[Post #97 for 100 days of Vegan, Gluten-Free, Portable Power Pucks]
A theme has emerged with my last few posts, today included:
Vegetables. For Breakfast. In convenient, portable, handheld form.
Today, it’s avocado, which I’ve blended into a scrumptious, filling breakfast cookie.
The remaining ingredients are equally straightforward, and chosen for delivering heaps of lasting energy: sunflower seeds, pepitas, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, and a combination of bananas, applesauce and dried fruit for both moisture and sweetness.
I wanted to create something similar to a soft granola bar, sans nuts (yes, you can pack in kids’ lunches, even if nuts are banned!) and exclusively sweetened with fruit. I considered using avocado oil, as I recently purchased a new bottle, but ouch! Is it expensive! My gaze turned to the slightly over-ripe avocado in our fruit bowl, and my frugal inner child decided to give it a go in place of any added oil.
For the granola-like crunch, the seeds get a coarse grind in the food processor, just to the point where the pieces are about the size of rolled oats. I threw in my dried fruit along with the nuts; it’s a simple way to use less fruit (lower sugar) while still getting a pleasant hint of sweet in every bite.
Coconut flour is one of my favorite ingredients, but it can be challenging to use without the protein structure and stability of eggs.
Challenging, but not impossible.
I love challenges.
Both seeds and flax do the structural work in here, aided by baking the cookies in a muffin tin, which prevents them from spreading and flattening. The results are tender and toothsome, just like the soft granola bars I hoped they would be!
Any type of dried fruit will work in the recipe, or you can take the chocolate chip route. For the latter, I recommend the miniature variety (no need to chop in the food processor). I add small amounts of stevia (I packet), cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon) and vanilla (1 teaspoon), too, but they are entirely optional.
The avocado worked like a dream; I will definitely use it more in my morning bakes! Kids and skeptical partners will never guess that it is there.
- 1 medium-large banana, mashed (about ½ cup)
- ½ of a medium, ripe avocado, mashed (about ⅓ cup)
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ⅓ cup ground flaxseed meal
- ⅓ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- ⅓ cup sunflower seed kernels
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla/ ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon/ stevia for extra sweetening
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or spray 9 cups of a standard size muffin tin.
- In a medium bowl, combine the banana, avocado, applesauce and flaxseed meal until blended and smooth. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- In a food processor, process the pepitas, sunflower seeds and cranberries until coarsely chopped and the seeds are about the size of quick-cooking rolled oats. Add the seed mixture, coconut flour, salt, and any of the optional ingredients (if using) to the flaxseed mixture, stirring until well-blended.
- Divide batter (it will be thick) between the prepared cups, smoothing the tops.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 23 to 27 minutes until golden brown and centers of cookies are just firm to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool 10 minutes. Remove from tin and serve warm or cool completely.
Fruit: Other varieties of dried fruit can be used in place of the dried cranberries.