RECIPE: Laurel's Gluten Free IronCookies
Up until last year, muffins and cookies, banana bread, bagels, chocolate croissants - you name it, that's what ruled my ironman training diet. I would fuel up with a bagel before a long ride and then finish my rides by going out of the way for a stop at M Street Kitchen for a sea salt chocolate chip cookie.
But midway through last season, I eliminated gluten from my diet in hopes that would reduce the inflammation that four years of Ironman training was causing my body. It worked. I was much less fatigued, felt strong, and I ran my way to my second iron distance championship. But, saying good-bye to baked goods was every bit as hard as completing a 140.6 mile race.
My new diet forced me to eat healthier. Before workouts, I would make a bowl of oatmeal with nuts and hemp seeds instead of a cream cheese bagel. And, I'd opt for the chia pudding at those bakery stops after rides. But, I just couldn't find an adequate substitute for the enjoyment, and portability of a good cookie! To be honest, those cookies and muffins are what motivated me through some of my hardest workout sessions. So, I set out to create my own "cookie" to get me through those long, hard ironman training days with 80 mile rides aboard my Argon 18 E-119 AND also good enough to serve as a well-earned reward after all that work and calorie expenditure.
You will find the recipe and instructions of how to make the cookies below. Cookie purists may describe them as a hybrid cookie/bar. They can be made in a pan and cut into bars, but I recommend to make them in a mini muffin tin because there is more surface area exposed to the pan. You'll get more of a cartelized crust which helps keep them together in a bike jersey pocket. And, we all know that gluten free baked goods need all the "hacks" they can get!
I debated on the name because I don't want to mislead people that they are cookies full of iron (athletes need that, too but sorry, I can't think of anything less appetizing!). On that note, I did make a version of this recipe with added molasses (extra iron!), which I will share but for now give these a try. There is a lot of leniency in this recipe - add whatever mix-ins you have in the pantry (dried fruit instead of chocolate...if you want to go there). One of my favorite variations was adding cocao powder and cayenne pepper influenced by the flavors from the hot chocolate I had on my trip to Mexico for Challenge San Gil.
Another thing I love about this recipe is that I can make something in the baked good family that doesn't require purchasing any weird ingredients or different kinds of flours. They are not vegan, but I'll come up with a way to make them vegan on my next long ride.
2 ripe bananas (if they are not ripe, make a slit the length of the banana and put them in the microwave for a minute until they get soft and a bit mushy)
1 cup peanut butter (chunky if you want)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 real maple syrup (use less if you prefer not as sweet)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if you like, I have also used pumpkin pie spice).
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) Mash the bananas in a large bowl
3) Melt the peanut butter and coconut oil in the microwave and stir them together (only takes a few seconds, you don't want them to get too hot).
4) Add the maple syrup into the pb and coconut oil mix and pour into bowl with bananas and mix together
5) add beaten egg
6) add vanilla
7) In another large bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and swirl it around till mixed
8) Add the oat mixture to the banana mix and stir until the dough forms.
9) Stir in a cup of chocolate chips
10) Spray the mini muffin tins with coconut oil spray
11) Fill up tins with about a tablespoon scoop of dough (like the amount you'd use if you made traditional chocolate chip cookies).
12) I like to sprinkle sea salt on top for that sweet/savory combo I love. Or, add a sliced banana or and almond for a bonus, and to make them look cute!
13) Bake for 20 minutes for a small muffin tin, 25 minutes for a larger size. You just want to make sure you get the sides and bottom of the cookie golden brown.
14) Let cool, release from muffin tins (I like to spin them out), arrange on a plate, and start eating! Or...wrap a few up in tin foil, put in bike jersey pocket, go for a bike ride!