Carnival Cookies

Ingredients for Carnival Cookies

This is a  riff on Heidi Swanson’s (101 Cookbooks) Carnival Cookies. It is from her latest cookbook, Super Natural Everyday. Here’s the original recipe on her blog.

With only 1/4 cup butter, 3 tablespoons of honey, and 1 cup of chocolate chips,  this can safely be considered a reasonably healthy cookie. It’s a far cry from the calorie-fest that is my favorite chocolate chip cookie. And it is healthier still than my recent whole wheat chocolate chip cookie.

Given that the primary binding ingredient is mashed banana, it is softer than a typical cookie, but taste-wise it’s a hit. The oatmeal and popcorn provide some toothsomeness, while the chocolate chips provide hits of sweetness. The honeyed banana dough is not overly sweet, and the fruit does not overpower the flavor.

The beauty of this cookie, is that it is endlessly adaptable to your dietary needs. The original recipe calls for almond meal (instead of whole wheat flour), coconut oil (instead of butter), and whole peanuts (instead of sunflower seeds.) The original recipe also does not have any additional sweetener, relying solely on bananas.

Need to be nut-free? Use my recipe below.

Want a vegan cookie? Substitute equal parts of coconut oil for the butter, and use vegan chocolate chips.

Are you gluten-free? Replace the whole wheat flour with an equal part of almond meal, and use gluten-free oats.

My naturally-colored chocolate-covered sunflower seeds washed out a bit during mixing and baking, which made for a yummy, but unattractive cookie. It didn’t seem to bother my children, but you have been warned.

Other mix-ins would be welcome, like shredded coconut, flax seeds, or wheat germ. Let me know what you come up with! This is going to be a regular snack/lunchbox addition at our house.

Carnival Cookies 
adapted from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
makes 24 cookies 

1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 medium)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups popped corn

In a mixing bowl, mash up the bananas really well, and then stir in vanilla extract, melted butter, honey, cinnamon, and salt.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the oatmeal, flour, and baking powder.

Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir gently. Stir in the sunflower seeds and chocolate chips. Gently fold in the popcorn – I think it’s easiest to do this with your hands.

This is a wet batter, and you think it is going to spread all over the place, or benefit from chilling, but it’s not really an issue.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a firm hand or a cookie scoop, shape walnut-sized balls and drop on a lined cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with the heel of your hand, and bake until golden-brown — about 12-15 minutes.