Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lactation Cookies with Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Dried Cranberries and Toasted Pecans

I baked these lactation cookies for my dear friend Melissa who just gave birth to a breathtaking baby girl!Melissa and I have been co-preggers until now, we even started trying to conceive around the same time in a half-joking (but luckily successful) pregnancy pact. I am over the moon for Melissa and so excited to join her in new-mommy-hood in less than a month and a half! 

*I sent the special ingredients along with the cookies in her care package so she won't have to go scouting for them if she decides to make more!

The main ingredients that make lactation cookies "lactation cookies" are brewer's yeast, flaxseeds and oats. All are considered to be galactagogues, aka substances that improve lactation. Please note that brewer's yeast is bitter. I bought the debittered variety too and I can still taste just the slightest hint of bitterness in the final product (just the faintest after-taste). I think most folks wouldn't even notice it, as these cookies are really yummy, but do keep the bitterness factor in mind and stick to the 2 Tablespoons of brewer's yeast in the recipe. 

Flax is also bitter if it's rancid, so be sure to taste test it first to be sure that it's fresh, even if you just bought it. I'm warning you about this because, unfortunately, I had to toss my entire first batch of this recipe because it was so dang bitter. Arghhhh! 

To balance the brewer's yeast, you'll also want to keep the sugar at 2 cups (I know, ouch), feel free to use agave or honey for half the brown sugar if you want. Being that these are for lactating mom's who need a bunch of extra calories, fat and nutrients to feed their little ones, not to mention a kick of sugar to help get through the day, I feel ok about the richness of this recipe. Plus I used (and generally always do) all organic ingredients and whole grains, so these are pretty darn wholesome all things considered.

Lactation Cookies with Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Dried Cranberries and Toasted Pecans
Based on Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies by Noel Trujillo 
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies @ 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal *Taste this before proceeding to ensure it's not rancid/bitter
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon iodized table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup steel cut oats *feel free to just use whatever oats you have on hand
1 cup dark chocolate *or any chocolate variety you like (optional)
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
2 cups toasted chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons brewer's yeast *Note: brewer's yeast is bitter so stick to 2 T

Preheat your oven to 350°F. 

Place your pecans on a cookie sheet and toast for about 10-12 minutes until fragrant. 

Grind your flaxseeds, if they aren't already ground, and hydrate them with the 4 Tablespoons of water. I used golden flax seeds,, which are supposed to be more nutritious than the darker variety, and ground them in my spice/coffee grinder. Be sure to taste your flax meal mixture before moving forward with this recipe. If it tastes bitter that means it's gone rancid and you'll need to toss it out and get some fresh flax.  

I used my stand mixer for this whole process but you can use a handheld mixer if you prefer and just fold in the ingredients once you get to the flour stage. Cream the butter and brown sugar until it's fluffy. Add the eggs and then the flaxseed mix (taste test first!) and vanilla. Add the brewers yeast (just 2 Tablespoons), baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the flour. Stir in the oats, dried cranberries, dark chocolate chips and toasted chopped pecans. 

Using a tablespoon or soup spoon, scoop the batter in rounded mounds of about 2 tablespoons each. Roll them between wet palms, flatten slightly and set about and inch apart on your baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let them set up for a few minutes on the pan, then move them to a rack to finish cooling.