Deb Rossing's
Peanut Butter Cookies

We make peanut butter, banana, honey, oatmeal, raisin, chocolate chip cookies where the banana and honey subs for the sugars and where fat free plain (or vanilla) yogurt subs for the butter/shortning. They come out more like ball shaped muffins and they are quite sturdy for travel snacks. Great for eating on the move and contains protein, fruit, dairy, and complex carbs and *chocolate* smiley face . Sometimes we also use other dried fruits like cranberries or cherries; sometimes we put in peanuts or other chopped nuts; sometimes we use mini M&Ms for color. Whatever's handy.

It's fun for little ones to mash the bananas - big ziplock bag, 2 average or 3 small really ripe bananas, a mallet, rolling pin or hands (hands are fun cause it's squishy). Mashed banana also freezes okay for a few weeks as well for baking purposes.

The recipe was requested, and notes on the conversion follow:

3/4 cup yogurt, plain, non-fat (or vanilla works good too)

1/2 cup peanut butter

3/4 cup mashed banana

another 1/4 cup mashed banana or just under 1/2 cup honey (your choice)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (note: you might need a little extra flour if you use honey; it should be similar to a muffin batter, not too runny)

2C rolled oats (basic Quaker oatmeal)

raisins, peanuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit bits (whatever you want to use -- we've used all or none or an assortment, whatever was on hand)

Mix everything in a big bowl, stirring well after each addition.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

(note: they won't flatten on their own or get very brown. Best way to tell doneness is same as muffins - lightly press the top and if it bounces back, it is done)

Makes about 5 dozen cookies

Notes on the conversion:

Generally speaking, you can use yogurt (or yogurt cheese - yogurt with the whey drained out) roughly one to one for butter or shortening. Likewise, applesauce or mashed banana are also substitutes for fats and sugars in recipes, again almost one to one.

Using honey is a little trickier because it changes the texture a lot more it seems. Less crystal sugars will cause things to be less brown and lack of meltable fats will cause things to retain whatever shape you form them into (I use a small ice cream type scoop to make small balls then press them down slightly so they don't roll off the baking sheet).

Generally, if we see some recipe we'd like to adapt, we make it by the book once or twice to get a feel for texture, baking time, etc. Then we swap one ingredient at a time, working to match or get close to the original texture, then swapping another ingredient out until we've adapted it as far as we want.

This particular recipe is adapted from the red and white plaid Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, Peanut Butter Oatmeal rounds I think they call it. Then we swapped one ingredient at a time until we got something without any of the fats or sugars of the original.

Some batches were less than wonderful in the process. A couple of them and some fruit juice, milk, water makes a great pick me up or a woke-up-late-gotta-get-out-the-door breakfast.

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