You know how some people do some stuff to relief stress in their lives? Like, my husband loves to read boring philosophy books and write songs on his guitar. That's just how the guy unwinds. My neighbor is a gardener and a fairly hardcore churchgoer - that's what blows his hair back. You know what I mean? We all have that thing that we love to do, and it makes us feel really good, and without it we get really, really wound up. For me, it's baking. I mean, seriously, I freakin' love to bake! But I'm... well... what's the PC term for it... I'm - uh - differently weighted... I'm gravitationally challenged... You get me? I'm fat, people! I'm a fat herbivore. Yes, they do exist! And I don't have a problem with being fat. My husband thinks I'm sexy, so it really doesn't bother me too much, with the exception of the fact that I am forever destroying the poor underwires in my bras and my knees are begging for mercy 24/7. There's also the desire to live long enough to meet my grandchildren and to enjoy the twilight years of retirement, kickin' back on the shore outside my imaginary lake house. So! To that end, I am always trying to create baked goods that are at least moderately healthy, but definitely succulent. But not SO succulent that I eat forty at a sitting. To that end, I introduce my latest home-bakery creation, the Apricot Coconut Oatmeal Cluster. It was meant to be a cookie, but it came out more like a clustery thing, so there ya go. There's no oil or butter in it, and minimal sugar (compared to my standard baked fare), plus it's jam-packed with fiber, so it's a win-win! Give these li'l cuties a try. You'll love 'em and you don't even have to feel guilty about eating them.
1 ripe banana, mashed with a fork
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup liquid sweetener (I used agave, but maple syrup'd work)
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/2 to 1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes*
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray a large cookie sheet with baking spray, or use parchment paper or a SilPat.
- Mix the banana, applesauce, sugar, liquid sweetener, milk and vanilla together in a large bowl.
- On top of the wet mixture, gently add the dry ingredients, but do not stir until you have everything added.
- Stir gently until just mixed.
- Gently fold in the apricots and coconut flakes.
- *Side Note: I used organic unsweetened coconut flakes, which is what you see in the picture, not standard shredded coconut. But I think you could just about use anything in these clusters and it would taste nice. For example, you could eliminate the cinnamon and nutmeg and throw in some dark chocolate chips in place of the coconut. Or some nuts! Feel free to play around with the recipe and share your results in the comments.
- Drop by rounded teaspoon onto cookie sheet (I used a small cookie scoop).
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Enjoy with an ice cold glass of almond milk or a cup of hot Earl Grey tea. Delicious!