Monday, 25 April 2011

:: Healthy Loving Snack ::

Oat, Raisin & Sunflower Cookies
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

oat & raisin cookies with cranberries & sunflower seeds- yummy!

This cookie combination came to me when I was wanting a healthy, home baked snack for my toddler’s lunchbox & also a morning tea option for my husband at work. I had some left over dried cranberries from Christmas & wondered what sunflower seeds would be like in lieu of nuts, so I added them to the mixture as well & voila! Now I buy these ingredients purposefully for this recipe & it is regularly baked in our home. These cookies have fruity, chewy, jewels of goodness inside with a slight crunch of the sunflower seeds (high in vitamin E oils & vitamin B1- see footnote) that are addictive + healthy + yummy + filling & loved by one & all!

250 grams unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of brown sugar
¾ cup of white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 cups of rolled oats
1½ cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea salt, optional
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or ¼ tsp of dried ground)
½ cup sunflower seeds, optional
1 cup raisins/saltanas
½ cup craisins

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two large cookie trays with baking paper. Place the butter & both sugars into a bowl then beat with an electric mixer until light & creamy. Add eggs, one by one. Add vanilla paste. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl, stir, then add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add raisins, craisins, sunflower seeds & rolled oats, stirring between each one.
Spoon dough out with large tablespoons leaving gaps between each one. Bake until the edges turn brown, around 12 minutes. Leave to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack using a spatula.

:: makes about 36 average sized cookies (x-large batch as they go fast).

healthy cookies taking a rest

Kitchen Notes
:: I know it may seem like a lot of butter & sugar as it is a double recipe, but the health benefits of these cookies are substancial enough to allow for a little bit of sweetness in your life! 
:: You can play around with this recipe. I have used nuts instead of sunflower seeds, only raisins (total it to 1½ cups), just think about your textures & flavours you want in your final product. Explore & enjoy!

Sunflower seeds are packed with vitamins, including vitamins B1 and B5, vitamin E and folate. They also provide a healthy dose of copper, magnesium, selenium and phosphorous–important minerals. Just a quarter of a cup–four tablespoons–of seeds hold half the daily requirement or more of these important nutrients. The fats present in sunflower seeds are also good quality, heart healthy fats that can help increase “good” cholesterol and protect the heart and cardiovascular system.
Of these nutrients, vitamin E in particular is a powerful antioxidant, helping preserve cardiovascular health. Sunflower seeds are quite high in vitamin E, with ninety percent of the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin in a quarter cup. Also helpful to cardiovascular health and cholesterol maintenance are lignans, arginine and phenolic acids. While these substances are less well-known to most people, studies increasingly show benefits from increasing their intake.
Other substances found in sunflower seeds include tryptophan and choline. Also found in pumpkin seeds, tryptophan can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Choline appears to help increase brain function, particularly helping to improve memory. With this wide combination of phytochemicals, vitamins & minerals, sunflower seeds are a surprisingly nutrient dense food.

Source: Sunflower seed info came from internet under health benefits from whole foods & 3 fat chicks, the health benefits.

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