Monday 6 December 2010

Healthy biscuits, interesting buildings

I haven’t posted many sweet recipes lately. I counted only five over the past three months. But I have been baking. Not all has been successful (such as the massive banana and blueberry bread that was uncooked in the middle). But I have had a little project to try some healthy choc chip cookies. Unfortunately I have focused more on taste-testing than photography so I will also share a few photos of buildings that have pleased me.

The photos of buildings were actually taken while Sylvia and I were on the northern city fringe on the day that I made banana choc chip cookies. It is not the first time I have made choc chip cookies with banana but this recipe from 101 Cookbooks interested me because the only sweetener was the bananas.

These cookies are nothing like a regular choc chip cookies. In fact none of these cookies are traditional. All are vegan and use ingredients that our foremothers would not recognize. Likewise, these buildings are modern. The above photo has a juxtaposition of the old and the new. It is taken at the Carlton United Brewery site that has stood derelict for years and now has become a building site. I imagine that the old bluestone buildings will be incorporated but will probably be an unrecognizable rendition of its former self.

This colourful building has not a sign of a traditional building. It was only completed this year. The Pixel building is designed to be carbon neutral. It runs on energy generated by wind turbines and solar panels but most pleasing is that it can have eco cred and look so pretty.

The other building that I couldn’t resist photographing was the RMIT Storey Hall, which was redesigned in 1995. I once sang in a choir in front of former Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, in the auditorium there. I sometimes think of it when I pass by but I also love looking at the colours and design.

Yes I love buildings that are a little bit different and I also love biscuits that are a little bit different. Different is not always comfortable. I was a bit unsure if the banana cookies were cooked enough but cooking them a bit darker didn’t help. They were nice but quite moist and didn’t seem to last well past a couple of days. I even tried a batch with sultanas instead of choc chips so I could feed them to Sylvia but without the bitterness of the chocolate they were sweet and dull.

I also felt a little unsure of the Vegan Choc Chip Oatmeal Nut Cookies. I tried these one evening when I didn’t have any butter but I had almond butter on hand. I think I used too many oats and the flaked coconut was a mistake. They were nice but far more chunky than the pictures on the web.

By far the most successful of these vegan cookies were the Chocolate Tahini Cookies. I found the recipe on a blog with the lovely name, A Dash of Compassion. Although I had tried chocolate biscuits with tahini before, I liked the simplicity of this recipe, which had far more tahini than my previous attempt. They were wonderful. Unlike the other cookies in this post, there were no oats, but the addition of LSA instead of wheatgerm resulted in a pleasing texture that was slightly grainy and a little melt in the mouth, with occasionally studs of chocolate. Definitely a keeper.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Edinburgh Winter Wonderland
This time two years ago: Memories, BBQs, and Bangers & Mash
This time three years ago: Nadine’s wild rice salad

Nikki's Healthy Choc Chip Cookies
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
makes about 36

  • 3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid (or alternately, olive oil)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ⅔ cup almond meal
  • ⅓ cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 175-200g chocolate chips (I tried substituting 1½ cups sultanas but it wasn’t great)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line oven tray(s) with baking paper or silicone mat(s).

Combine bananas, vanilla extract and coconut oil in a large jug and set aside. Stir together the oats, almond meal, coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add banana mixture and mix till combined. Fold in chocolate chips. The batter might be looser than regular cookies.

Drop dessertspoons of mixture onto prepared trays with about an inch between each. Bake 12-15 minutes until browned. Let cool a bit before transferring from trays to cool on a wire rack.

Almond and Oat Choc Chip Cookies
adapted from
makes about 30 cookies
  • ⅓ cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup soymilk (I used a mix of rice milk, yoghurt and cream)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup non-dairy chocolate chips
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
Whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop spoonfuls onto prepared baking tray. Bake about 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Chocolate tahini cookies
adapted from A Dash of Compassion
makes about 30 cookies
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 cup LSA (ground linseed or flax, sunflower seeds and almonds – or use wheatgerm)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (I used dutch cocoa)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used a bit more)
Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl (except choc chips). Stir in wet ingredients and then gently mix in the choc chips until combined.

Drop teaspoons of mixture onto lined oven trays. Shape into smooth discs – I used my fingers, Nicole used the bottom of a glass to flatten them.

Bake at 180 C (350 F) for about 10 minutes. These cookies are too dark to spot any change in colour but Nicole suggests looking for slight cracking and drying on top. Sit for 5-10 minutes before transferring from tray to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

On the stereo:
Fold your hands child, you walk like a peasant: Belle and Sebastian


  1. I am always on the lookout for unique cookie recipes and these sound just wonderful!

  2. Funnily enough I just saw someone else's post about those 101 Cookbook cookies, although they added peanut butter.

    I love that the recipe I'm most interested in (the tahini one) is also the one that tasted the best. Sadly I'll have to wait until I've bought more tahini to try this... I finished mine up just yesterday!

  3. That pixel building is so cute! It reminds me of fashion for some reason-maybe felt applique or something? The chocolate tahini cookies look really good-chocolate and maple-yum!

  4. Oh, I want to try the tahini cookies! What an interesting idea. I am copying down this recipe and will try soon. Thanks Johanna for sharing this recipe.

  5. Bookmarked for Sunday! :)Wow, that building reminds me of origami. Beautiful, beautiful...

  6. You made me smile Johanna - the title that is. So cute and so you! :)

  7. Interesting sounding cookies and packed full of healthy things

  8. Those buildings are crazy! We had some weird architectural buildings at MIT that you would have loved. If you're ever in Boston, definitely check them out.

    These cookies sound delicious!

  9. Having posted on tahini brownies a few months back, I was intrigued by these chocolate tahini cookies! In fact, I made the tahini brownies again yesterday and thought of a different version to work on; love these buildings you have kindly photographed for our enjoyment!

  10. thanks Lisa

    Thanks Hannah - hope you get more tahini soon - it is one of my pantry staples and is great in these cookies - maybe it could even be added to the 101 cookies like the peanut butter!

    Thanks Lorraine - lovely description - I think interesting buildings are like good fashion - all about great design and pleasing the eye!

    Thanks Lisa - hope you enjoy them - they are excellent

    Thanks Retro sweets - if only I could fold the building up and take it with me :-)

    Thanks Anh - glad you understand my love of buildings

    Thanks Katie

    Thanks Joanne - wish I could visit Boston - sounds like a great city - must put MIT on my list if I ever get the chance

    Thanks Taste of Beirut - the possibilities with tahini in baking are endless - had a look at your cookie and they looked lovely

  11. Look at those amazing buildings! Eco cred AND beautiful. That's why I want to live in Australia! Oh, and for cookies like those chocolate tahini ones. :)

  12. I love seeing all the different cookies you tried! I forgot about those chocolate chip cookies on 101 cookbooks. I've been meaning to try those. I never make cookies with banana (or pumpkin) in them because they're always so cakey... still I think I'm going to try out that recipe.


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