Our mom somehow raised seven kids with a hot breakfast every morning! Oatmeal was a household staple as a little bit went a long way to sustain us through the morning. Not just for breakfast, an easy family night dessert was also her famous oatmeal Chocolate No Bake Cookies. I’ve doctored the recipe up a little over the years to create a cookie that is both low-glycemic and high in protein. (Kids these days! I know.) It’s easy to substitute ingredients with this recipe so it meets your dietary or taste needs. Here’s my updated recipe along with all of the health benefits of the ingredients I’m using currently. There is a method to my madness!
No Baking and Instant Gratification
Firstly, this is the perfect cookie recipe for any of you out there who tend to fill up on the dough! Guilty as charged. Chocolate No Bake Cookies don’t use eggs, so they’re ready to eat whenever you are. I start sneaking spoonfuls as soon as they hit the parchment and just keep going as they set. Also known as “haystacks”, they fill you up quick and can be virtually guilt-free! They take between 5 and 15 minutes max to make and between 30 minutes to an hour to fully set. Then you can store them or share them with the rest of the world.
Oatmeal Sticks to Your Ribs
Pure oatmeal does not contain gluten, but many brands contain oats that are cross-contaminated with a tiny amount of wheat. Oatmeal is gluten-free by nature, but be sure to do your homework if you have celiac. Here is a quick article by Very Well with a list of trusted brands. Aside from being gluten-free, oatmeal is a whole grain that helps lower cholesterol and weight. Oatmeal is one of the few comfort foods that is good for your heart and digestive system. Since oats also contain calcium and potassium, us women especially benefit from a regular healthy dose every day. That means regular consumption of No Bake Cookies is advised.
Coconut Sugar for Low Glycemic
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to enjoy a lower carb, low glycemic diet. I just feel lighter and my skin is in better shape as a result. One of the biggest substitutions I made to my mom’s original No Bake Cookies recipe is to use coconut sugar instead of cane sugar. Some bakers can’t stand to use anything but white granulated sugar and that’s okay too. Just substitute the sugar one-for-one if you must. Coconut sugar keeps the cookies soft, so they won’t harden as well, but the trade off is worth it to me. It has the same amount of calories and carbohydrates as regular sugar, but is lower on the glycemic index. A fiber called inulin is retained in coconut sugar that slows glucose absorption. It has more of a brown sugar taste and is about the same health level as using honey. When it comes to baking, I cut all the corners I can!
Healthy Saturated Fats
Used in moderation, milk and butter are actually good for your health. Stick with me on this one. Most notably, butter contains Vitamin K2, which is fairly rare in the modern diet. We especially recommend getting all of your dairy from grass-fed cows, which amplifies the vitamins you get even more. Vitamin K2 has powerful effects on the way you metabolize calcium and works to prevent cancer and osteoporosis. It also works to reduce cardiovascular disease, so the butter ingredient in this No Bake Cookies recipe does not concern me at all. Take it, or leave it. I use almond milk for a more lactose-free environment as well. As always, do what you like.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
If you’re using the best butter and the best sugar source you can, then the rest of the ingredients are a snap. Unsweetened cocoa powder provides calcium and potassium as well and is beneficial to your blood system. It contains many of the same antioxidants as tea and red wine, which helps lower blood pressure and decreases blood sugar. The anti-inflammatory effects of cocoa powder help prevent artery-clogging plaque formation. So the chocolate in these No Bake Cookies is good for your heart in many ways <3
As we get older, we start to lose our muscle tone in mass quantities. That makes muscle-building exercises and high-protein diets even more important to our health. This is where the major doctoring of my mom’s original No Bake Cookies recipe comes in. I’ve added three ingredients to the mix in place of one-third of the original oatmeal, which reduces carbs and packs in protein. The biggest one is pepita seeds. Pepita seeds are pumpkin seeds that are high in zinc (immune support) and iron (energy). One-fourth cup contains 14% of a recommended daily iron intake! Yowzer! I pull out my handy-dandy Ninja food processor and give the blades a couple of whirls until the seeds are about the same size as the oats. Bam! That’s one. Get a healthy dose of plant-based Omega-3 fats from the highest alkaline-forming seed around. Wonderful in a world of highly acidic diets.
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Peanut Butter, Baby
So now I’m on a roll with the peanut butter addition to the No Bake Cookies. I usually just throw in a couple of tablespoons of my good ole’ Trader Joe’s Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter. If you want to go hard core and outperform me in the peanut butter arena, you can make your own super easy. Keep your food processor handy and mix a handful of peanuts with a little bit of oil for the win. Here is a quick and easy recipe by Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I really don’t have a good excuse as to why I don’t do this regularly. Aside from the protein, peanut butter also has quite a bit of muscle-friendly potassium. It also contains a ton of Vitamin E, which if you’ll recall from our Retinol article, is amazing for skin regeneration. Think youth! And get with the peanut butter.
Cha-Cha-Cha Chia Seeds
Last but not least, the best one of all.. Chia seeds! They are a whole grain food and are usually grown organically, which is great. The tiny seeds are naturally free of gluten and are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. I throw them in everything! Smoothies, yogurt, salads, you name it. Chia seeds are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids (heart health), and tons of nutrients. According to Authority Nutrition, one tiny ounce (2 tablespoons) of seeds contains the following:
- 11 grams of fiber
- 4 grams of protein
- 9 grams fat (5 of which are Omega-3s)
- 18% RDA calcium
- 30% RDA manganese (metabolism, bones)
- 30% RDA magnesium (heart, blood pressure) (check out our article on soaking in Epsom salt for another lovely dose of this anti-anxiety gem)
- 27% RDA phosphorus (bones, teeth)
- “decent amount” Zinc, Vitamin B3 (niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B2
You had better believe I throw in a few tablespoons! Now who’s feeling guilty about eating a couple of No Bake Cookies? Please. Okay, time for the official recipe.
Gina’s Chocolate No Bake Cookies Recipe
2 cups quick oats
1 cup pepita seeds
4 tablespoons chia seeds
2 cups coconut palm sugar
1 cube butter
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Use a food processor to chop pepita seeds and prepare peanut butter (if desired) as described in the article. In a medium bowl, combine oats, pepita seeds, and chia seeds. Set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, cocoa powder, milk, and sugar. Stir constantly until boiling. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter. Add chocolate mixture to oats mixture and stir until combined. Use 1/4 cup to drop cookies onto parchment paper. (I have a set of plastic cutting boards that I use, you can get creative.) Eat whenever you want! Makes about 2 dozen cookies. Once they are set, store No Bake Cookies in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. If they make it that long.
Try not to pound a whole batch of No Bake Cookies in one sitting. I confess I get so addicted to these, I find it hard to eat other foods while they’re in my kitchen! Something about all of the vitamins and minerals in these tasty chocolate goodies speaks to my soul. They actually make a great on-the-go breakfast and are a perfect lunch time treat. Think homemade protein bar. As much as I think I eat, they are actually pretty filling, so think about eating a bowl of oatmeal and then make your comparison. My mom’s original recipe calls for coconut and walnuts, so you can easily play around with the dry ingredients. If you doctor this one up yourself, let us know about your successes in the comments below! Have a great weekend 🙂