During my Masters, we had a Subway sandwich place inside our campus and it was just outside the building that housed my lab. Needless to say a veggie sandwich was my lunch far more times than I can count. I hardly go there now, but every few months I start craving that sandwich. My sub would have most of the veggies and the dressing combo was always sweet onion & chipotle always. After a few months I did not have to repeat my selection at all, the moment I was spotted walking into the place, they would have my sandwich started. I had a well ordered 'usual' on the menu and recognized at most of lunch spots around campus. I know I should not be proud of it, but well it felt good in some twisted way...:) On the days that I knew I was going to have a long day ahead of me in the lab, I would add a cookie to my order at Subway, either the oatmeal raisin or the white chocolate macadamia nut. These cookies are massive, and a mini meal by themselves. I think this was my first introduction to cookies too, and though not the best ever, they atleast did not put me off cookies either. I've eaten many more cookies since, and also experimented with making them at home. These fabulous chocolate cookies were made last two Christmas's, to share with friends & family and I think it'll continue to become a tradition from now on.
One challenge that I face when baking at home is my aversion to using eggs. I've experimented with different egg replacements for different recipes to see which combination resulted in the best end product. Applesauce, flax seed, banana puree, leavening ingredients, cornstarch, tofu, vinegar have all been tested. Muffins, cookies and small cakes turn out really well using these substitutions and you'll never notice a difference. These cookies today use flax seeds to replace the eggs in this original recipe.
Flax seeds have numerous health benefits that attribute to their new wonder food status. They are a rich plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids with 1 Tbsp of flax seed containing about 1.8gms of plant omega-3's. 100 grams of ground flax seed supply about 450 kilocalories, 41 grams of fat, 28 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein(source). They are also a good source of lignans that have antioxidant qualities and they contain both, soluble & insoluble fiber in them. Research suggests that they help reduce cardiovascular disease, risk of certain cancers and moderately improve blood sugar levels.
You can find flax seeds (linseed) in most organic & health food stores, sometimes in the bulk bins too. They come in golden & brown varieties with both having similar nutritional characteristics. You could either toss them whole in salads & cereals, but a better way of consuming them is in the form of flax seed powder. Resist buying the pre-ground powder from the store though, since it looses its potency quickly. Buy the whole flax seeds, store them in a cool dark place and grind them fresh when needed. A spice grinder comes in very handy for this.
Flax seeds have a pretty neutral flavor and so you can sprinkle flax seed powder in curries & gravies, or replace about 1/4th of flour in a recipe that calls for more than 2 cups of flour. Some bloggers have also creatively included them in savory preparations here, here & here. But do make them in small quantities to be enjoyed over a short period of time to retain all their nutritional goodness. Apart from all these benefits, flax seed powder also acts as a fabulous egg-replacer. The powder when heated with a bit of water can be whipped to a consistency that is very much like beaten eggs. 1Tbsp Flax seed powder + 3Tbsp of water = 1 egg. Nuke it for 30secs and beat with a fork to get a goopy mess akin to beaten eggs. Set aside to cool a bit before adding to your recipe.
These cookies are chewy and modestly sweet with hints of apple flavor pitching in. The oats add a nice texture and flavor to the cookies and make them extremely healthy to boot. I used a mix of golden raisins and cranberries this time which made each bite really interesting. You get a punch of sweetness when you bite into the plump raisins while the cranberries add a chewy, tart flavor. You could surely add other nuts or dry fruits and personalize them to suit your preference.
Eggless Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
(16-18 cookies) (Adapted from here)Dry ingredients
- 2/3 cup - Whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/3 cup - Oats flour
- 3/4 tsp - Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp - Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp - Salt
- 3 Tbsp - Butter, unsalted @ room temperature
- 1/3 cup - White Sugar
- 1/2 cup - light Brown Sugar, packed cup
- 1 tsp - Vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup - Apple sauce, unsweetened
- 1 Tbsp - Flax seed powder + 3 Tbsp water
- 1 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
- 1/2 cup - Golden Raisins/Cranberries/CherriesMethod:
- Pre-heat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment/foil.
- Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl mix together the flax seed meal, water and heat in a microwave for 30secs. Using a fork mix until it resembles a beaten egg. Nuke it for 15secs more if needed. Set aside to cool a bit.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and white sugar until the mixture becomes smooth and fluffy. Add in the brown sugar, vanilla, applesauce, flax seed mixture and beat for a few more seconds until incorporated.
- Fold in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula just until mixed. The oats and the raisins get folded in next.
- Scoop out the dough using a tablespoon and place them 2" apart on the baking sheet. Use a fork to flatten them out slightly.
- Bake for about 10-12 mins until lightly golden on top and still moist & soft at the center. This will yield moist, chewy cookies, if you prefer crispy, bake for a few more minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and cool for 8-10mins. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.
These cookies too are on their way to Priya's Cooking with Seeds event that is featuring Flax Seeds all this month.