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Tastes Good and Good for You!

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Nothing beats the smell of homemade cookies – except maybe the way they taste straight out of the oven. As I'm becoming more health conscious, I'm trying to find more ways to cut sugar from my family's diet. At first I wasn't sure how to do this with my favourite oatmeal raisin/chocolate chip cookie recipe. The recipe calls for not one, but two cups of sugar! And to make it worse (or should I say worse for you), a cup of butter! No wonder they taste so good, right? But how can you cut out these ingredients that are not the best for your health without sacrificing taste? I thought I may have found the answer when I stumbled upon a cookie recipe that boasted “Best 3 Ingredient Cookie Recipe.” It sounded easy enough; all you needed was ripe bananas, oatmeal and raisins. I whipped up a batch of these sugar-free cookies, popped them in my kids' lunches and hoped for the best. I didn't tell them that I was trying out a new recipe, so when the kids got home I asked them what they thought of the cookies I gave them. My daughter hesitated before admitting that they didn't taste like much and my son wanted to know what the rotten stuff inside was. The recipe was a definite fail and I can't blame them because I didn't think the cookies tasted like much either. I was beginning to wonder if a sugar-free cookie recipe did exist that everyone would like.

Fast forward a couple of weeks when I overheard my coworkers talking about a cookie called the “Muffin Top”. I was intrigued so I joined the conversation and learned that these cookies were not only sugar-free, but gluten-free and dairy-free as well, which is great for those who have those food sensitivities. Again I was skeptical, but I wanted to give it a try. When I first started cooking and baking, I never strayed from a recipe's instructions. Now that I'm more comfortable in the kitchen, I'm not afraid to tweak recipes to my tastes, even if it's the first time trying a recipe. The ingredient list for the muffin tops is short and simple. It calls for bananas, pitted dates, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder, sea salt, rolled oats and chocolate chips. I didn't have coconut oil in the house, so I used shredded coconut and because I didn't need the recipe to be vegan (and I had eliminated the oil), I added an egg. I also substituted raisins for the dates since oatmeal raisin cookies are my favourite. When I let my kids try this latest recipe, they loved them (and loved referring to them as “healthy cookies” when asking for seconds)! Success! The cookies are soft and chewy and the best part is that they contain absolutely no sugar or butter and still taste great. The banana and raisins make the cookies naturally sweet and if you need that extra sweetness you can mix in chocolate chips before baking. I made half with chocolate chips and half with raisins, and both were delicious.

This past weekend, I made my original homemade cookies but eliminated one of the cups of sugar. They still tasted good, but the funny thing is after my kids tried them, they asked when I was going to make the healthy cookies again. Looks like I found a winning recipe!

April 18, 2016 by Shannon Vandermeer

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