getting more of them into our diets. They are fiber powerhouses, which means that they promote satiety, aid in elimination of toxins from the body, help keep you “regular” (we all need this!), and feed our gut microbiome. Yes, fiber = prebiotics (food for the good bacteria). As unsexy as it can be to talk about, fiber may be one of the most important yet most under-consumed nutrients. There is so much more that could be said. Perhaps in a later post. On to the goods . . .
There are several beauties to this recipe: 1) It scales nicely depending on how much sourdough stater you have to hand, 2) it is friendly for and can be adapted to a variety of special diets, and 3) even though the process needs to be started ahead, the hands-on bit of that is so simple; just toss things together before bed, and do your baking in the morning—or any time the next day.
Makes about 15 cookies
120 g | ½ cup sourdough starter, loosened with a little water (to pancake batter consistency)
1 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup red lentils (soaked overnight in water with a bit of sourdough starter)
1 T. chia seeds (or ground flax) in ¼ cup water
¼ cup coconut sugar (or combination of honey and blackstrap molasses)
2 T. coconut oil
½ tsp. baking soda
scant ½ cup pecans, chopped
scant ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup chocolate chips
¼ cup flour (30g einkorn berries, freshly ground; or all purpose)
- Mix together the starter and the oats, cover and let “soak” overnight. Mix the red lentils into plenty of fresh water and a bit of starter mixed in; cover and soak overnight.
- On baking day, rinse the lentils well and cook with ½ cup water, ½ tsp. salt, a dash of cinnamon, and dash of vanilla—cook simmering, covered, until lentils are soft, remove lid to evaporate extra water as needed, stir to keep breaking the lentils down a bit. 10 – 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare the other ingredients while the lentils cook: break up the soaked oats with your hands, chop the pecans and cranberries, mix in salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Reserve your 1/4 cup of flour until the end.
- Mix the chia seeds into the 1/4 cup of water, let stand to gel.
- Off heat, mix the coconut oil into the lentils, and let cool a bit. Mix the baking soda into the gelled chia seeds, and tip this mixture into the lentils as well. (Feel free to use an ice bath for the pan if you want to speed things up. The lentils can also be cooked ahead of time, stored in the fridge if needed, and heated up a bit so not cold before using.)
- Once fairly cool (we don’t want to melt the chocolate chips), pour the lentil mixture into the oat mixture, and stir to combine. Add the flour, a bit at a time, until you get a soft cookie dough consistency.
- Form the dough into balls and squash down a bit with your hands or a spoon dipped in ice water (they will not spread out on their own, so squish them to your desired thickness). Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until firmed up but not dried out. (They will continue to cook and dry out a bit as they cool.)
These freeze beautifully, and are best enjoyed just a tad bit warm (I like to pop a couple of them into the toaster oven for a few minutes once thawed; they can also be thawed in the oven/toaster oven). Make a double batch to have a good stash of tasty, nourishing snacks!