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Oatmeal cookies are my father-in-law's favorite thing in the whole wide world. He can't live without them. But oatmeal is very high in phytic acid, which prevents mineral absorption. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Since my father-in-law has osteopinea, eating unsoaked oatmeal on a regular basis is really not good for him. He needs all the minerals he can get to help his bone density. Obviously building strong bones and teeth is vital for children. It's important for adults, too — to prevent osteoporosis and for good dental health.
Since I started soaking my grains and reducing my phytic acid intake a couple of years ago, I have not had a single cavity. After frequent cavities and two root canals — this is such a blessing! (To learn more about how phytic acid causes tooth decay, please read this post: Do Bread & Cereal Cause Cavities? Reversing Dental Decay with Food)
For these reasons, I developed this recipe for healthy oatmeal cookies in which the oatmeal is soaked in warm water and whey to help break down the phytic acid — so the precious minerals can be absorbed. Soaking also helps to make grains more digestible. This recipe produces truly healthy oatmeal cookies. It does take more time to prepare than your standard oatmeal cookie recipe — but I feel it is worth it for the health benefits.
I soaked the oatmeal with warm water, whey and 10% whole wheat flour. According to the Rebuild From Depression website, you need to add 10% whole wheat flour to oatmeal when soaking, because oatmeal doesn't contain phytase. Therefore you need to add a little wheat flour to provide the phytase enzyme, which helps break down the phytic acid. (I don't have any other sources for this so I can't verify it — but I figure we are better safe than sorry. What's the point of going to all this trouble soaking and drying oats if it doesn't work?)
I also dried the oatmeal after soaking. If you don't do this, your oatmeal cookie mixture will come out too wet and the cookies will not form properly. I used my beloved Excalibur dehydrator. I highly recommend getting a dehydrator. I use mine for all kinds of things including drying herbs, fruits and vegetables from my garden or from the farmer's market, as well as making beef or bison jerky. I also use it to help my bread rise or to make sour cream faster.
I also use sprouted flour for this recipe. I keep it in the freezer to keep it fresh. You can also make your own sprouted flour by sprouting the wheat and then grinding it; make sure you store it in the freezer to retain freshness.
Lastly, when I made these cookies, I used natural sweeteners — palm sugar and sucanat, because they are much more nutritious than refined sugar. And I only used half of the sugar called for in the original recipe (which came from the back of the Quaker Oats container). You can find sucanat at most health food stores. Our Whole Foods carries them. They also carry palm sugar. You can also find palm sugar at Indian or Asian grocery stores.
If you like your cookies sweeter, you can add more sugar. I didn't find it necessary. Nor did my family — who gobbled these cookies up within a matter of days. My two-year-old even started saying the word “cookie” after she tried these. She still goes into the kitchen, points at the cookie jar and says “Cookie!” Guess I need to soak some more oatmeal…
Healthy Soaked Oatmeal Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies
Large glass or enamelware bowl or pitcher (do not use metal)
Dehydrator(optional — you can use your oven)
Stand mixer or hand blender (optional)
Nutmeg grinder (optional — if using freshly ground nutmeg)
Oatmeal (3 cups) — not instant
Filtered water (3 cups) — not tap water
Whey (7 TBS) — (click here for the whey recipe); you can also use fresh lemon juice
Grass-fed butter, softened (1 cup (8 ounces)) — where to buy butter
Sucanat (1/2 cup) — where to buy sweeteners
Palm sugar, also called coconut sugar (1/4 cup) — where to buy sweeteners
Large free-range or pastured eggs (4)
Real vanilla extract (1 tsp) — not the fake stuff; organic if possible
Sprouted whole wheat flour (1 cup) — where to buy sprouted flour
Whole wheat flour (1/2 cup) — where to buy flour
Baking soda (1 tsp)
Cinnamon (1 tsp) — where to buy cinnamon
Nutmeg, freshly ground if possible (1/4 tsp) — where to buy nutmeg
Sea salt (1/2 tsp)
Raisins, organic if possible (1 cup) — where to buy raisins
Optional: Unsweetened shredded coconut (1 cup) — where to buy coconut
1. Warm 3 cups filtered water in a saucepan to just above body temperature (113-131 degrees). Do not use the microwave to do this. You don't need a thermometer — just heat it until it's hot to the touch but not boiling. If you let it come to a boil, let it cool before using.
2. In a large glass or enamelware (not metal) bowl or pitcher, add 3 cups oatmeal, 3 cups heated filtered water, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 7 tablespoons of whey (click here for the whey recipe — or use fresh lemon juice instead). Mix thoroughly.
3. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and let sit overnight on the counter or in a cupboard. Let sit for 8-24 hours. (Twelve hours is fine — but I try to soak mine for 24 hours to reduce the phytic acid as much as possible.)
4. Spread oatmeal on parchment paper and place on tray in dehydrator set at highest setting until completely dried (anywhere from 6-12 hours depending on the heat setting). You can also do this in the oven at the lowest setting (mine goes to 170 degrees).
5. When the oatmeal is dry, you will be able to break it off in large pieces. Put the pieces of dried oatmeal into your food processor and pulse until it is coarsely ground (like oatmeal flakes). Do not grind it fine, like a powder.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
8. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix well.
9. Stir in oatmeal, coconut, and raisins. Mix well.
10. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
11. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.
12. Cool one minute on cookie sheet. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Photo credit: Flickr