I have always loved oatmeal cookies. I would even go so far as to say that it is my absolute favorite dessert. Sure I love to create decadent, complicated confections, and I will never say no to a slice of pie or a wedge of cheesecake, but when it comes down to it, nothing quite beats the homey, comforting feeling of a warm oatmeal cookie fresh out of the oven. Crispy on the edges soft (ok, basically dough-like if you're me) in the middle and just enough chocolate chips or raisins scattered throughout to give it texture and flavor but not overwhelm the cookie. That to me is sweet treat perfection.
That said, a good, reasonably healthy, low fat cookie of any sort is very hard to come by. Most (Oh, and I have tried many many times) end up in one of three categories. Hard little rocks that taste nice but do not satisfy cookie cravings, cake like cookies that are essentially muffins baked without a muffin pan (good but not a cookie), and finally piles of smush, sometimes tasty and always dissappointing. And so, for the past few months I have been working on creating the perfect, low fat, reasonably healthy oatmeal cookie. Let's just say that there have been many failures, some inedible, most just dissappointing. It got to the point where I had essentially given up, and then the malted barley cookies were created. These cookies were good. They had an almost buttery taste to them without butter. They were chewey in the inside and crispy on the outside. Good, but not an oatmeal cookie. It was a statring point. I learned that malt could make a cookie interesting, could make it buttery without butter or margerine (ug) and so I experimented more. I bought liquid malt extract from a local brewing store and tweaked with ingredient ammounts until I finally came up with the perfect cookie. This cookie looks, tastes, and acts like any normal, buttery oatmeal cookie. It spreads on the pan instead of simply puffing up, it's chewey in the middle and crispy on the edges. It is delicious, sweet and just a little bit salty. Practically perfect and utterly delicious.
The Perfect Low Fat Oatmeal Cookie
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (optional, I only include it if I'm making oatmeal raisin cookies)
1 tbsp canola oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
3/4 cup natural sugar (or simply do 3/4 cup light brown sugar)
1 tbsp molasses
1 large egg
2 tsp liquid malt extract (could possibly substitute barley malt syrup, I'm not sure)
1 large egg
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
1 1/4 cups oats
Chocolate chips or raisins to taste (I personally prefer cookies that are mostly cookie with just a few chocolate chips thrown in, but I know I'm weird)
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a bakingsheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon (if using) and set aside. In another bowl combine together sugar, molasses and canola oil until fully mixed. Beat in egg, malt extract, vanilla, milk, and applesauce. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir until fully combined. Fold in the oats and the chocolate chips or raisins. Drop by the tablespoonful onto a baking sheet and flatten slightly with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Bake about 10 to 15 minutes but check continuously after 10 (mine were done in 12). Let cool on the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container
Makes 2 dozen (I always get 25 out of it which really bothers my obsessive-compulsive side).