March has been a trying month. With a new work schedule, I’ve had to change my routine quite a bit and it’s been quite tough to get myself to the gym when I want to. I’ve worked around it and I’m still going to the gym, but I’m also starving much more than ever. I’ve also hit a weight loss plateau, which I believe is partly self-inflicted (weekend outings) and partly due to the fact that I just don’t have that much weight left to lose. It’s like the weight is sticking to me. It’s holding on to my bones for dear life; clinging to my thighs, my upper arms and my belly. Maybe you’re looking at the picture of the cookies above and are like, “Well, if you’ve been eating cookies, then why are you even surprised that your weight isn’t budging?” Well, observant reader, I made these about a month ago for Valentine’s Day. I’m very much of the school that if you’re really craving something, you need to go ahead and have a bite to get rid of the craving. I haven’t done much of that because I feel like the more I have something, the more I crave it. However, for sweet things, a little tiny cookie sometimes goes a long way. After long weeks of hard work, there is no reason why you can’t just take a bite out of something delicious. It’s not going to undo your diet, as long as you eat the same way you do throughout the entire day. That’s the idea behind a cheat day, or a cheat meal.
I love Smitten Kitchen, but of course, anyone who’s been there knows healthy recipes are not Deb’s forte. I decided to take on her delicious-looking oatmeal cookies last month, but made a few changes to cut back on fat and sugar. I added dates and a bit of chocolate instead. The cookies will still taste good and you won’t feel as guilty. Now, a good idea is to make these around a holiday, or when you have people coming over, so you’re not stuck with 12 cookies that you have to eat all by yourself. I made these, sent a bunch to my brother and his wife, and gave his co-workers some, too. I had two and satisfied my craving.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces, or 115 grams) butter, softened (I actually used almost a stick, so maybe 75% of the stick)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
3/4 cup (120 grams) raisins (I used a lot of golden raisins)
1/4 cup chopped dates
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips (just to get a bit of chocolate here and there, unexpected surprise!)
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins, dates and chocolate.
Chill the dough and scoop the cookies onto a sheet. Preheat at oven to 350°F (175°C).
The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (mine took longer because my oven sucks), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.
Makes maybe around 12 cookies