Munchy Monday: Winter Energy Cookies

As the holidays approach, I always crave cookies. Of course I indulge a little bit in the typical “Christmas Cookies”, but I also like to have a healthier kind of cookie around to satisfy those urges and tell myself I am at least getting some nutritional value!

A few years ago I found this recipe for Winter Energy Cookies. It’s a very versatile recipe and I have made several substitutions over the years. With so many stir-in options it is a snap to customize these to a cookie even your kids will love. Below is my “tweaked” version of the recipe that includes our favorites.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup applesauce (contains soluble and insoluble fiber and vitamin c)
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses (a good source of iron, copper and manganese)
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (adds protein)
2 eggs (another source of protein, as well as vitamin A and choline)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup toasted ground flax seed meal (along with the whole wheat flour, a great source of insoluble fiber)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats (another whole grain that can help lower cholesterol)
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (dark chocolate in moderation is a great treat full of antioxidants)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans (nuts are a great source of protein, healthy fats and other nutrients)


Cream the butter, applesauce, sugar, molasses, and peanut butter in a large bowl. Blend in the eggs and vanilla. Mix the flours, ground flax seed, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, until evenly blended.

Stir in the oats, cranberries, choc chips, and nuts. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Shape dough into large balls using 1/4 cup of dough per cookie. Place on greased cookie sheets, leaving 3 inches between them. Flatten slightly with a fork. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. When done, the tops will still be soft to the touch. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.

I use a disher to scoop these out so that they are all the same size. This recipe makes a LOT – 60 small cookies or 30 large ones – and I find they taste best freshly baked, so I usually only bake up a small batch at a time. Instead I dish the batter out on to waxed paper, flatten with the fork, and freeze them. Once they’re frozen I portion them out into 4-6 cookies per freezer bag, so I can bake them up as I want them. They work great in the toaster oven!

You can really subsitute any kind of stir-in that you like for the dried fruit, chocolate chips, and nuts. Try out a variety and find what your favorite combination is!

Christine Strain CD(DONA) – Christine is a mother of three, childbirth educator, and doula. After her first birth ended in cesarean, she joined ICAN to help prepare for her future births (both VBACs) and found a passion for helping other women have empowered birth experiences. She serves in leadership roles for ICAN of Atlanta and the Georgia Birth Network.

Baby Steps offers natural and prepared childbirth classes, breastfeeding classes and support, and doula services in the metro Atlanta area. Current locations include East Point, Douglasville, Marietta, Kennesaw, Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Lawrenceville, and Decatur. If these locations are not convenient for you we also offer private, in-home classes on your schedule. Contact us for more information.