an easy, healthy gluten-free snack
We love these easy cherry oat cookies – ideal when friends pop in for morning coffee, as well as for lunchboxes and picnics. We’re not keen on complicated baking recipes, and this simple recipe takes under 30 minutes, start to finish. Plus they contain no flour, so if the kids want to make them independently, it means there’s no flour-covered kitchen to clean up at the end.
We’ve deliberated over the amount of maple syrup to add; there’s a current trend to cheekily remove white sugar only to add loads of alternative ‘healthy’ sweeteners. We generally try to avoid this as it just maintains sugar cravings, and adds expense – have you seen the cost of maple syrup!? These cookies do benefit from a little sweetness, but it’s still just under a teaspoon of sugar per cookie.
World Health Organisation guidelines recommend no more than five to six teaspoons of added sugar per day, so it’s all about balance. If your diet is pretty clear from the common added sugar sources – soft drinks, sugary snacks, desserts and cereals then a teaspoon of ‘sugar’ per cookie really isn’t an issue. After all, what’s the point of striving towards a low sugar ‘treat’ if no one actually eats it as it either falls apart or tastes horrid? And you won’t find many yummy tasting cookies on the supermarket shelves with this same low sugar level.
The cookies are fibre-rich from the oats, contain a little omega 3 fats from the chia seed, and contain far less sugar than a similar supermarket oat cookie. In summer we make these with plump, juicy fresh cherries but for the rest of the year we use dried sour cherries – but for convenience you could just as easily substitute raisins or cranberries. We prefer cherries for a couple of reasons though. The dark colour of cherries means that they are one of the richest sources of beneficial polyphenols, so when they’re fresh and in season, make the most of them! The health benefits of cherries stretch from anti-inflammatory properties to potential anti-cancer benefits; personally we love the fact that sour cherries are one of nature’s few good food sources of melatonin – so can be helpful in getting a good night’s sleep!
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