We are in the thick of it. The degree of holiday cheer is now in its most concentrated state. Lights twinkle in your eyes until your head spins. Santa taps Christmas music beats with a heavy leather boot at your temples until you are convinced you’re maintaining the most festive hangover, 24 hours of the day. Every day. Feelings of inadequacy spread across your daily consciousness like a tepid puddle of eggnog when you realize that– you need presents. And have no money. And lack all basic ability to art-and-craft up a crocheted hat that would fit the correct diameter of an average head, let alone piece together a Van Gough inspired macaroni picture of you father contemplating Life. And something tells you that at your age, gluing a photo of yourself to red and green construction paper with glitter will not ring as sincere as it once did. Even when you try to take a walk to get some air to clear your head, bauble-riddled, fire-studded pine trees pose their branches in perfect perkiness, grinning mockingly at you from every picture window you pass.
Well, settle down now. I didn’t mean to rile up all your anxieties in a single paragraph. All I meant to say, is, that I empathize. I love the holidays. I can be a Christmas Girl (smile and wink, thumbs up, throwing the peace sign into the air) with the best of them. But after seeing garland and plastic snowman and peppermint chocolates at the grocery store since before Thanksgiving… and after hearing Mannheim Steamroller flatten the soul out of my favorite childhood melodies ten too many times… well. A girl can get wiped out before her time.
Well folks, here is my optimism. I think we all have it in us to get a Christmas Second-Wind. Our holiday cheer has been run ragged in the pressure to be a consumer, now we hope for that Christmas Spirit endorphin rush. Not everyone needs it, but if you do, oh boy oh boy. I found it with food . This is the season that is all about sweets. They are everywhere, all the time. Its dangerous.
Tis the season to indulge, but you can faux-indulge! Don’t do yourself in too soon on those shiny packaged gut bombs lying about the office, you’ve got 5 days left before the good stuff! Want to eat those store bought peppermint patties? Or those “chocolate” Oreos with the green and red “frosting” in the center? Don’t. I am here to help you get your sweet tooth on early (in the day), so you can resist a relapse into the aforementioned experience of my first paragraph!
Cookies mean treat, but they do not have to mean desserty guilt trip. These cookies have no butter, no flour, no egg, no processed sugar. Not real cookies, you exclaim? Oh, they are. They are just a whole different level of cookie. And a lot quicker and easier to make.
They’re simple. Tahini, honey, seeds, oats, and dried fruit. Add a little cinnamon because, a little spice helps the holiday cheer. And they’re healthy, for a cookie. Tahini is a Middle Eastern sesame seed paste that gives your body omega 3, omega 6, and calcium. Honey adds that sweetness necessary to call it a cookie, but is easier for the body to break down than processed sugar and has trace levels of vitamins. I chopped dates into my cookies to keep with the Middle Eastern theme. Choose your own nuts, and your own dried fruit, and you’ve got more nutrients in a cookie than you will ever get in a bowl of Frosted Flakes (or a handful of red and green peanut M&Ms). Bam.
Its like sweet baked granola cushions for your mouth! And it’ll fill you up like breakfast should. Tahini is about as calorie rich as peanut butter, and dried fruit and nuts are dense too. So eat a cookie or two for breakfast, feel awesome, and scoff at that rubbish lying around desk, and cash registers, and shopping aisles, and crystal bowls at peoples houses! Better not to pop a taste bud before Christmas proper. Where I hope you will be drinking eggnog and eating fresh baked sugar cookies and slices of pecan pie and not regretting this entire month of eating. Just that day, maybe. No. Nevermind. No regrets!
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Tahini, store bought or homemade (see below)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, or any seed or nut of your choice
1/2 cup dates or other dried fruit, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
To make your own Tahini:
4 cups sesame seed1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast sesame seeds in for about 10 minutes, tossing for even heat distribution every couple of minutes. You do NOT want to get any real color on these seeds. Stop once you smell a very earthy, almost burnt hay fragrance (its a good thing, I promise).
Let cool for 10 minutes. In a food processor, combine all seeds with olive oil. Blend until the mixture is an absolutely smooth paste. It is enough oil! Just have patience while the oils from the seeds release and blend. This batch makes more than enough tahini for this recipe. Try other recipes with what is left! Will stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for 6-8 weeks.
To make Breakfast Cookies:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Toast seeds or nuts for 6-10 minutes (depending on the size of your seed/nut), or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool. Keep oven at 350.
Rough chop your dried fruit.
In a large bowl, combine tahini and honey. Add Cinnamon. Fold in oats, seeds, and dried fruit. Scoop in 2 Tablespoon-sized rounds onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-13 minutes. Honey browns these cookies very quickly and keeps them very moist, so it is very hard to tell when the cookies are fully baked. To check for doneness, flip a cookie over into a paper towel into your hand and look at how dark the bottom has gotten. This is a trick I did not teach myself until the second round of cookies.
Let cool on a wire rack. The honey will need to cool completely for these cookies to hold their own structure. Patience.
These cookies will keep, covered, for up to 4-5 days. And they stay wonderfully moist with every day.
Eat with a steaming cup of coffee and a bit of fruit and the early sun slanting in through your window.